Utah HVAC License: How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Utah
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Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems are complicated and becoming more technologically complex every year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 376,800 heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers nationwide and Utah employs 3,520 of them. Employment is projected to grow 4% 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 much higher in Utah — projected at a whopping 31%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
Many contractors nationwide are 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 73% of firms in Utah had unfilled hourly craft positions like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians. So, if you get the training you need you will have a lot of jobs to choose from when you’re ready.
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A large part of what HVAC contractors and technicians do is replace and repair existing systems. And, as more of an emphasis is placed on energy efficiency and reducing pollution, systems need to be retrofitted, upgraded or replaced entirely to comply with these new standards. Licensing requirements for HVAC contractors vary from state to state and, in some cases, from locality to locality. Utah is fairly uniform statewide, but in many cities you will still need to apply for local permitting and have an inspector sign off on your work.
Licensing Requirements for HVAC Contractors in Utah
Does Utah require a license to work as an HVAC Contractor? Yes.
Utah does not register apprentices or license HVAC technicians, but the state does require a Utah contractors license for HVAC business owners. That means to legally perform heating, air conditioning and refrigeration work in the state of Utah, you must be a licensed contractor or an apprentice or technician working under a licensed contractor. HVAC Contractor licenses are issued through the Utah Department of Commerce — Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL).
Some cities in Utah also require that you have a business license to legally engage in contracting within their city limits. For instance, Salt Lake City requires a business license for all trades, including mechanical contractors. You should always check with local authorities to be sure you’re meeting the legal requirements where you are engaging in business.
Types of HVAC Licenses in Utah
What are the different types of HVAC licenses in Utah?
There is only one HVAC license in the state of Utah. It is an HVAC Contractor license with the trade classification of S350 and is considered a Specialty Contracting License.
Steps to Get an HVAC Contractor License in Utah
Before you apply for your Specialty Contractor License, you must take a 25-hour Pre-Licensure Course from Associated Builders and Contractors Inc (ABC), Utah Home Builders Association (UHBA), or Associated General Contractors of Utah (AGC).
You must obtain general liability insurance with a minimum of $100,000 coverage for each incident and $300,000 in total.
Register your business with the Utah Division of Corporations if you are a corporation, LLC, LLP, or partnership.
Obtain a Federal EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are a sole proprietor you use your Social Security Number.
If you have employees, you MUST:
Have obtained a certificate of workers compensation insurance with DOPL as certificate holder.
Have obtained a state withholding tax registration from the Utah State Tax Commission.
Have obtained an unemployment registration from the Utah Department of Workforce Services.Complete Contractor Application and submit with appropriate fee to Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
Complete six hours of approved continuing education during each two-year renewal cycle.
For a contractor who is licensed in the specialty contractor classification of HVAC contractor, at least three of the six hours must include continuing education directly related to the installation, repair, or replacement of a heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system. This three hours includes the required one hour on energy conservation.
Benefits of Getting an HVAC License in Utah
There are many benefits to getting your Utah HVAC Contractor license:
Most important, it is required by law in Utah to be licensed through the state to contract to perform heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration work.
A trade license is proof of your experience and skill.
Only licensed HVAC contractors can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits, pass inspections, and 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 Utah?
The annual mean wage for HVAC mechanics and installers in Utah is $52,400 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to indeed.com, the average salaries for HVAC professionals in Utah increase with experience and training and are as follows:
HVAC Installer: The average salary for an HVAC installer is $21.73 per hour in Utah and $6,094 overtime per year.
HVAC Mechanic: The average salary for an HVAC Mechanic is $30.48 per hour in Utah and $8,750 overtime per year.
HVAC Technician: The average salary for an HVAC Technician is $23.07 per hour in Utah and $6,562 overtime per year.
HVAC Supervisor: The average salary for an HVAC Supervisor is $59,375 per year in Utah 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 Contractor License in Utah?
Utah is experiencing a construction industry boom, so it is a very good time to get into the trades and construction in general. HVAC, plumbing and electrical companies are looking for people interested in learning those skills and often are willing to pay for your training. That means you can start your HVAC career without any initial expenses. You could also choose to attend classes or an apprenticeship program at a community college or technical college, which of course means paying tuition, but it’s typically fairly affordable. For instance, the two-year HVAC Apprenticeship program at Mountainland Technical College costs $2,465 and includes both EPA Certification and NATE Certification. If eventually you want to own your own HVAC business, you’ll need to pay for the required pre-licensure course, which is $300 for the course offered through the Utah Home Builders Association and the application fee of $225 for a sole proprietor in a single license classification.
How to Get an HVAC License in Utah
Because HVAC systems are becoming increasingly complex, many aspiring HVAC professionals opt to get some post-secondary education. Alternatively, you could begin with an apprenticeship that will combine hands-on training with classroom instruction and usually takes four to five years. The bottom line is that you need to learn how to do the job. Many plumbing and HVAC companies require entry-level employees to agree to attend their apprentice program as a condition of hire. That typically means working with a veteran journeyman technician for on-the-job training while you earn a wage, and attending classes at a local community college at night or on weekends. Many employers will foot the bill for all of that training.
