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Idaho HVAC License: How to Become an Electrician in Idaho

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Table of Contents
  1. Licensing Requirements for HVAC Professionals in Idaho

  2. Types of HVAC Licenses in Idaho

  3. Requirements for HVAC registrations or licenses in Idaho:

  4. Types of HVAC Licenses in Idaho

  5. Requirements for HVAC registrations or licenses in Idaho:

  6. Steps to Get an HVAC License in Idaho

  7. Benefits of Getting an HVAC License in Idaho

  8. What Is the Mean Salary for an HVAC Professional in Idaho?

  9. How Much Does It Cost to Get an HVAC License in Idaho?

  10. How to Get an HVAC License in Idaho

  11. How Long Does it Take to Get an HVAC License in Idaho?

  12. Idaho HVAC training programs and schools

  13. Idaho HVAC Licensing Exam Details

  14. Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Idaho?

  15. Does My Idaho HVAC License Work in Any Other State?

  16. HVAC Specific Requirements: EPA Certification

  17. National HVAC Certification

Most states require training and licensure before you can legally design, install, repair and maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. HVAC technology is becoming increasingly complex and, as more emphasis is being placed on energy efficiency and reducing pollution, HVAC systems need to be retrofitted, upgraded or replaced entirely to remain compliant. Learning this essential trade takes years, but once you have put in that time your skills will be in demand.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 376,800 heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers nationwide, and Idaho employs 3,200 of them. Employment is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029 throughout the country, adding more than 15,000 of these skilled workers to the ranks. That growth rate is expected to be even higher in Idaho — projected at 16%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.

There are so many contractors trying to find skilled tradesmen. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. and 83% of firms in Idaho had unfilled hourly craft positions on June 30, 2020.

Licensing requirements for HVAC workers and contractors vary from state to state and, in some cases, from locality to locality. Idaho has strict, statewide standards for working in the HVAC business, beginning at the apprentice level.

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Licensing Requirements for HVAC Professionals in Idaho

Idaho requires a license required to work as an HVAC Contractor, and it is mandated from the very beginning.

In Idaho,you must be licensed to legally perform heating, air conditioning and refrigeration work of any kind. The state registers or licenses every level of this workforce, including apprentices, journeymen, and contractors. The Idaho Division of Building Safety administers the exams for HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, Public Works, and Manufactured Housing and issues all the licenses.

Types of HVAC Licenses in Idaho

What are the different types of HVAC licenses in Idaho?

Idaho requires HVAC apprentices to be registered and issues licenses at the journeyman and contractor level. The most common licensing is an unrestricted HVAC license that requires 8,000 hours (about four years) of experience and 576 hours of classroom education before you can apply. There are also four kinds of Specialty HVAC license categories, all of which have a narrower scope and require less experience than an unrestricted license. You can apply for the following as an HVAC professional in Idaho:

  • HVAC Apprentice registration

  • HVAC Journeyman license

  • HVAC Contractor license

  • Specialty HVAC Apprentice registration

  • Specialty HVAC Journeyman license

  • Specialty HVAC Contractor license

The four Specialty HVAC License categories have a specific scope of work permitted.

  • Hearth - Install hearth appliances and the associated gas lines.

  • Waste Oil - Install non-duct-connected waste oil heaters. Waste oil heating specialty journeymen are limited to the maintenance, installation, and repair of the equipment, controls, and piping directly associated with the waste oil heater, tank, and burner only. Any plumbing, electrical, ducting, venting, or associated equipment beyond the waste oil heater, tank, and burner must be installed by others.

  • Fuel Gas Piping - Install fuel gas piping only and shall not make the final termination. Appliances and the associated gas piping, chimney, and vents must be installed by others.

  • LP Gas Limited Heating - Installs, maintains, services and repairs LP gas-fired appliances, LP fuel gas piping and related exhaust venting. This definition of specialty-limited heating excludes boilers, hydronic systems, ducted forced-air systems, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, systems with a BTU input rating over 300,000, solid fuel and electric fueled systems.

Requirements for HVAC registrations or licenses in Idaho:

  • HVAC Apprentice

  • Be at least 18 years of age; or

  • Be at least 16 years of age and provide proof of registration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship or be employed by an HVAC Contractor that is an approved STRAP (School to Registered Apprenticeship Program ) provider and have completed the STRAP agreement with the Idaho Department of Labor.

  • Work under the supervision of a certified HVAC journeyman.

  • Submit a completed notarized license application.

  • Provide a Social Security number.

  • Provide a copy of a legal identification (Driver’s License, Passport, Military ID).

  • Pay a $10 license registration fee.

  • Renew your apprentice registration and pay the $50 renewal fee yearly until you complete your four-year apprenticeship.

HVAC Journeyman

  • Successfully complete a board-approved four-year apprenticeship of at least 8,000 hours work experience and 576 hours of classroom instruction as a registered HVAC apprentice making HVAC installations on the job under the supervision of a qualified HVAC journeyman.

  • Any HVAC apprentice who successfully completes a board-approved, full-time, one academic-year HVAC training course may receive credit for up to one year of on-the-job work experience.

  • Submit a completed notarized license application.

  • Provide a Social Security number.

  • Provide a copy of a legal identification (Driver’s License, Passport, Military ID).

  • Pay the $35 application fee.

  • Pay $75 for and successfully complete the examination designated by the board.

  • Renew license and pay $75 fee yearly.

HVAC Contractor

  • Must provide proof, satisfactory to the board, of having legally acted as an HVAC journeyman for at least 24 months.

  • Submit a completed notarized license application.

  • Provide a Social Security number.

  • Provide a copy of a legal identification (Driver’s License, Passport, Military ID).

  • Pay the $35 application fee.

  • Pay $75 for and successfully complete the examination designated by the board.

Must provide a compliance bond of $2,000 effective for the duration of the contractor licensing period.

  • Renew license and pay $150 fee yearly. 

HVAC Specialty Apprentice

  • Be at least 18 years of age; or

  • Be at least 16 years of age and provide proof of registration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship or be employed by an HVAC Contractor that is an approved STRAP (School to Registered Apprenticeship Program ) provider and have completed the STRAP agreement with the Idaho Department of Labor.

  • Submit a completed notarized license application.

  • Maintain enrollment in or successfully complete a training program approved by the board.

  • Work under the supervision of a certified HVAC journeyman or certified HVAC specialty journeyman.

  • Provide a Social Security number.

  • Provide a copy of a legal identification (Driver’s License, Passport, Military ID).

  • Pay the $20 registration fee.

  • Renew license and pay $20 fee yearly.

 HVAC Specialty Journeyman

  • Hearth

    • Minimum of one year experience working in the trade or as a registered HVAC apprentice or registered HVAC specialty apprentice making installations under the supervision of a qualified HVAC journeyman or qualified HVAC specialty journeyman.

    • Successfully complete a board-approved training course(s), such as the National Fireplace Institute program and a minimum of 60 hours of education in fuel gas code and piping installation methods.

  • Waste Oil

    • Minimum of one year of experience installing waste oil heating under the supervision of a qualified HVAC journeyman or HVAC Waste Oil Heating specialty journeyman.

    • Applicants for certification as HVAC waste oil specialty journeymen must successfully complete a waste oil burner manufacturers certification or examination as approved by the board.

  • Fuel Gas Piping

    • Minimum of one year experience working in the trade or as a registered HVAC apprentice or registered HVAC specialty apprentice making installations under the supervision of a qualified HVAC journeyman or qualified HVAC specialty journeyman.

    • Successfully complete a board-approved training course(s), of at least 60 hours of education in fuel gas code and piping installation methods.

    • Successfully complete an examination designated by the board.

  • LP Limited Heating

    • Complete 120 hours of instruction approved by the board of professional-technical education in LP gas specialty education.

    • Two years of experience working in the trade or as a registered HVAC apprentice or registered HVAC specialty apprentice making HVAC installations under the supervision of a qualified HVAC journeyman or qualified HVAC specialty journeyman.

    • Successfully complete an examination designated by the board.

  • Submit a completed license application.

  • Provide a Social Security number.

  • Provide a copy of a legal identification (Driver’s License, Passport, Military ID).

  • Pay the $35 application fee.

  • Renew license and pay $75 fee yearly.

 HVAC Specialty Contractor

  • Must provide a compliance bond of $2,000 effective for the duration of the contractor licensing period.

  • Must provide proof, satisfactory to the board, of having legally acted as an HVAC specialty journeyman for at least 24 months.

  • Must successfully complete the examination designated by the board.

  • Submit a completed application.

  • Pay the $35 application fee.

  • Renew license and pay $150 fee yearly.

Steps to Get an HVAC License in Idaho

  1. Be at least 18 years of age  and enrolled in an apprentice program registered with the United States Department of Labor - Office of Apprenticeship; or

  2. Be at least 16 and employed by an HVAC Contractor that is an approved STRAP provider and have completed the STRAP agreement with the Idaho Department of Labor.

  3. Apply for apprentice registration with the State of Idaho Division of Building Safety meeting all requirements and paying a fee.

  4. Complete four-year apprenticeship (8,000 hours of on the job training and 576 hours of classroom instruction) working under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or contractor renewing registration yearly to keep your registration current for all your time to count toward the required work experience to become a journeyman.

  5. Pass exam for Journeyman license.

  6. Work indefinitely for a licensed contractor renewing your license yearly;    OR

  7. Gain two years of work experience as a licensed journeyman working under the supervision of a licensed contractor.

  8. Provide a $2,000 compliance bond that remains effective for your entire contractor licensing period.

  9. Pass exam for Contractor license.

  10. Renew license yearly.

Benefits of Getting an HVAC License in Idaho

There are many benefits you’ll see from getting your Idaho HVAC License:

  • It is required by law in Idaho to be licensed to perform heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration work.

  • A trade license is proof of your experience and skill.

  • Only registered HVAC contractors can: operate a business and advertise HVAC services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits and pass inspections, bid on public and government projects.

  • Having a license protects your company and customers.

  • A license gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.

  • It also increases your earning potential. 

What Is the Mean Salary for an HVAC Professional in Idaho?

The annual mean wage for HVAC mechanics and installers in Idaho is $46,680 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And according to indeed.com, the average salaries for HVAC professionals in Idaho increase with experience and training.

  • HVAC Installer: The average hourly wage for an HVAC installer is $20.30 per hour in Idaho and $6,094 overtime per year.

  • HVAC Technician: The average hourly wage for an HVAC Technician is $20.92 per hour in Idaho and $6,562 overtime per year.

  • HVAC Mechanic: The average hourly wage for an HVAC Mechanic is $26.11 per hour in Idaho and $8,750 overtime per year.

  • HVAC Supervisor: The average salary for an HVAC Supervisor is $67,369 per year in Idaho and $11,250 overtime per year.

Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an HVAC License in Idaho?

It can cost very little to get started as an HVAC professional in Idaho. You will need to find an apprentice position or program. If you find an entry-level job with an employer, sometimes your employer will pay for your required classroom instruction. Most who offer that will do so as a reimbursement for classes at a community or technical college in which you receive a minimum grade of B or C. You can also enroll in an HVAC program at a community or technical college, which of course means paying tuition but can set you apart as a more qualified candidate for an apprentice position. There are also apprenticeships through union and trade organizations. UA Local 296 in Boise, for instance, offers a five-year apprenticeship that is no cost to the apprentice. The contractors who utilize the apprentices actually pay into the union to offset all the expenses. You will also be working full-time and earning money while you are trained. You will have to pay a registration fee to the state and renew it yearly as well as eventually pay to take the journeyman licensing exam and pay for that license. The same is true at the contractor level. All exams cost $75. The other fees vary.

  • HVAC Apprentice: $10 registration fee, $50 renewal fee

  • HVAC Specialty Apprentice: $20 registration fee, $20 renewal fee

  • HVAC Journeyman/Specialty Journeyman: $35 registration fee, $75 renewal fee

  • HVAC Contractor/Specialty Contractor: $35 registration fee, $150 renewal fee

How to Get an HVAC License in Idaho

Becoming an HVAC professional in Idaho isn’t fast, but it’s very straightforward.

APPRENTICESHIP/WORK EXPERIENCE: You must be at least 18 years old and have graduated from high school or earned a GED equivalent. The only exception to that is high school students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in the School to Registered Apprenticeship Program (STRAP). The state requires everyone who wants to join this profession to complete an apprenticeship that is recognized by the United States Department of Labor. To get that recognition, the apprenticeship must include 2,000 hours of hands-on training and 144 hours of classroom instruction each year. Registered apprenticeship programs range from one year to five years but four to five years for HVAC apprentices in Idaho. Once you become an apprentice either through an employer sponsoring you, a union, or a college apprenticeship program, you must apply to the Idaho Division of Building Safety. You must complete and have your apprentice application or specialty apprentice application notarized and mail it with the fee to:

Idaho Division of Building Safety

1090 E. Watertower St., Ste 150

Meridian, ID 83642

COMPLETE HVAC APPRENTICE OR SPECIALTY APPRENTICE REQUIREMENTS: As an HVAC apprentice, you will work full-time getting your on-the-job training from a licensed journeyman or licensed specialty journeyman. You’ll also have a classroom component either through a technical college, local union or trade organization or through your HVAC Contracting company itself.  You will need to renew your apprentice registration with the Division each year for the time to be recognized toward the journeyman work experience requirements.

