Licensing Guides

Washington HVAC License: How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Washington

category-iconHVAC, WA

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

  2. Types of HVAC Licenses in Washington

  3. Steps to Becoming an HVAC Professional in Washington

  4. Benefits of Becoming an HVAC Technician in Washington

  5. What Is the Mean Wage for an HVAC Technician in Washington?

  6. How to Become an HVAC Professional in Washington

  7. How Much Does It Cost to Become an HVAC Technician in Washington?

  8. How Long Does it Take to Become an HVAC Tech in Washington?

  9. Washington HVAC Training programs and schools

  10. Washington Licensing Exam Details

  11. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Certification

  12. Core Exam

  13. Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Washington?

  14. Does My Washington HVAC License Allow Me to Work in Any Other State?

  15. National HVAC Certifications

  16. Continuing Education/Renewal

The climate control systems in our homes and businesses are more technologically advanced than ever. Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration work involves some plumbing, some electrical, sheet metal/ductwork and more. There are regulatory codes that must be met, so making sure that professionals doing this work are skilled and knowledgeable usually involves some government oversight.

» Want to grow your HVAC business? Click here to get a demo.

Learning this trade can mean job security in Washington and a healthy paycheck, too. The Evergreen State is one of the top-paying states for HVAC mechanics and installers in the United States. That’s according to the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also reports that there are over 415,800 Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers nationwide and 8,140 of them work in Washington. The national number is expected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032 — adding more than 20,000 of these skilled workers to the ranks. In Washington, that growth rate is expected to be even higher. The U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website, CareerOneStop, projects the growth rate in Washington to be 19% for HVAC mechanics and installers, and the Associated General Contractors of America says contractors are hiring. In the 2022 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 93% of firms in the U.S. and 100% of firms in Washington had unfilled hourly craft positions.

Air conditioning, refrigeration and heating systems in our homes and businesses wear out and break down, so there is always a need for tradespeople who know how to fix them or install new systems.  Also, as the push for energy efficiency and reducing pollution grows stronger, there’s a need for mechanical systems to be retrofitted, upgraded or replaced entirely to remain compliant.

The licensing requirements for HVAC workers and HVAC contractors vary from state to state and in some cases from locality to locality. Washington has a little of both.

Licensing Requirements for HVAC Professionals in Washington

Is a license required for HVAC Professionals in Washington? Yes.

Washington does not offer a statewide HVAC or mechanical license. Rather, HVAC technicians and specialty contractors are required to be licensed as specialty electricians. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries issues licenses for electricians, plumbers, contractors, and several other professions. The state requires HVAC professionals to meet certain minimum requirements to be permitted to legally perform their trade. Specifically, HVAC workers in Washington need a specialty electrical license. Beyond that, if you work in certain cities, you’ll need a special license there to perform HVACR work. Kennewick, Pullman, Seattle, Spokane, and Yakima all license HVAC and/or Refrigeration professionals who want to work within city limits. Be sure to check wherever you will be working for any local requirements.

Types of HVAC Licenses in Washington

What are the different types of HVAC licenses in Washington? There is no statewide license for HVACR in Washington. Instead, the state requires HVAC workers to have an electrical license.  There are three that suffice. A full-fledged journeyman electrician license or one of two specialty licenses. You’ll begin as an electrical trainee for any of these licenses.

Journey Level:

A general journey level electrician (EL01) is certified to work in commercial/industrial and all specialty electrical categories. There are minimum experience and education requirements.

  • At least 8,000 hours working as an electrical trainee under the supervision of a certified journey-level electrician. At least 4,000 hours must be spent working in commercial or industrial installations.

  • 96 hours of basic classroom instruction.

  • Trainees must be supervised a minimum of 75% of the time.

Beginning July 1, 2023:

  • To qualify for the EL01 examination, you must have completed a recognized electrical apprenticeship program.

  • To work on a commercial jobsite, trainees must be registered in a recognized electrical apprenticeship program, unless performing specialized work (e.g., low-voltage, signs, etc.).

Specialty Electrician Licenses:

HVAC/refrigeration systems (EL06A) - 30 volts and less control, and limited line voltage work within HVAC/R systems only. 

Minimum experience and education requirements:

  • At least 4,000 hours work experience in a selected specialty as an electrical trainee under the supervision of an electrician certified in the same specialty.

  • 48 hours of basic classroom instruction.

  • Trainees must be supervised a minimum of 75% of the time.

HVAC/refrigeration – restricted (6B) - 30 volts and less control and limited voltage line work within small (250 volt, 125 amp, single phase) HVAC/R systems only.

 Minimum experience and education requirements:

  • At least 2,000 hours work experience in a selected specialty as an electrical trainee under the supervision of an electrician certified in the same specialty.

  • 24 hours of basic classroom instruction.

  • Trainees must be supervised 100% of the time.

Electrical trainees who are working toward a specialty electrical certification do not need to complete an apprenticeship program at this time.

In the cities where additional HVACR licensing is required, there are different designations.


Development Services in Kennewick licenses individuals who work in any capacity with natural or any type of gas used as fuel.

  •  Gas Installation License — Applicants are required to pass a written test with 75% or greater score before a license will be issued.


The city of Pullman requires a license for mechanical work done within city limits, even for apprentices.

  • Gas-fitter License — Applicants for a gas-fitter license must demonstrate competence by documentation of passing the gas-fitter course as established by the Inland Northwest Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Association and notarized documentation of six months experience working under the direct supervision of a licensed gas fitter.


Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections issues several HVAC-related licenses:


HVAC-related licenses are issued through the Spokane Development Services Center. There are nine trade licenses you can apply for and renew online:

  • Boiler Licenses | 1st Class, 2nd Class, and 3rd Class Boiler Operator | Low Pressure Boiler Operator

  • Gas and Oil Licenses | Gas Heating Mechanic I and II | Gas Inspector I and II | Oil Inspector


The Community Development Department issues all regulatory licenses for the city, including HVAC:

  • Heating Journeyman Regulatory License must demonstrate knowledge of the specific types of heating and comfort-cooling appliances to be certified to service and/or install, and pass a city-administered examination.

These are just some of the local requirements in the state. Your jurisdiction may have its own specific licensing for mechanical work, so be sure to check in the areas you will be working for any additional licensing or permitting regulations.

Steps to Becoming an HVAC Professional in Washington

  1. Typically you must have a high school diploma or GED and be at least 16 years or older.

  2. Enroll in a training program — either college degree program, an apprenticeship, or employer- sponsored training program.

  3. Washington requires HVACR/mechanical workers to be licensed as electricians. You begin that process as a trainee as soon as you are employed in the field and must apply for a trainee certificate and work under the supervision of a certified electrician. Any employer doing HVAC work will have specialty certification at a minimum.

  4. To apply for a training certificate, you must have a valid Social Security number. If you are working as a trainee, you must renew your training certificate yearly before it expires. To do so, you must complete 48 hours of approved electrical basic trainee classes.

  5. Meet the educational and work experience for the electrical license you are seeking to qualify for the state licensing exam.

  6. Pass the exam and receive your state electrician license.

  7. You will also need to get EPA Section 608 Certification by passing the exam before you are permitted to handle refrigerants.

  8. You should check for additional local or city licensing requirements for the area where you will be working and take any required test to be licensed there.

  9. You can earn additional certifications to improve your marketability and pay.

  10. If you wish to own your own business in the HVAC field in Washington after you’ve accumulated significant experience, you’ll need a state-issued business license, worker’s compensation insurance, unemployment insurance and either a cash deposit or surety bond. Check with your municipality for further requirements.

The #1 newsletter for the trades.

Benefits of Becoming an HVAC Technician in Washington

There are many benefits to getting licensed to work in the HVAC field in Washington:

  • HVAC Mechanics and Installers in Washington are paid very well, commanding the fourth highest annual mean wage in the nation.

  • You will earn as you learn with a potential for pay increases as you develop new skills during that on-the-job training.

  • The state certification and local licenses you earn over your years of experience are proof of your knowledge and expertise.

  • You will receive industry-recognized credentials that can go with you anywhere.

  • 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 Washington?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean wage for HVAC mechanics and installers nationally as $59,620, and $72,340 for those in Washington. That salary, as you might expect, increases as you acquire more experience, according to

  • HVAC Installer: The average hourly wage for an HVAC installer is $32.37 per hour in Washington and $6,750 overtime per year.

