How to Become an HVAC Technician in North Carolina – NC HVAC Tech Contractor License

Becoming a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician in North Carolina can be done in a few simple steps. With the potential for paid on-the-job training, many people are exploring the HVAC field in NC by pursuing an HVAC tech or contractor license.

This article will break down how you can work in the HVAC field in NC, as well as what you need to do to get licensed.

Do You need an HVAC License in North Carolina?

North Carolina issues licenses for both HVAC techs and contractors in the state. Apprentices and techs should be supervised or subcontracted by a licensed HVAC contractor. 

HVAC Training in NC

Before acquiring an HVAC license, you’ll need to complete sufficient training to understand the field. Most HVAC techs start in a trade program at a community college or trade school, while others seek out paid apprenticeships. 

For certain HVAC tech and contractor licenses, up to 1 year of experience can be credited to an academic HVAC program. Both trade schools and apprenticeships are a great way to get supervised experience and classroom hours to enter the HVAC field.

Types of HVAC Licenses in North Carolina

North Carolina has no shortage of licenses available for those in the HVAC field. There are three groups of HVAC licenses and each group offers 4-5 license options. 

Group I licenses are issued to work with any water-based comfort heating system.

Group II licenses are issued to work with forced air heating and cooling systems with a cooling capacity of >15 tons.

Group III licenses are issued to work with forced air heating and cooling systems with a cooling capacity of <15 tons.

Heating Group I Licenses in NC

  • H1-I Contractors can work in residential, commercial, and industrial settings 
  • H1-II Contractors can work in single-family detached dwelling units
  • H1-T Technicians must work under H1 contractors 
  • SLGT-H1 Technicians are employed by the state or local government
  • PEIT-H1 Technicians are employed by private education institutions

Heating Group II Licenses in NC

  • H2 Contractors can work on systems in residential, commercial, or industrial settings
  • H2-T Technicians must be subcontracted by an H2 contractor
  • SLGT-H2 Technicians are employed by the state or local government
  • PEIT-H2 Technicians are employed by private education institutions

Heating Group III Licenses in NC

  • H3-1 Contractors can work on systems in residential, commercial, or industrial settings
  • H3-II Contractors can work in single-family detached dwelling units
  • H3-T Technicians must be subcontracted by an H3 contractor
  • SLGT-H3 Technicians are employed by the state or local government
  • PEIT-H3 Technicians are employed by private education institutions

NC HVAC Tech License Requirements

All HVAC techs must apply to take the appropriate exam before being licensed. Exam requirements depend on the setting you plan to work in. There are no reciprocity agreements for licensed HVAC techs coming from out of state.

Techs who plan to be employed by the state or local government (SLGT techs) must have at least 18 months or 3,000 hours of full-time experience in the license category they are pursuing. If you already hold a Class I contractor license, you may be exempt from the tech exam. 

Techs who plan to work for a school or university must have at least 18 months or 3,000 hours of full-time experience in the license category they are pursuing. If you already hold a Class I contractor license, you may be exempt from the tech exam.

All other HVAC techs need the same amount of relevant experience (18 months or 3,000 hours). 

On the application, you will have to verify your experience with the signatures of the licensees who supervised your past work.

NC HVAC Contractor License Requirements

HVAC contractors must also take and pass the appropriate exam before licensure. NC only has a reciprocity agreement for licensed HVAC contractors coming from SC. Requirements for examination are as follows. 

Contractors must have 2 years of experience (4,000 hours) in the category of their license. Up to half of this experience can be credited to academic or technical training in the field. 

Contractors will need to provide the following with their application:

  • W-2s or a description of earnings from the Social Security Administration
  • A check or money order paying the application fees
  • A statement describing any criminal charges or convictions

HVAC Licenses for the Military

If you have gained experience in the HVAC field during your time in the military, there are different requirements for examination. See the bottom of this page for more information.

HVAC License Application

HVAC licenses are approved and distributed by the NC State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. To receive your license, you will need to apply for the appropriate examination. 

North Carolina recently updated its application to an online format. You can also print out your application and mail it in. If applying online, you’ll still need to mail any originals of notarized documents, even if you have uploaded them as electronic images.

As a part of your application, you’ll need to complete a background check through Castlebranch. You should also pay the applicable fee which is listed on your application form. 

If your application is approved, you’ll have to schedule your exam within 30 days of approval, so you must be prepared for the exam before submitting your application. 

HVAC Examinations

Once your application is approved, you’ll receive instructions on scheduling your exam. Approved exam materials can be found here.

Contractor HVAC exams are two-part: one part trade (4 hours) and another Business and Law (1.5 hours). Technician exams are only one part and last 4 hours. 

When you pass your exam, you will receive your state license.

Renewing HVAC Licenses in NC

Renewal information for all licenses can be found here. Renewals can be issued online. 

HVAC Salaries in North Carolina

HVAC techs in NC make roughly $45,800 per year plus $5,000+ in overtime. With a decade of experience, this salary can rise to $62,000+.

The highest-paid cities in NC for HVAC tech are:

  • Sanford, NC
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Greensboro, NC

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