North Dakota HVAC License: How to Become an HVAC Contractor in North Dakota
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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 1,140 work in North Dakota. The BLS predicts employment to grow 5% by 2030 nationwide, adding 19,000 of these skilled workers to the ranks. That growth rate is expected to be even higher in North Dakota — projected at 14%, 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 and, in North Dakota, from locality to locality. Read on to learn more about becoming an HVAC tech in the Peace Garden State.
License Requirements for HVAC Professionals in North Dakota
Is a state license required to perform HVAC work in North Dakota? No, North Dakota does not mandate licenses at the state level for HVAC apprentices, HVAC technicians or HVAC contractors. However, any general contractor, residential contractor, plumber, or electrician who works on projects valued at $4,000 or more must obtain a North Dakota State Contractor’s License through the North Dakota Secretary of State. Many municipalities do have HVAC licensing requirements, so be sure to check with the jurisdictions where you will be working before getting started.
Contractor Licensing Requirements for HVAC Professionals in North Dakota
To apply for a State Contractor’s License, candidates must submit an application and a certificate of liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance, pay a fee, and show proof of good standing with Workforce Safety & Insurance.
North Dakota contractors can choose from four types of licenses, with each based on the project amount. Class A covers projects over $500,000 and requires a $450 fee. Class B covers projects up to $500,000 per job and requires a $300 fee. Class C covers projects up to $300,000 and requires a $225 fee. Class D covers projects up to $100,000 and requires a $100 fee.
State Contractor Licenses must be renewed every year and require a fee of $90 for Class A, $60 for Class B, $45 for Class C, and $30 for Class D.
Some municipalities, including Fargo and Bismarck, require local HVAC licenses or HVAC certifications to work on HVAC systems for customers living in those areas.
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.
Fargo HVAC License Types and Requirements
The City of Fargo Department of Inspections is responsible for issuing HVAC licenses. HVAC candidates can pursue four types of HVAC licenses, and each come with different requirements and experience.
Journeyman Mechanical License and Journeyman Fuel Gas License:
A Journeyman Mechanical License is required for any person who constructs, installs, alters, maintains, and repairs heating and air conditioning plants and combustion units and all fuel-consuming appliances while under the supervision of a master heating contractor. A Journeyman Fuel Gas License is required for any person who installs, maintains and repairs gas-consuming appliances while under the supervision of a master gas installer.
Journeyman license candidates must submit an application, pay a $30 fee, and show proof of at least three years of practical experience, including schooling, working in the trade, or a combination of the two. Licensing exam fees are $40 for both exams if taken on the same day, or $40 per exam if taken on separate days.
Journeyman-licensed contractors must renew their licenses every three years for a fee of $100.
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Master Mechanical License and Master Fuel Gas License:
A Master Mechanical License is required for any person or business that constructs, installs, alters, maintains, and repairs heating and air conditioning plants and combustion units and fuel-consuming appliances within the city of Fargo. A Master Fuel Gas License is required for any person or business that installs, maintains and repairs gas-consuming appliances within the city.
Master license candidates must submit an application, pay a $125 fee, and show proof of at least three years of journeyman experience and two years of practical experience, for a total of five years of experience. Licensing exam fees are $125 for both exams if taken on the same day, or $125 per exam if taken on separate days.
Licensed Master Contractors must renew their licenses every year for a fee of $125.
Bismarck HVAC License Types and Requirements
The City of Bismarck requires mechanical licensing, issued by the City of Bismarck Community Development Department, Building Inspection Division, for anyone who undertakes or performs heating, ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) work, any mechanical installation, alteration or repair. HVAC candidates can pursue Apprentice, Journeyman or Master licenses, each with different requirements and experience.
HVAC Apprentice License:
HVAC Apprentice candidates must submit an application listing mechanical work experience or trade school information, sign an information waiver, and pay a $35 licensing fee. No licensing exam is required for HVAC Apprentice licenses.
HVAC Journeyman License:
To apply for an HVAC Journeyman license, candidates must have a minimum of four years or 7,600 hours of verified work experience, or the educational equivalent of up to 3,800 hours and a minimum of two years of work experience. Candidates must submit an application, sign an information waiver, and pay a $125 licensing fee. Licensing exams are held monthly at the City/County Building, and applicants must score 75% or higher to pass.
Journeymen must renew their licenses every year for a fee of $75.
HVAC Master License:
To apply for an HVAC Master or Master Installer license, candidates must have a minimum of two years of verified work experience as a licensed Journeyman. Candidates must submit an application, sign an information waiver, and pay a $125 licensing fee. Licensing exams are held monthly at the City/County Building, and applicants must score 80% or higher to pass.
