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How to Become an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration HVAC Contractor in Texas

Becoming an air conditioning and refrigeration contractor or technician Texas is a particularly lucrative career, especially when you consider just how extreme temperatures can get – and how significant demand for air conditioning and heating technology is throughout this great southwestern state.

There is a licensing and application process you’ll need to follow if you are serious about moving forward in this career.

Let’s dig a little deeper and run through (almost) everything you need to know to get started.

Experience Requirements

To start off, you should understand that there are a handful of experience requirements that will dictate whether or not you are eligible to become licensed as an air conditioning and refrigeration contractor in Texas.

The first requirement you’ll need to meet is that you have at least 48 months (four years) of practical, on-the-job experience working in the HVAC career field. Not only that, but you’ll need to work under the direct supervision of someone that already has their license to do this kind of work in the state of Texas, too.

If you haven’t accumulated that can experience already there is a second route that you can go down to begin the licensing process.

You need to have secured your HVAC technician certification in the last 12 months and have at least 36 months of practical experience in the HVAC field. That shortness things up considerably (cuts your time commitment down by a full year), but you’ll need to technician certification speed things up.

All of your experience needs to be documented and verified, using the Experience Verification Forms from the Texas Department of License and Regulation. You can find the form here.


There are a couple of exemptions you might be qualified to take advantage of, including:

  • If you have secured a degree or certification in the air conditioning and refrigerating field already
  • You are already a licensed engineer or have received a degree in mechanical engineering
  • You are a veteran with military/government training pertaining to air-conditioning and refrigeration
  • You are already employed by a commercial company with HVAC responsibilities as part of your job and need certification to up to code

More information regarding specific exemptions can be found on the Texas Department of License and Regulation website right here.

Applying for a License in Texas

The next piece of the puzzle (after confirming that you able to meet be minimum requirements for starting the application process) include actually applying for the air conditioning and refrigerating license from the state of Texas.

There’s not a whole lot to this part of the process, though.

You need to:

  • Decide which type of license class and special endorsements you’re looking for (more on that in just a moment)
  • Fill out the right application
  • Include a check or money order for $115 and
  • Then file your application with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

You can submit your application via the Customer Support info on the TDLR website (found here) or though the mail. Address your application to:

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors
PO Box 12157
Austin, TX 78711

License Classes

As of early 2021, there are two separate licensing classes and that you’ll want to pick from on getting your air-conditioning and refrigeration application ready to go.

A Class A license gives you an opportunity to work on any sized unit whatsoever, without any restrictions.

Class B licenses, however, give you the ability to work on cooling systems that measuring 25 tons or less as well as heating systems that are capable of 1.5 million BTU per hour output and no larger.

Special Endorsements

You’ll also be able to apply for a number of different endorsements that increase the career opportunities you’ll have available to you.

These endorsements include:

  • Environmental Endorsements – These endorsements are necessary to work on air-conditioning and heating technology pertaining to temperature control, humidity control, ventilation, circulation, and cleanliness of HVAC units in Texas
  • Commercial Refrigeration Endorsements – These endorsements allow you to work on commercial refrigeration systems, including the mechanical and absorption equipment necessary to operate these safely up to code
  • Process Cooling and Heating Endorsements – these endorsements relate to temperature control and humidity control specifically as it pertains to production equipment

New applicants and renewal applicants also have an opportunity to apply for both classes of license at the same time as well as one endorsement per license.

After submitting your application to take the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration exam in Texas, TDLR still has to verify you meet all requirements. They’ll either approve or deny your app based off of these core criteria.

Passing the Licensing Examination

Following the submission of your application, and verifying that you have met the necessary qualifications outlined earlier, you’ll be approved to take the actual licensing examination itself.

You’ll need to sign up for an examination date within 12 months of your application being filed (filed, not approved) and will have to successfully pass the examination to secure your license.

Securing a Certification of Insurance

The last piece of the puzzle after successfully passing your licensing examination is securing insurance and a Certificate of Insurance to prove that with the state.

Texas also requires that you maintain general liability insurance (commercial) for as long as your air-conditioning and refrigeration license is active. Only general liability insurance (commercial) plans from insurance companies authorized to sell insurance in Texas are valid.

Submit your current and active Certificate of Insurance to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation using this contact information.

Important Information for Applications with a Criminal History

If you have a criminal history of either felony or misdemeanor convictions, not just in the state of Texas but anywhere else in the US as well, you need to provide the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation with a fully completed Criminal History Questionnaire when submitting your license application.

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation officials will then review your criminal history and criminal background individually, approving or denying all applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Reviews usually take between one to six weeks, though they can sometimes take even longer than that. You’ll be notified about the decision made by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation one way or another as soon as the review is finished.


To read this article in Spanish, click here.

1 thought on “How to Become an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration HVAC Contractor in Texas”

  1. This article is beneficial for those who are looking to enter the HVAC industry. You have covered many important points. The main requirement apart from paperwork is the skillset. Proper knowledge of the HVAC system is essential. Thank you for the article. Please keep posting such articles in the future also.

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