HVAC License Nevada: How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Nevada
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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 380,400 heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers nationwide, and 3,000 work in Nevada. The BLS predicts employment to grow 5% by 2030 nationwide, adding more than 19,000 of these skilled workers to the ranks. That growth rate is expected to be much higher in Nevada — projected at 28%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
Licensing requirements for HVAC workers and technicians vary widely from state to state. Read on to learn more about becoming an HVAC tech in the Silver State.
License Requirements for HVAC Professionals in Nevada
Is a state license required to perform HVAC work in Nevada? The state of Nevada does not require licenses for HVAC technicians, installers, or apprentices, but does require a Nevada contractor's license for HVAC contractors or contractors performing HVAC-related work. The Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) issues contractor licenses, including HVAC contractor licenses, and governs contractor licensing.
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.
Nevada License Types and Requirements
Nevada's contractor classifications include Class A Engineering, Class B General Building, and Class C Specialty Contractor Licenses, among other classifications. The Class C category contains 36 classifications, and additional subclassifications. The two licenses and subclassifications pertaining to HVAC work include:
Plumbing and Heating Contracting License
Those with the Classification C-1 Plumbing and Heating Contracting License may perform authorized work in these subclassifications:
C-1b: Fire sprinklers
C-1c: Insulation of pipes and ducts
C-1d: Plumbing, including hydronic heating systems
C-1e: Sheet metal
C-1f: Heating, cooling, and circulating air
C-1g: Pipes and vents for gas
C-1h: Water heaters
C-1i: Chilled water piping
C-1j: Systems to replenish breathing air for firefighters
C-1k: Industrial piping
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning License
Those with the Classification C-21 Refrigeration and Air Conditioning License may perform authorized work in these subclassifications:
C-21b: Air conditioning
C-21c: Sheet metal
C-21e: Solar air conditioning
C-21f: Chilled and hot water systems
C-21g: Industrial piping
Contractor license application requirements
To apply for a Nevada Contractor's License, candidates need to:
Obtain a Nevada state business license with the Nevada Secretary of State.
Submit a contractor license application to the Nevada State Contractors Board.
Document a minimum of four years of experience, within the past 15 years, as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee, or contractor in the specific license classification requested. Educational training from an accredited college, university, or equivalent program accepted by the board may satisfy up to three years experience.
Submit a financial statement prepared by a certified public accountant based on the monetary limit, which is the maximum contract amount on one site for one client. Those requesting a monetary limit of less than $10,000 may generate a self-prepared statement.
Pay a $300 license application fee.
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Contractor license requirements
The qualifying individual must pass contractor exams, which consist of an open-book general business and law exam, and a closed-book trade exam specific to the requested classification. Those who file an application with the state contractors board will receive an eligibility letter for licensing exams. The licensing board may waive the trade examination and experience certification for contractors licensed in another state if they qualify for licensure by endorsement. Exams are offered in the Las Vegas and Reno areas, as well as Elko and at various PSI-owned testing facilities in other states.
Pass a criminal background check.
HVAC contractors who receive approval for their license application must:
Obtain a license bond, which varies from $1,000 to $500,000. The Nevada State Contractors Board determines the bond amount, which may take the form of a surety bond or cash deposit, after considering the type of license requested, monetary limit granted, past, present, or future financial responsibility, experience, and character of the applicant.
Proof of compliance with workers’ compensation insurance.
Residential construction contractors providing qualifying services pay a semiannual assessment into the Residential Recovery Fund, which offers protection for homeowners.
Pay a $600 license fee for the two-year license.
EPA Certification for Nevada and Beyond
Across the U.S., including Nevada, 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 Nevada?
Since Nevada does not require licenses for HVAC installers, technicians, or apprentices, the amount of time to complete education or training varies. For state contractor licenses, contractors must show proof of four years of experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee, or contractor. Educational training from an accredited college, university, or equivalent program accepted by the board may satisfy up to three years experience.
What Is the Mean Salary for an HVAC Professional in Nevada?
The annual mean salary for HVAC mechanics and installers in Nevada is $55,820 ($26.84 per hour), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And according to Indeed.com, the average salaries for HVAC professionals in Nevada increase with experience and training.
HVAC Technician: The average base salary for an HVAC technician in Nevada is $46,824.
HVAC Installer: The average base salary for an HVAC installer in Nevada is $63,617.
HVAC Supervisor: The average base salary for an HVAC supervisor in Nevada is $78,735.
Salaries can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and real-world experience.
Nevada HVAC Training Programs and Trade Schools
There are two main organizations that accredit HVAC programs, schools, and apprenticeships nationwide: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).
HVAC Excellence’s accredited programs include:
PAHRA’s accredited programs include:
College of Southern Nevada in Henderson
Nevada HVAC Apprenticeship Programs
Apprenticeship programs enable candidates to get paid while obtaining practical work experience.
UA Local 350 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Service Technicians offers an HVAC apprenticeship program.
UA Local 525 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Service Technicians offers training programs in HVAC and refrigeration.
The Northern Nevada Apprenticeship Coordinators Association offers many apprenticeship programs, including programs in sheet metal and natural gas.
Sheet Metal Workers Local 26 offers an apprenticeship program.
National job-search websites show local HVAC employers offering apprenticeships.
Does My Nevada HVAC License Work in Any Other States?
Nevada’s reciprocity agreement with Arizona, California, and Utah pertain only to the Contractor’s License application exam, and other application requirements must be met. The Nevada State Contractors’ Board retains the authority to require a trade exam, regardless of current or previous licensure.
Additional Resources for Nevada HVAC Techs
You can stay up to date on all HVAC industry news several ways: