How to Become an HVAC Technician in Ohio – HVAC Contractor License

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) techs are needed in most residential and commercial buildings across the nation. These techs can work on air conditioners, climate control systems, refrigeration equipment (HVAC-R), boilers, and more. 

To become an HVAC tech in Ohio, you can complete a trade school program or apprenticeship. This training will enable you to work under a licensed HVAC contractor in the state. If you want to work for yourself or have your own HVAC company, you’ll need to get your state HVAC Contractor License once you have enough experience under your belt.

Do You need an HVAC License in Ohio?

HVAC licenses are only required for contractors in Ohio. An HVAC contractor can work independently and even hire other HVAC techs or apprentices to work beneath them. 

If you just plan to work as an HVAC tech – AKA journeyman – you can simply complete a training program or apprenticeship and be hired by a contractor without licensing. Techs working with refrigerants are required to get their EPA Technician Certification.

Certain cities within Ohio have distinct regulations for HVAC techs and contractors, so always check out your city’s licensing board website before completing any HVAC work.

HVAC Tech Certifications in Ohio

If you plan on being an HVAC-R tech, you’ll need to get your nationally-recognized EPA Technician Certification. This is a requirement upheld by the Clean Air Act.

This certification is offered in four forms, depending on what equipment you plan to work on. After choosing your form, find an approved program in your area that can prepare you for and issue the exam needed to get this certification. 

Once received, these certifications never expire.

Ohio HVAC Contractor License Requirements

The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) issues contractor licenses to HVAC techs who meet all requirements. If eligible, you’ll need to apply to sit for the contractor’s exam. Once your application is approved, you can take the exam, pay any additional fees, and receive your license once you get a passing mark.

An HVAC tech must meet the following to apply for examination:

  • Be 18+
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Have been an HVAC tradesperson for 5+ years before applying OR be a registered engineer with 3+ years of experience in Ohio
  • Never have been convicted of a disqualifying offense as outlined in House Bill 263
  • Have at least $500,000 in liability coverage
  • Pay applicable fees

Application Process

When completing the application, you should include:

  • If applying as a 5+ years tradesperson, proof of your work experience through at least one permit per year worked with the license number of the contractor that employs you
    • W-2s for the last 5 years, with your Social Security number crossed out
  • Copies of any certificates you hold
  • Transcripts, if applicable
  • Certificate of Completion for an apprenticeship program, if applicable
  • Your DD214 training record, if applying as a veteran
  • A $25 application fee check made out to Treasurer – State of Ohio

Complete, sign, and notarize your application. Once your application is approved, you will need to complete a Federal Background Check at an approved location. Mail the results of this background check to:

Ohio Department of Commerce

Division of Industrial Compliance

Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB)

6606 Tussing Road

P.O. Box 4009

Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-9009

Once the (favorable) results are received by the board, you can schedule and sit for the exam.

Examination

The state of Ohio uses PSI Exams to administer the 2-part HVAC contractor exam. You must score a 70% or higher on both parts to pass.

Part one is the Ohio Business and Law Exam, which includes 50 questions given over 2 hours. It is open book. Part 2 is the OH HVAC Contractor exam, which includes 100 questions given over 4 hours. It is also open book. 

Reciprocity

If you have taken a state test and received your HVAC Contractor License elsewhere, you may be exempt from the OH test. There are reciprocity agreements in place for HVAC contractors from:

  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • South Carolina
  • Louisiana
  • Tennessee

Renewals

Contractor licenses can be renewed online. Applicants can choose to renew their license annually or every 3 years. Continuing Education is required for all renewals.

You do not have to show proof of liability insurance during renewal, but it’s your responsibility to maintain this coverage. 

License Requirements in Other Ohio Cities

Even if you hold a statewide HVAC Contractor License, your OH city may have additional licensing requirements or registrations you need to complete. You can verify this by either calling the office or visiting the website of your city’s official licensing board. 

Let’s take a look at the HVAC contractor registration process in three of Ohio’s largest cities: Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.

HVAC Contractors in Columbus, OH

HVAC contractors should first be licensed with the state and then register with the city of Columbus. 

To register, fill out this application. You’ll need to submit:

  • Proof of a bond amount of at least $25,000
  • A copy of your HVAC Contractor License
  • A $250 registration fee

Complete, sign, and notarize your application and submit it to BZSLicensing@columbus.gov or

City of Columbus – Department of Building & Zoning Services

111 N Front Street

Columbus, Ohio 43215

HVAC Contractors in Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati requires licensed HVAC contractors to register with the city. This registration expires whenever your state license expires. 

You will need to complete the application, including:

  • A $131.25 fee (the same fee is applied for each renewal)
    • Same-day processing is available for an additional $210
  • Your Federal Taxpayer ID number if applying on behalf of your business
  • Proof of liability insurance covered $100,00 for a single person and $300,000 per occurrence
  • Proof of Worker’s Comp, if applicable
  • A copy of your HVAC Contractor License
  • A registered contractor sub list, if applicable

HVAC Contractors in Cleveland, OH

Licensed HVAC contractors in Cleveland should register with the city using this application.

Be sure to include:

  • A copy of your state license
  • A bond form covering $25,000 with original seals and signatures
  • A certificate of insurance with the required coverage listed on page 1 of the application
  • A new applicant fee of $150

Complete, sign, and notarize the application before submission. You can mail this form to 

City of Cleveland

Dept. of Building and Housing

HVAC Registration

601 Lakeside Avenue – Room 505

Cleveland, OH 44114

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