  • HVAC Technician: The average hourly wage for an HVAC Technician is $35.30 per hour in Washington and $6,750 overtime per year.

  • HVAC Mechanic: The average hourly wage for an HVAC Mechanic is $35.92 per hour in Washington.

  • HVAC Supervisor: The average base wage for an HVAC Supervisor is $106,112 per year in Washington. 

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. 

What Business Owners Need to Know

Getting the most out of an HVAC technician, no matter where they are in their licensing journey, takes work. ServiceTitan’s cloud-based, all-in-one HVAC software gives technicians and business owners the technology they need to do the work efficiently, and the data they need to do it smartly. 

ServiceTitan features:

  • SMS communications that keep customers informed about the technician’s visit.

  • Location-specific service history, including recorded calls, accessible from the mobile app.

  • Required forms that ensure every job is done right, driving consistency.

  • The ability to build multi-option proposals with photos, on-site, in minutes.

  • Sales presentations that make conversations with customers easier and drive average ticket.

  • Mobile payment acceptance, eliminating lost checks and increasing cash flow.

To learn more, schedule a demo with a product expert today. 

How to Become an HVAC Professional in Washington

To enter the HVAC field in Washington you need to learn and gain work experience. Washington has common HVACR license requirements at the municipal level, and the state requirement is one of several electrician licenses. You’ll need to acquire a combination of classroom training and hands-on work experience though there is no prescribed way of doing so for a specialty electrician license. You can meet expectations in whatever order you want to meet them. Beginning July 1, 2023, however, if you wish to be licensed as a general journey-level electrician a registered apprenticeship will be your only option.

EDUCATION/WORK EXPERIENCE: There are many ways to get the classroom and on-the-job training you need to work in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration industry in Washington, but each path combines these two elements — education and experience. You have basically three options on how to get it:

Apprenticeship: Apprenticeships are sometimes referred to as “The Other Four-Year Degree,” because it’s like college for the trades. If you get one of the coveted apprentice openings through your local United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, & Service Techs it’s like getting a scholarship to college. Washington has five UA local chapters that offer plumbing, pipefitting, HVAC and welding apprenticeships. UA Local 44 based in Spokane offers apprenticeships for plumbers, pipefitters, and service technicians. Apprentices are mentored on the job by journeymen and go to school to learn trade-specific subjects. These apprenticeships are very competitive, though, so you may need to distinguish yourself if this is the path you want to take. You can do that by starting in one of the other paths to licensure.

College/Trade School: Another way to begin the process of becoming an HVAC tech is to get a certificate or degree in the field. There are thousands of programs to choose from in the state of Washington. An associate degree in applied science will take about two years, and certificate programs can take six months to a year. This can distinguish you from other candidates for one of those union apprentice openings or make you a more desirable candidate for an entry-level job with an HVAC employer. Some programs, like the one at Bates Technical College in Tacoma, will start you on your licensing requirements and allow you to earn national certifications. Students who graduate from the program at Bates will have a state electrical trainee license with 1,127 hours of field training credit, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 30 certification, and universal refrigerant certification.

Entry-level Employment: The other way to begin is to simply look for an entry-level job opening and work for a licensed contractor. There are thousands of HVAC apprentice openings on sites like Indeed or Zip Recruiter or other job boards.  Employers will often pay for the instruction you need if you maintain a certain grade point average, or will reimburse you after a certain amount of time on the job.

Some employers will act as a sponsor in a registered apprenticeship through Washington’s Office of Apprenticeship, which maintains a list 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. You will be required to attend classes at night or on weekends to get the requisite theoretical training, but you’ll be getting your academic instruction in tandem with your practical experience, and you probably won’t be paying for all of it.

APPLY FOR EXAMINATION/LICENSE: Once you’ve completed the license requirements in terms of the amount of training and education for the statewide electrical license classification and your locality, if it has any additional requirements, you may apply for examination for licensure. Again, for a journey-level Washington State electrician license (EL01) applicants need 8,000 hours of work experience and 96 hours of basic classroom instruction. Specialty license HVAC/refrigeration systems (EL06A) — 30 volts and less control, and limited line voltage work within HVAC/R systems only — 4,000 hours work experience 48 hours of basic classroom instruction. HVAC/refrigeration – restricted (6B) - 30 volts and less control and limited voltage line work within small (250 volt, 125 amp, single phase) HVAC/R systems only--at least 2,000 hours of work experience and 24 hours of basic classroom instruction.

Beginning July 1, 2023, to qualify for the EL01 examination, you must have completed a recognized electrical apprenticeship program.

You will apply online. You will need to pay an application fee of $95.20 by check or money order made payable to the Department of Labor and Industries and submit a notarized Affidavit of Experience form. You will be notified by mail if your application is approved or denied. If approved, the department will mail your approval letter with the contact information for the exam contractor, PSI Exams, to the mailing address you provided. More information on the exam is below. Once you pass the examination, the department will mail your certificate to you within approximately 2-4 weeks.

Remember that if you live in a city where there are additional licensing requirements, like Seattle or Spokane, you will need to go through those processes as well.

CONSIDER BECOMING AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR: If you wish to own your own business in the HVAC field in Washington after you’ve accumulated significant experience and licensing and certifications, you’ll need to register as an electrical contractor with L & I. For that contractor registration, you'll need a valid UBI number issued by the Department of Revenue or Secretary of State’s office. The Unified Business Identifier (UBI) is a nine-digit number issued to individuals and companies doing business in the State of Washington. In addition, you’ll need a certified, assigned electrical administrator or master electrician, an original, $4,000 electrical/telecommunication contractor’s surety bond, or assignment of savings account, general liability insurance, and a workers’ compensation account if the business has employees.

How Much Does It Cost to Become an HVAC Technician in Washington? 

How you get started will determine your upfront costs. For example, if you choose to start with a college program, you can expect to pay $1,739 per quarter for in-state tuition at Bates Technical College in Tacoma and about double that for non-residents. Renton Technical College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree that costs $1,702 per semester for a full-time in-state student and $3,570 for out-of-state. 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 if you start with a program that may be included. There is also the $95.20 electrical license fee to the state and the examination fee paid to PSI Exams. The EL01 exam fee for the journeyman's license is $75 for both portions, the General NEC and Theory Exam and the General WA Laws and Rules Exam. The EL06A exam costs $65 for both portions, and the EL06B costs $55. If your locality has additional licensing requirements, you will pay an application, testing, and licensing fee there as well.  For example, the fees in Seattle are based on the type and class of license.

How Long Does it Take to Become an HVAC Tech in Washington? 

The education and experience requirements for licensing in Washington varies depending on the level of licensing you are seeking. The least rigorous is the EL06B Restricted Specialty HVAC/refrigeration license which requires 2,000 hours of experience and 24 hours of basic classroom instruction. That means about a year. The EL06A HVAC refrigeration system license is twice that and the general journeyman electrician license is 8,000, which means roughly four years. Starting in July of 2023, the apprenticeship requirement takes effect. Most apprenticeships for HVAC, plumbers or electricians take about five years. The additional municipal requirements will be met as you acquire that experience. It takes about two years to earn an associate degree. Typically you are sufficiently prepared for the EPA Section 608 Certification examination after about two years of either schooling or working under a licensed professional. The longer you work in the business, the more skilled and valued you will become as an employee and the more earning potential you will enjoy. 

Washington HVAC Training programs and schools 

There are many programs to get the training you need to become an HVAC technician or mechanical contractor in Washington, and they are located all over the state. There are also many more options for online training. The US Department of Labor’s website lists 2,265 training programs for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Engineering Technology Technicians in Washington. 

Most HVAC technicians hold some kind of post-secondary degree or certificate. There are two main organizations that approve HVAC programs and schools nationwide: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).

Currently, HVAC Excellence has not accredited any programs in the state and PAHRAH has accredited one school in Washington:

  • Bates Technical College in Tacoma breaks down the credit-hour requirements for several programs in Washington, including the one at Bates.

Here are two great lists of the best HVAC schools in Washington:

You’ll see that many of the same colleges or programs appear on these lists. 

Apprenticeship: As mentioned earlier, the alternative to a college education program is to look for an apprenticeship. There are several formal apprenticeship opportunities to get the training you need in Washington. Local United Association union chapters are a great place to start your search because they are considered the gold standard in apprenticeships in the trades. The UA chapters are listed here. Each has a slightly different way of doing things. You will want to apply to the local chapter where you live. Local 598 in Pasco offers a Plumbers and Steamfitters Apprenticeship that is a five-year program consisting of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 250 hours of classroom instruction each year for five consecutive years. Apprentices have the same curriculum for the first and second year and then move to a specialized training track to become a Steamfitter, Plumber, Pipe Welder or HVAC-R Technician. UA Local 32 in Seattle offers apprenticeships through the Joint Apprenticeships Training Center in Renton. Here are the details of how to apply.

There are many other ways to find an apprenticeship. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries offers a tool on its website to help apprentices find openings and help employers find apprentices. The (ARTS) Apprenticeship Registration & Tracking system helps both. There’s also advice for “Getting Started” and “Apprenticeship Preparation” offered through the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council (WSATC).

Many employers hiring entry-level HVAC technicians also follow an apprentice model — pairing new employees with others who are licensed to begin hands-on training while requiring the beginner to attend HVAC classes. They are often willing to offer a registered apprenticeship with  the U.S. Department of Labor if you ask. That will give you credentials that will go with you anywhere. 

One other resource that may help you get the training you need is an organization called Career Connect Washington. It is a “consortium of business, education, labor and government leaders who are committed to ensuring that every young adult in Washington will have multiple pathways to self-sufficiency and fulfillment, strengthened by a comprehensive state-wide system for career connected learning” because the vast majority of today’s jobs require some training after high school. Some of the programs offered through Career Connect Washington may help you.

Tuition: Apprenticeships usually have some up-front costs for books or tools, but the apprentice will be paid a percentage of the journeyman wage and will receive periodic wage increases as they meet program requirements. The cost of tuition at a vocational school or college can range from a few thousand dollars for an online program or at a community college to $50,000 per year at a state or private school.

Program Prerequisites: You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED and demonstrate mastery of basic high school math. You may also need a driver’s license, a clean bill of health, and to pass a drug test.

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. 

Washington Licensing Exam Details

The state of Washington has contracted with PSI Exams, a third-party testing service, to conduct all of its licensing examinations. Each of the electrician license exams required for those working in the HVACR field have two parts.

Electrician Exam (EL01)

  • General NEC and Theory Exam | Time limit: 180 minutes | Exam Fee: $65

  • General WA Laws and Rules Exam | Time limit: 60 minutes | Exam Fee: $45

  • Exam Fee for both portions taken at the same time: $75

Electrician HVACR Exam (EL06A)

  • 06A-HVAC-R NEC and Theory Exam | Time limit: 120 minutes | Exam Fee: $55

  • 06A- HVAC-R WA Laws and Rules Exam | Time limit: 60 minutes | Exam Fee: $45 | Exam Fee for both portions taken at the same time: $65

Electrician HVACR Restricted Exam (EL06B)

  • 06B-HVAC-R Restricted NEC and Theory Exam | Time limit: 60 minutes | Exam Fee: $45

  • 06B-HVAC-R WA Laws and Rules Exam | Time limit: 60 minutes | Exam Fee: $45 | Exam Fee for both portions taken at the same time: $55

Before you can take the exam, you must apply and be approved by the Department of Labor and Industries. Once the department has approved you for testing, you will receive an eligibility notice instructing you on how to schedule and pay for your examination. You have one year from your approval date to pass all sections of the examination. If you fail a portion, you must wait 14 days before you may retest.

All exams are open book and require that you have a working grasp on the 2020 National Electrical Code, current Washington laws and rules, and electrical theory knowledge.

To prepare PSI suggests:

  • Start with a current copy of the Candidate Information Bulletin and use the examination content outline as the basis of your study.

  • Read/study materials that cover all the topics in the content outline and take practice tests.

  • Take notes on what you study. Putting information in writing helps you commit it to memory and it is also an excellent business practice. Discuss new terms or concepts as frequently as you can with colleagues. This will test your understanding and reinforce ideas.

  • Your studies will be most effective if you study frequently, for periods of about 45 to 60 minutes. Concentration tends to wander when you study for longer periods of time.

Each exam is described in detail, including the number of questions and the time limit to complete it.

The Bulletin will also specify which reference materials you may use and what items are not allowed in the testing center. There are 12 PSI testing centers in Washington: in Arlington, Bremerton, Everett, Kent, Olympia, Puyallup, Seattle (Bellevue), Snohomish, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Yakima.

If the city or county where you intend to work has additional HVACR, gas piping, gas fitting or other mechanical- related licensing, you will need to apply to the jurisdiction for licensure and will most likely have to complete additional local testing. Always check with your local governing agency to be sure to meet its requirements.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Certification

Everywhere throughout the country, including Washington, 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 and many even make it part of the curriculum, or your employer will require you to get it before handling refrigerant. You can also go to and key in 608 Certification in the search bar to find out which institutions in your state offer certification programs.

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 targeting any 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 

Who Issues HVAC Licenses in Washington?

Washington does not issue an HVACR license at the state level, but as stated earlier requires those working in this field to acquire an electrical license. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries issues the licenses. At a minimum you will need one of two possible specialty electrician licenses.  Also, if you work in Kennewick, Pullman, Seattle, Spokane, or Yakima you will need a license through those cities as well. Be sure to check wherever you will be working for any local requirements.

Does My Washington HVACR Electrician License Allow Me to Work in Any Other State?

Every state has different licensing requirements. Minimum work experience thresholds will vary, and many will require that you document that experience and pass a licensing exam. Be sure to check those mandates before beginning work as an HVAC professional in another state, even if you’ve been doing HVAC work in Washington.

Your EPA Certification and other Certifications will stand, and if you’ve completed a registered apprenticeship through the U.S. Department of Labor, your credentials will transfer from state to state even if there is no reciprocity. You may still need to take an examination and apply for a license in your new home state, though.

Washington does not reciprocate with any other state for its specialty HVACR electrical licenses. It only has a reciprocal agreement with Oregon for the General Journey Level Electrician Certificate. If you have obtained your Oregon general journeyman electrician (J) licenses after completing an 8,000-hour apprenticeship requiring at least 576 classroom hours of education and passing the Oregon exams or have an Oregon General Supervising Electrician (S) license obtained by Oregon examination, you may apply for your Washington license using this form.

 If you have done electrical work outside of Washington that you want to present for consideration as qualifying experience to take the examination in Washington, at the time of application you must present appropriate evidence showing that this work experience is equivalent to that required by Washington law and rules. If you have experience in the armed forces of the United States that matches something described in Chapter 296-46B-920 WAC, it may count toward the hours of experience you need to qualify for an electrician exam as well. 

One more note: There is an Apprenticeship Reciprocal Agreement among Washington, Oregon, and Montana. The intent is to provide freedom of movement of the registered apprenticeship workforce in the three states. Under the agreement, it is understood that when an apprentice registration occurs in any one of the three states, duplicate registration is not required in the others for apprentices to be eligible to work there.

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/Renewal

Washington electrical administrators, master electricians and electricians are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education course work in the three years between certification renewals:

  • 8 hours of your Continuing Education Units (CEU) must be on currently adopted National Electrical Code (NEC) changes.

  • 4 hours must be on the currently adopted Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 19.28 and related Washington Administrative Codes (WAC). The remaining 12 hours of continuing education credits can be any other course from the list of approved courses below. You cannot take the same class more than once and receive credit.

Electrical trainee certificates renew every two years.

If the area where you will be practicing requires separate local licensing, be sure to find out if continuing education is required for renewal.

Also, you will want to stay informed about emerging technology in the HVAC industry. There are many ways to keep yourself current on the technology put to use in HVAC systems and appliances. Distributors want you to know about their company’s latest offerings and will often hold training sessions about new and changing equipment and parts. HVAC manufacturers offer training, too, including online. For example, according to, Carrier has something they call Carrier University, an elaborate training system that includes classroom and online courses and symposiums and seminars covering all aspects of the HVACR industry and all of the people involved in it. 


You can stay up to date on all HVAC industry news several ways:

 ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000 contractors across the country.

Ready to learn more about what ServiceTitan can do for your business? Contact our team to schedule a demo today.