After you’ve mastered the trade of an HVAC professional through hours of work experience, if you want to become a licensed HVAC Contractor yourself rather than working for one, you’ll need to meet some requirements of the state.
REQUIRED PRE-LICENSING COURSE: Before you apply for your Specialty Contractor License, you must take a 25-hour Pre-Licensure Course from Associated Builders and Contractors Inc (ABC), Utah Home Builders Association (UHBA), or Associated General Contractors of Utah (AGC). However, as an HVAC contractor, you are not required to take the business and law exam that most other contractors must pass.
INSURANCE: You will need to demonstrate financial responsibility. You must obtain general liability insurance with a minimum of $100,000 coverage for each incident and $300,000 in total.
REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS: Register your business with the Utah Division of Corporations if you are a corporation, LLC, LLP, or partnership.
IRS: Obtain a Federal EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are a sole proprietor you use your Social Security Number.
REQUIREMENTS FOR BUSINESSES WITH EMPLOYEES: If you don’t work alone and have hired employees, you must obtain:
A certificate of workers compensation insurance with DOPL as certificate holder.
A state withholding tax registration from the Utah State Tax Commission.
An unemployment registration from the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
APPLICATION: Complete Contractor Application and submit with appropriate license application fee to Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. The fee is calculated based on the number of qualifiers and number of classifications, and the formula chart is on the application. $50 per qualifier and $175 for each classification, plus a $1 surcharge fee.
CONTINUING EDUCATION/RENEWAL: Complete six hours of approved continuing education during each two-year renewal cycle. For an HVAC contractor licensee at least three of the six hours must include continuing education directly related to the installation, repair, or replacement of a heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system. This three hours includes the required one hour on energy conservation.
How Long Does it Take to Get an HVAC Contractors License in Utah?
There is no longer a required number of years of experience to qualify for an HVAC Contractor license in Utah. Previously, applicants had to pass an HVAC exam and have a minimum of four years of experience during the previous 10 years. Now, once you know how to do the job, you simply need to take the required 25-hour pre-license course through one of the approved organizations, meet all of the insurance, tax, and business registration requirements and return all of that information with your completed application and fee to:
DOPLPO Box 146741 Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6741
Applications can also be hand-delivered to the DOPL at 160 East 300 South, First Floor, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111. After your application has been received by DOPL, you’re asked to wait 4-6 weeks before checking on the status of your application.
DOPL also suggests that you always make a copy of anything you send and use verification, such as certified mail, to provide proof of delivery.
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Utah HVAC Training programs and schools
There are many programs to get the training you need to become an HVAC professional in Utah, and they are located all over the state.
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). There are currently no programs in Utah accredited by either organization, but there are some well-respected options statewide.
The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is made up of the state’s eight public colleges and eight technical colleges. There are HVAC certificate and degree programs offered at many of them, including Davis Technical College, Ogden/Weber Technical College, Salt Lake Community College, Mountainland Technical College, Dixie Technical College, and Bridgerland Technical College.
Tuition: Tuition varies slightly from school to school, but most of Utah’s technical college HVAC programs cost about $2,500 plus the cost of books and materials.
Apprenticeship: There are several formal apprenticeship opportunities to get the training you need in Utah as well. The Utah Mechanical Contractors Association offers a five-year apprenticeship at the Utah Career Center that meets national standards for registration with the U.S. 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. Apprenticeships through the Department of Labor are recognized nationwide, so your credentials move with you. The tuition is $500 per semester plus books. It’s a joint venture through Local 140 Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee in cooperation with UA Local 140 Plumbers, Pipefitters, HVAC&R, which offers a union apprenticeship at the training center as well.
Utah’s Department of Workforce Services also maintains a website of Registered Apprenticeships that meet 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. Or you can simply look for an entry-level position on Indeed or Zip Recruiter or another job board and work for a licensed contractor to learn on the job.
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.
Utah HVAC Licensing Exam Details
Utah no longer requires a trade exam for HVAC Contractors. You will, however, still need to pass the Environmental Protection Agency Certification Exam.
HVAC Specific Requirements: EPA Certification
Everywhere throughout the country, including Utah, 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, 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 containing5 pounds of refrigerant or less.
Type II – for servicing high-pressure units that contain 5 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 targeting any one specific certification.
For all certifications, you must pass the “Core Section” of 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)
Who Issues HVAC Contractor Licenses in Utah?
HVAC Contractor licenses are issued through the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL). Be sure to check with local governments where you intend to work to make sure you meet any additional licensing or permitting requirements.
Does My Utah HVAC Contractor License Work in Any Other State?
No, Utah does not have reciprocity agreements with any other states. Instead, Utah allows for licensure by endorsement. You can get the details and read about that application process by clicking on this link.
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.
All contractors must complete six hours of continuing education during each two-year license renewal cycle. For those with a specialty contractor classification of HVAC contractor, at least three of the six hours of education courses must include continuing education directly related to the installation, repair, or replacement of a heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system. This three hours includes the required one hour on energy conservation.
Other Requirements Unique to Utah
The Utah State Legislature continues to update and amend the rules and laws that affect contracting in the state as they try to address the shortage of people in this workforce. It is the contractor’s responsibility to stay up to date on any changes made to the legislation governing this field.
You can stay up to date on all HVAC industry news several ways: