HVAC Technician License Requirements


In the state of Washington, there is no HVAC license needed for an individual to work in the industry.  However, you are required to have an electrical license, either trainee or journey level.   The exception is the City of Seattle, which requires a refrigeration and gas piping license in addition to the electrical license.  You can find more information about it here:  http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/licensingregistration/refrigerationlicensing/default.htm

Trainee license

Because the trainee license is the beginning level of licenses, you do not need to have classroom education or experience to obtain it.  Once your have your license, you are required to renew it every 2 years until you test and pass your journey level 06b or 06a electrical license, which is the specialty electrician certificate specific to HVAC/refrigeration.

Every year you are required to have 24 hours of Continuing Education Units (CEU’s).  When you renew at the two year mark, that means that you must have taken 48 hours of CEU’s in the past two years combined.  Almost all of our classes count towards those CEU’s, and are clearly marked with how many hours of classroom credit you receive.  Generally there are 8-24 CEU hours per class.  http://www.hvacinstitute.com/course-descriptions/

To apply for your trainee license: http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Electrical/LicenseExamEd/LicenseCert/Trainee/Default.asp#2


06b Restricted Electrical License

Once you have completed 2,000 documented working hours in the HVAC industry under supervision of a certified electrician, you are able to test to get your 06b Electrical License.  This is a restricted journeyman license limited to 240v 120a single phase, and you are able to work without supervision.


Journey Level 06a Electrical License

The 06a Electrical License is the journey level license specific to HVAC/refrigeration that you need for commercial work.  This license is not limited by voltage and phase.  You are able to test for it once you have an affidavit of 4,000 documented hours working in the specialty under the supervision of a certified electrician.  You also must have taken the required amount of CEU’s.

The test for the 06a can be challenging, so we provide two courses that help prepare you for the test: NEC Code Update and the RCW/WAC Update.  Both courses have 8 hours of CEU’s available to you as well.

Once you have been approved for your 06a License, you are required to renew it every 3 years.  To maintain your license, you have 8 hours per year of CEUs.

  • 8 hours of those CEUs must be on the currently adopted NEC code updates.
  • 4 hours must be on the currently adopted RCW/WAC
  • The remaining 12 hours of CEUs ca be your choice of courses

To see when the next NEC Code Update and RCW/WAC courses are scheduled, visit: https://hvacinstitute.gosignmeup.com/dev_students.asp?action=browse&main=Code+Updates&misc=564

To learn more about testing for your 06a from L&I’s Electrical Department, visit their website http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Electrical/LicenseExamEd/LicenseCert/Electrician/default.asp#3



Q. What if I have military experience in HVAC and refrigeration?

A.  You will need to talk to the L&I Electrical Program at 360-902-5269 to determine if that experience will count.  They will make the final determination.


Q. What if I have an affidavit of hours worked and CEU’s taken in a state besides Washington?

A.  You will need to talk to the L&I Electrical Program at 360-902-5269 to determine if that experience will count towards a license in this state.  They strongly encourage you to talk to them before you move to this state.


Q. I want to start a company– does the information here apply to a company as well?

A.  No.  The information above is simply for individual technicians.  For a company, you would need to obtain a contractor’s license and would need a supervisory employee that would pass the administrator exam for the HVAC work that you want to pursue.  We suggest you visit L&I’s website for more information.  http://www.lni.wa.gov/tradeslicensing/contractors/howreg/default.asp