Getting a license is key for technicians and contractors in the air conditioning industry. This guide dives deep into the world of obtaining an NC HVAC license. We’ll explore its significance, the options available, and the benefits that come with it. Think of it as a roadmap to guide AC professionals through the maze of licensing. 

Importance and Necessity of an AC License

An NC HVAC contractor’s license is more than just a badge of honor. 

Here’s why,

Mandatory for Performing any HVAC Work in North Carolina

All professionals in the state must acquire a license to perform HVAC work. It’s illegal to undertake any related work without an appropriate license. You must meet NC HVAC license requirements to obtain one. 

Ensures Credibility and Legal Compliance

A license ensures credibility by confirming your competence and adherence to industry standards. It’s easier to build trust among potential clients and customers. Obtaining a license avoids legal and liability issues down the road. 

Opens Up More Opportunities in the HVAC Field

A license opens up more opportunities and boosts the chances of higher pay. Clients usually prefer licensed professionals for peace of mind and are more likely to pay top-dollar 

Essential to Run an HVAC Business and Offers a Competitive Advantage in the Industry

A business staffed with licensed professionals attracts more customers seeking higher-quality services. Licensed businesses can bid on larger commercial and government projects. Besides, it allows obtaining the necessary insurance, a prerequisite for some projects. 

Types and Classifications of HVAC Licenses

Now, let’s talk about NC HVAC license types. These fall into two categories: the refrigeration HVAC contractor license NC and the heating and cooling license. 

Types of NC HVAC Licenses

The North Carolina State Board of Fire Sprinkler, Heating, and Examiners of Plumbing Contractors issues the heating and cooling license NC. The refrigeration contractor license NC is from the State Board of Refrigeration Contractors.

Each category of license has its classes. 

License TypeClassificationScope of Work
NC refrigeration licenseWork on commercial refrigeration or HVAC units.
Heating and CoolingH1Operate water-based systems in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings anywhere
H2Working on cooling and heating units of more than 15 tons
NC H3 licenseWork on air cooling and heating units of less than 15 tons.

Additional HVAC Licenses in North Carolina

Working on commercial refrigeration units or other heating and heating units requires special licenses. These may include:

  • Transport refrigeration contracting
  • Commercial refrigeration contracting
  • Refrigeration service contracting
  • Heating and fuel piping technician

Process of Obtaining a License

Let’s see the process to obtain an NC HVAC license. 

Educational and Experience Requirements

Candidates have to meet educational and on-the-job experience requirements. They also have to pass HVAC exams in North Carolina and provide evidence of experience in commercial refrigeration.

Technicians and installers must attend a six-month to two-year training at a community college technical school, or trade school. To obtain a certificate, associate HVAC degree North Carolina, or diploma. 

Apprenticeship offers hands-on experience under the guidance of a qualified professional and may last from three to five years. It may include about 144 hours of technical education and 2000 hours of practice, handling repairs, maintenance, and tests of HVAC equipment. 

Obtaining Education, Apprenticeship, and Technical Training 

Formal education, apprenticeships, and technical training are crucial for the licensing process. Accreditation is essential in your career. Accreditation entities include Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVC Excellence 

Associations that offer apprenticeships recommended by include: 

  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)

Cost and Fees

Let’s break down the related expenses involved in obtaining a license

Costs to Obtain NC HVAC License 

The training cost varies by school, from $5,000 to $8,000. A license requires about $65 to $130 depending on the license. You need a surety bond, typically around $2,000.

Other costs include:

Exam application$100
License activation$150
License renewal$150 (annually)
EPA certification$40
Background checkMinimum $30

NC HVAC License Cost By State

The amount to pay for a license varies by city. Each has established North Carolina HVAC license requirements and criteria. Local governing bodies are mandated to set their structures and prerequisites for licensure. The cost of living, specific conditions in a given locality, and administrative expenses determine costs.

Benefits and Impact of Licensing

The implications of investing in a license include:

  • Enhances problem-solving skills
  • Helps in reducing environmental impact
  • Provides a competitive advantage
  • Increases earning potential
  • Allows operation of a business and advertisement of services
  • Bidding on public and government projects

Salary and Earning Potential

HVAC technicians in The Tar Heel State earn an average salary, ranging from $40,000 to $58,000 annually. 

Some factors that determine HVAC salaries include:

  • Type of license
  • Geographical location in the state
  • Level of education
  • Possession of HVAC certification NC
  • Additional Skills
  • Overall work experience 

Choosing the appropriate type of license will maximize your earning potential. Charting a career path that aligns with your goals and ambitions will make your career more rewarding and fulfilling. 

License Renewal and Duration

The NC HVAC license expires on December 31, the year after issuance. 

Here’s the North Carolina HVAC license renewal process and how to get HVAC license in NC after expiry.

Understanding the License Renewal Process

You must start working on license renewal by submitting a renewal form and paying $50. When you fail HVAC license verification NC, you’ll have to pay a fine of $25. If you don’t renew it within three years after expiration, you’ll have to start the licensing process to get another. 

How Long To Obtain a License 

Obtaining an NC HVAC license takes about three to five years. This period includes two years of full-time work experience to make the required 4,000 hours of onsite training. 

Educational Institutions and Training Programs

Let’s look at some institutions for HVAC training North Carolina and opportunities. 

Accredited Schools and Programs Across the State

There are various HVAC schools in North Carolina offering accredited HVAC educational programs NC. recommends some schools that offer accredited programs including:

SchoolPrograms offered
Guilford Technical Community College– Associate of Applied Science (AAS) inHVAC/R technology
– HVAC/R diploma
– HVAC/R technology certificate – basic air conditioning
Pitt Community College– AAS degree in HVAC/R technology
– HVAC/R services diploma
– Two HVAC/R pathways
– Service certificate in HVAC
Wake Tech Community College– HVAC/R technology AAS degree building automation track
– HVAC/R technology AAS degree commercial A/C track (69
– HVAC/R technology AAS degree commercial refrigeration track
– HVAC/R technology diploma
– HVAC/R technology basic certificate
– HVAC/R technology building automation certificate
– HVAC/R technology commercial A/C certificate
– HVAC/R Technology Commercial Refrigeration Certificate
– HVAC/R Technology Residential Advanced Certificate

Top-tier Universities and Community Colleges for Extensive Coursework and Training Opportunities


Here are the top community colleges recommended by 

SchoolPrograms offered
Alamance Community College– Associate of Applied Science in HVAC/R
– HVAC/R Technology Diploma
– HVAC/R Technology Certificate
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College– HVAC/R Technology Basic Certificate
– HVAC/R Diploma
– HVAC/R Intermediate Certificate
Cape Fear Community College– HVAC/R Technology Diploma
– HVAC/R Technology Certificate
College of the Albemarle– HVAC/R Diploma
– HVAC/R Certificate I
– HVAC/R Technology Certificate II


Obtaining an NC HVAC license is crucial to excel in the air conditioning industry. Using field service CRM software is recommended to maximize your potential and streamline operations. For managing schedules, tracking customer data, and enhancing communication for efficient service delivery.