TAKE LICENSING EXAM: Once you have satisfied the training requirements you will need to apply for your journeyman or specialty journeyman license. Again the application must be notarized and mailed with a $35 application fee to the Division of Building Safety. If DBS determines that you have satisfied all the eligibility requirements and you are approved to take the exam to demonstrate your competency, you must schedule and pay for it. The cost is $75. The HVAC Exam Information Bulletin provides detailed instructions on how to pay that and where you can take the exam. You have one year from acceptance to schedule and take your exam. Once you are licensed you must renew your license every year and pay the $75 fee.

CONSIDER BECOMING AN HVAC CONTRACTOR: Contractors own and operate their own businesses and can hire other licensed employees to work for them. HVAC Contractors must be licensed to legally operate a business. DBS requires a $2,000 compliance bond and work as a licensed journeyman for at least 24 months before applying to be an HVAC Contractor or HVAC Specialty Contractor. Again, you will need to mail your notarized application to DBS along with the $35 application fee. If approved to test, you must again schedule and pay for it as described in the Exam Information Bulletin. Once you are licensed, you must renew your license every year and pay the $150 fee.

How Long Does it Take to Get an HVAC License in Idaho?

It will take a minimum of four years to qualify to take the unrestricted HVAC journeyman license exam in Idaho. You can qualify to take the Specialty Journeyman license exams in significantly less time — one to two years. If your goal is to own your own HVAC business, it will take two more years to qualify to test for the HVAC contractor or specialty contractor licenses.

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Idaho HVAC training programs and schools

There are currently two main organizations that approve HVAC programs and schools nationwide: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).

PAHRA has not accredited any schools in Idaho at this time. HVAC Excellence has accredited two:

  • College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls

  • Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston

Tuition: The cost of tuition depends on the school and program you choose. The College of Southern Idaho has an Air Conditioning-Refrigeration and Heat, Associate of Applied Science degree that is 60 credits, an eight-credit basic technical certificate, and a 32.5-credit intermediate technical certificate. Tuition is $140/credit for in-district students, $190/credit for out-of-district students, and $285/credit for out-of-state and foreign students.

North Idaho College also offers an HVAC Apprenticeship program. It is a four-year program that costs about $1,500 per year. Most apprentices begin work with a contractor prior to beginning their schooling.

The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Apprenticeship program at Lewis-Clark State College is 64 credits and intended for students who are actively employed in the trade. It will result in an Associate of Applied Science diploma. A full-time Idaho resident will pay about $3,500 per semester; a non-resident will pay about $10,000.

Apprenticeship: Postings on Indeed, Zip Recruiter or other job boards for entry-level jobs with HVAC companies are often labeled apprenticeship positions because your employer will pay your tuition as long as you are a diligent worker and you achieve acceptable grades. You can also choose to pursue a union apprenticeship or try to connect with one through the Idaho Department of Labor Apprenticeship website, which meets national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor. Apprenticeships through the Department of Labor are recognized nationwide, so your credentials will move with you.

Program Prerequisites: You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED.

On-the-Job Experience: While on the job you will need good customer service skills, be detail-oriented, have some mechanical capability, and be physically fit because the job can include some heavy lifting and hours of walking, standing and working in tight spaces.

Idaho HVAC Licensing Exam Details

The Division of Building Safety administers all HVAC licensing exams. To schedule, call (800) 955-3044 at least two business days prior to the date you would like to test. There are limited seats for each test, and you may not receive your initial choice.

The exam for each different type of license costs $75, and all of them are open-book.

There are different time limits for the exams.

  • Idaho HVAC Contractor’s Exam — 4 hours

  • Idaho HVAC Journeyman’s Exam — 4 hours

  • Idaho HVAC Hearth Specialty Journeyman’s Exam — 3 hours

  • Idaho HVAC Waste Oil Specialty Journeyman’s Exam — 2 hours

  • Idaho HVAC Fuel Gas Piping Specialty Journeyman’s Exam — 2 hours

Approved References

The following is a list of approved reference material. You will need to bring your own copies. The exams are available in either the 2012 or 2018 code books. You will need to let your scheduler know which exam you intend to take. 

  • Current Idaho HVAC Statutes and Rules (available online or at a DBS office)

  • Division of Building Safety Contractor’s Business and Law Reference Manual (available online or at a DBS office)

  • 2012 International Mechanical Code or 2018 International Mechanical Gas Code

  • 2012 International Fuel Gas Code or 2018 International Fuel Gas Code 

The exam will be done on a computer at one of the three regional offices:

Meridian Office 1090 E. Watertower St., Ste. 150 Meridian, ID 83642 Office Hours: M-F 8-5 (MST)

Coeur d’ Alene Office 1250 Ironwood Dr., Ste. 220 Coeur d’ Alene, ID 83814 Office Hours: M-F 7-4 (PST)

 Blackfoot Office 155 N. Maple St. Blackfoot, ID 83221 Office Hours: M-F 8-5 (MST)

Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Idaho?

The Division of Building Safety is responsible for the licensing of all HVAC professionals, electricians, plumbers and more in Idaho. On the website, it says the HVAC Program was created to promote the health, safety, and welfare of Idaho’s citizens through effective administration of the laws and rules governing the installation and operation of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems and by ensuring that those who perform installation and/or service work involving such equipment are properly trained and licensed. You can find all of the forms and applications at this link.

Does My Idaho HVAC License Work in Any Other State?

No. Idaho does not have any reciprocity agreements with other states for HVAC. There are only electrical and plumbing licenses that Idaho will reciprocate.

HVAC Specific Requirements: EPA Certification

Everywhere throughout the country, including Idaho, federal-level EPA regulations under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act require that technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere must be certified. EPA Section 608 HVAC Certification is required for any professional who conducts refrigerant line-pressure tests or handles or adds refrigerant to existing air-conditioning systems.

Most training programs can direct you to how and where to get that certification if it’s not part of the program, or your employer will require you to get it before handling refrigerant. You can also go to EPA.gov and key in 608 Certification in the search bar to find out which institutions in your state offer certification programs.

Take Certification Exam: You must acquire your EPA Certification from an approved organization. A list of these organizations can be found on the EPA’s website. There are four types of EPA Certifications for Refrigerant. They allow for different levels of certification for different scopes of work.

  • Type I – for servicing small appliances containing five pounds of refrigerant or less.

  • Type II – for servicing high-pressure units that contain five pounds or more of refrigerant (including most small commercial and residential systems).

  • Type III – for servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances.

  • Universal – for servicing all systems and appliances covered under Types I, II, and III. Generally more useful than one specific certification.

Core Exam

For all certifications, you must pass the “Core Section” of the EPA certification exam. It covers the following topics:

  • Ozone depletion

  • Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol

  • Section 608 regulations

  • Substitute refrigerants and oils

  • Refrigeration

  • The Three R’s (Recover, Recycle, Reclaim) 

  • Recovery techniques

  • Dehydration evacuation

  • Safety

  • Shipping

National HVAC Certifications

Other certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers and clients. North American Technical Excellence (NATE) certification, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) certification and other professional certifications are not required but can add to your marketability as a service provider and therefore increase your opportunity to make more money.

Continuing Education

There is currently no continuing education requirement to renew your Idaho HVAC journeyman or Contractor license. Individuals holding an HVAC Apprentice registration with an expiration date of 7/31/2021 or after must provide proof of completion of one year HVAC Apprenticeship school accomplished during their registration cycle OR show proof of enrollment for the upcoming school year to renew for another year. If proof of school completion or enrollment cannot be provided, apprentices can submit eight hours of HVAC continuing education credits to renew their registration.

Renewal

HVAC licenses expire every year in Idaho and must be renewed. There are different fees associated with the different licenses.

  • HVAC Apprentice $50

  • HVAC Specialty Apprentice $20

  • HVAC Journey/Specialty Journey $75

  • HVAC Contractor/Specialty Contractor $150

There isn’t an online option for payment yet, but there are other license fee payment options listed online.

Resources

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