Master Installers must renew their licenses every year for a fee of $125.
EPA Certification for North Dakota and Beyond
Across the U.S., including in North Dakota, 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 North Dakota?
Since North Dakota favors local licensing by jurisdiction, there’s no statewide uniformity on license types, such as a journeyman license, or how long it takes to complete training. In general, however, many training programs and apprenticeships require three to four years of practical experience or equivalent coursework.
What Business Owners Need to Know
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Required forms that ensure every job is done right, driving consistency.
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How Much Does It Cost to Become an HVAC Technician in North Dakota?
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. North Dakota State College offers an HVAC Related Study Apprenticeship Program and an HVAC/R Technology Program in Wahpeton. The Correspondence Apprenticeship one-time program application fee is $38 and allows isolated apprentices or on-the-job trainees who need to expand and/or update their knowledge through additional courses in their related field of study and is accepted by the U.S. Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training for indentured apprenticeships. You’ll have book fees for this program too. The total for all of the books listed is $2,891. If you choose to go to school full-time to get the Associate of Applied Science degree you’ll need to complete 73 credits. The Certificate program is 36 credits. The tuition for North Dakota residents is $150.11 per credit. At Bismarck State College the Associate degree is 60 credits, The Diploma program is also 60 credits, and the Certificate program is 44 credits. The tuition is $200.87 per credit for North Dakota residents. 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. Apprentice programs are often paid for by your employer.
If you choose to own your own business, the cost to apply for a North Dakota Contractor’s License depends on the type of license you need based on the size of the projects you’ll be doing. Class A covers projects over $500,000 and requires a $450 fee. Class B covers projects up to $500,000 per job and requires a $300 fee. Class C covers projects up to $300,000 and requires a $225 fee. Class D covers projects up to $100,000 and requires a $100 fee. Each must be renewed every year and require a fee of $90 for Class A, $60 for Class B, $45 for Class C, and $30 for Class D. If you work in Fargo, you’ll need a mechanical or fuel gas license. The journeyman level license will cost $30 for the application fee and $40 for the exam. That’s for both parts if taken on the same day or each if taken on separate days. You’ll also need to renew your license every three years for a fee of $100. The master level license will cost $125 for the application fee and $125 for the exam. That’s for both tests if taken on the same day or each if taken on separate days. You’ll also need to renew your license every year for a fee of $125. In Bismarck apprentices pay a $35 licensing fee, journeymen pay a $125 licensing fee and must renew every year for $75, and masters pay a $125 licensing fee and pay $125 every year to renew.
Benefits of Becoming an HVAC Professional in North Dakota
There are many benefits to working in the HVAC field in North Dakota:
The lack of statewide licensing means you need only to meet local requirements is there are any where you'll be working or meet employer expectations and get federal EPA certification if you will be handling refrigerant.
You will earn as you learn with a potential for pay increases as you develop new skills.
The EPA and other certifications are proof of your knowledge and expertise.
Being a skilled tradesman gives you a competitive advantage and job security.
You will be embarking on a career, not just doing a job.
You can eventually own your own business and be your own boss.
What Is the Mean Wage for an HVAC Technician in North Dakota?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean wage for HVAC mechanics and installers nationally as $54,690, and $63,820 for those in North Dakota. That salary, as you might expect, increases as you acquire more experience, according to Indeed.com.
HVAC Installer: The average wage for an HVAC installer is $24.15 per hour in North Dakota and $6,250 overtime per year.
HVAC Technician: The average wage for an HVAC Technician is $27.45 per hour in North Dakota and $6,500 overtime per year.
HVAC Mechanic: The average wage for an HVAC Mechanic is $27.94 per hour in North Dakota and $7,875 overtime per year.
HVAC Supervisor: The average base pay for an HVAC Supervisor is $71,536 per year in North Dakota and $9,375 overtime per year.
Pay 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.
North Dakota HVAC Training Programs, Trade Schools, and Apprenticeship Programs
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). There are currently no programs recognized by either entity in North Dakota, however North Dakota does offer several options for HVAC education.
Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local Union 10 offers an HVAC and Sheet Metal training program and apprenticeship program in Fargo, Grand Fork, and Bismarck.
Additionally, multiple employers across the Peace Garden State offer official apprenticeship programs. Click here for a full list of HVAC apprenticeship programs.
Does My North Dakota HVAC License Work in Any Other States?
No. Because North Dakota’s licensing board doesn’t oversee HVAC contractor registration, the state doesn’t allow reciprocity agreements with nearby states, such as South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, or Montana. The state issues HVAC licenses (if needed) at the local level.
Additional Resources for North Dakota HVAC Techs
You can stay up to date on all HVAC industry news several ways: