HVAC License Kansas: How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Kansas
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Most states require training and licensure before you can legally design, install, repair, and maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. As today’s HVAC technology becomes increasingly complex, and we place more emphasis on energy efficiency and reducing pollution, HVACR systems need retrofitting, upgrading, or replacement to remain compliant.
Learning this essential trade takes years, but once you complete the necessary training, your skills will be in high demand in the home services and construction industry.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are over 380,400 heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers nationwide, and almost 3,790 work in Kansas. The national number is expected to grow 5% from 2020 to 2030 — adding 19,000 of these skilled workers to the ranks. That growth rate is expected to be slightly higher in Kansas — projected at 6%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website. The Associated General Contractors of America, says contractors are hiring. In the 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. and 68% of firms in Kansas had unfilled hourly craft positions.
Licensing requirements for HVAC workers and technicians vary widely from state to state and, in Kansas, from locality to locality.
License Requirements for HVAC Professionals in Kansas
Is a state license required to perform HVAC work in Kansas? No, Kansas has no state board and doesn’t require licenses for apprentices, technicians or HVAC contractors at the state level.
However, some local jurisdictions, including Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City, require local HVAC licenses or HVAC certifications to work on HVAC systems.
Typically, Kansas cities license HVAC apprentices, journeyman and master HVAC techs. Those who wish to own their own HVAC business need to obtain an HVAC contractor license, but there is no statewide contractors licensing board.
It’s also important to note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under section 608 of the Clean Air Act, requires any technician who maintains, services, repairs, or disposes of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere to earn a Section 608 technician certification. HVAC apprentices don’t need to hold a certification as long as “they are closely and continually supervised by a certified technician,” according to the EPA.
Read on to learn more about becoming an HVAC technician in Wichita and Topeka, Kansas.
Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Wichita?
The Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD) is the licensing board responsible for issuing journeyman and master licenses, as well as HVAC contractor licenses, in Wichita.
Note: The HVAC license in Wichita is referred to as a "mechanical license," and the county issues both a journeyman mechanical and master mechanical license.
Wichita HVAC Apprentice Program
An apprenticeship program is the first step to starting a career in the HVAC industry. Candidates typically need a high school diploma or GED, photo ID, and a valid driver’s license to be eligible. Candidates can join an apprenticeship program offered by a local company or trade union, or through the Kansas Works Registered Apprenticeship Program.
HVAC apprentices in Wichita need to complete one year of work experience and one year of HVAC trade school, or two years of experience and score 75% or better on an approved International Code Council or IAPMO Exam. There is no registration fee or required testing to become an apprentice HVAC tech.
Wichita Journeyman Mechanical License
After completing the required apprenticeship HVAC training, candidates become eligible to take the journeyman mechanical licensing exam. The open book exam consists of 100 questions and requires a score of 75% or higher to pass. Candidates also need to pay a $125 application fee.
After passing the exam, journeyman candidates need to complete the license application and pay a $35 license fee.
To renew a journeyman mechanical license, Wichita HVAC techs need to pay a $35 renewal fee and complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years.
Wichita Master Mechanical License
To work as a licensed master mechanical pro, candidates must demonstrate at least two years of verifiable work experience as a licensed mechanical journeyman, or four years of experience and score 75% or better on an approved International Code Council or IAPMO Exam.
After passing the exam, master candidates need to complete the license application and pay a $35 license fee.
To renew a master license, Wichita HVAC techs need to pay a $35 renewal fee and complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years.
Wichita Trade Contractor License
Wichita HVAC pros who wish to operate their own businesses need to obtain a trade contractors license (not a general contractor license) from the MABCD Mechanical Division. To be eligible, candidates need to submit the following:
Trade Contractors Application along with $360 license fee
Trade Certificate showing they employ at least one licensed Mechanical Master
Certificate of liability insurance (at least $300,000 in general liability) showing MABCD as the certificate holder
Certificate of workers’ compensation insurance
Auto certificate of insurance
Certificate of Good Standing from the Secretary of the State of Kansas
Licensed contractors must renew their trade licenses every two years on odd years at a fee of $360.
Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Topeka?
The City of Topeka Development Services Division (DSD) is responsible for issuing mechanical licenses, including apprentice licenses.
Topeka Apprentice HVAC License
To start the process, candidates need to fill out a license application with the DSD and pay a $33 fee.
Topeka apprentice candidates can join an apprenticeship program offered by a local company or trade union, or through the Kansas Works Registered Apprenticeship Program. Apprentices need to complete two years of practical experience and a minimum of 930 hours of classroom training to become eligible for the journeyman exam.
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Topeka Mechanical Journeyman License
After completing the required apprentice training, candidates become eligible to take the journeyman licensing exam via the International Code Council or Pearson VUE. The exam requires a score of 75% or higher to pass. Candidates also need to pay a $50 application fee.
After passing the exam, journeyman candidates need to complete the license application and pay a $53 license fee.
Topeka mechanical journeyman license holders must complete six hours of continuing education every year, with at least three hours covering the local code.
Topeka Mechanical Master License
To become eligible for a mechanical master license, candidates need to hold a valid journeyman license for a minimum of two years, or provide proof of four years of work experience under a licensed mechanical master.
After passing the exam, master candidates need to complete the license application and pay a $103 license fee.
Topeka master license holders must complete six hours of continuing education every year, with at least three hours covering the local code.
Topeka HVAC Contractor License
Topeka HVAC techs who wish to operate their own businesses need to obtain a trade contractors license from the DSD. To be eligible, candidates need to hold a master mechanical license or employ at least one master, and pass a contractor exam.
Click here for the full contractor license requirements and application.
EPA Certification for Kansas and Beyond
Across the U.S., including Kansas, federal-level EPA regulations under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act require certification for technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere. Any professional who conducts refrigerant line-pressure tests or handles or adds refrigerant to existing air-conditioning systems needs to hold the certification.
In most cases, your employer will require you to obtain the certification as part of your training program.
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.
For all certifications, you must pass the EPA certification exam. It covers the following topics:
Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol
Section 608 regulations
Substitute refrigerants and oils
The Three R’s (Recover, Recycle, Reclaim)
National HVAC Certifications
Other certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers and clients. The North American Technical Excellence (NATE) certification, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) certification and other professional certifications can add to your marketability and increase your opportunity to make more money.
How Long Does it Take to Get an HVAC License in Kansas?
The length of required training in Kansas varies by the type of license and municipality, but it typically takes two years of apprentice training to become a journeyman, and an additional two years to become a master.
What Business Owners Need to Know
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How Much Does It Cost to Become an HVAC Technician in Kansas?
How you get started will determine your upfront costs. If you start by getting some kind of college degree or certificate you’ll have tuition expenses. For instance, the tuition and fees at North Central Kansas Technical College are $175/credit for technical courses and the Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning program is a 44 credit hour course, so it will cost about $7,700. Johnson County Community College is the only program in Kansas to be accredited by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). The Associate of Applied Science degree is 63 credits and the HVAC Certificate is 33 credits. If you live in Johnson County the tuition is $94 per credit hour. For other Kansas residents it is $112 per credit hour. The cost to take the EPA Section 608 Certification Examination can be as low as $20 for the Type I exam and upwards of $150 for the Universal Exam, but again if you start with a program, that may be included.
In both Wichita and Topeka after completing the required training you become eligible to take the required examination to earn your journeyman license. For Wichita that exam is offered through the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and costs $125. After passing the exam you’ll need to apply for your license and pay a $35 license fee. To renew a journeyman mechanical license, Wichita HVAC techs need to pay a $35 renewal fee every two years. You’ll pay the same fees to test and be licensed as a master. The license fee for Trade Contractors in Wichita is $360 and renewal every two years is $360. Topeka’s testing fee is $50 and the license application fee for journeymen is $53. Master candidates pay a $103 license fee.
What is the Mean Wage for an HVAC Professional in Kansas?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean salary for HVAC mechanics and installers nationally as $54,690, and in Kansas it’s $51,270. The salary for an HVAC Technician increases, as you might expect, as you acquire more experience, according to Indeed.com.
HVAC Installer: The average wage for an HVAC installer is $23.55 per hour in Kansas and $6,250 overtime per year.
HVAC Technician: The average wage for an HVAC Technician is $26.74 per hour in Kansas and $6,500 overtime per year.
HVAC Mechanic: The average wage for an HVAC Mechanic is $27.21 per hour in Kansas and $7,875 overtime per year.
HVAC Supervisor: The average base wage for an HVAC Supervisor is $69,748 per year in Kansas and $9,375 overtime per year.
Pay 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.
Kansas HVAC Training Programs and Trade Schools
Kansas offers a wide variety of training opportunities across the state, including trade schools and community colleges that offer HVAC programs.
Some of the top training schools include:
Does My Kansas HVAC License Work in Any Other States?
No, Kansas doesn't offer state-level reciprocal agreements with other states, even nearby states like Missouri, Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Arkansas, or Texas. Make sure to check local licensing regulations on license reciprocity.
Additional Resources for Kansas HVAC Techs
You can stay up to date on all HVAC industry news several ways: