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Getting Your Alabama HVAC License and Refrigeration License

Getting Your Alabama HVAC License and Refrigeration License

Alabama is unique when it comes to licensing and contractor oversight. The state has separate boards that oversee different classifications within the contracting industry. One of these is the Board of Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors. They do a great job of outlining the steps for getting a license in HVAC contracting and/or refrigeration contracting.

This short article will go over the steps and answer the questions Alabama's site doesn't so you understand each step and know how to complete the application requirements.

Click on the link below to skip to that section of the article:

  • Step 1 - Choosing desired examination
  • Step 2 - Determining your license status
  • Step 3 - Purchasing your performance bond
  • Step 4 - Getting licensed by reciprocity

The 4 Steps To Getting Your Alabama HVAC and Refrigeration License

The steps for getting an Alabama HVAC license are choosing exam qualification, licensing status, purchasing the performance bond. If you qualify, you can get licensed through reciprocity and skip the examination requirement.

What is a Heating & Air Conditioning Contractor?

A heating and air conditioning contractor is responsible for the installation, service, and repair of any heating or cooling apparatus that comes from pipes, ducts, or blowers and all the accessory equipment.

The units that are excluded from requiring a license are:

  • Window units
  • Automotive air conditioning
  • Farm vehicle air conditioning

What is a Refrigeration Contractor?

A refrigeration contractor is responsible for refrigeration equipment that uses mechanical or absorption to control temperature, humidity to satisfy the required use case. Obviously this excludes any cooling unit designed for human comfort, and does include:

  • Walk in coolers
  • Read in coolers
  • Commercial refrigerators
  • Refrigerated storage

Are You Currently Licensed In Another State?

Before getting into the steps, it's important to know there are two ways you can obtain your license.

  1. Licensure through examination
  2. Licensure through reciprocity

If you have an active license in:

  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia
  • Louisiana

You may qualify to get licensed without having to take the technical and business examinations. Skip to Step 4, but make sure you still read about getting bonded as all licensed HVAC and refrigeration contractors require an active bond to be on file.

Step 1 - Licensure Through Examination

Qualifying for Examination

You can qualify for the examination by following one of four methods. Once you apply and get accepted, you can take the exam so you can complete your licensing application.

Getting licensed through examination requires:

  • Having accrued the necessary years of experience in the field
  • Having obtained the correct level of education

To sit for the exam you must complete one of the following three options.

Exam Qualification Option 1:

  • Submit the examination application
  • Have signed affidavits, notarized from the employer or employers swearing you have worked in the HVAC or refrigeration industry for at least 2 of the previous 5 years
  • All W-2 forms from your employer or employers

Exam Qualification Option 2

  • Provide copies of certificates showing that you have attended at least 3,000 hours of HVAC and/or refrigeration educational training

Exam Qualification Option 3

  • Provide proof of graduation from an approved HVAC and/or refrigeration curriculum.

A list of the approved schools according to Alabama's Board of Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors include:

  • Alabama Power Company, Verbena, Alabama
  • Southland Training Solutions, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Champion Technical Institute, Mobile, Alabama
  • ACR Services, Inc., Huntsville, Alabama
  • NARS Training System, Huntsville, Alabama
  • B-Trained, Birmingham & Huntsville, Alabama PHCC
  • Academy of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama
  • George Stone Technical Center, Pensacola, Florida
  • Fortis College, All Campuses
  • Gwinnett Technical College, Lawrenceville, Georgia
  • Atlanta Technical College, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Columbus Technical College, Columbus, Georgia
  • West Georgia Technical College, LaGrange, Georgia
  • Lindsey-Cooper Refrigeration School, Irving, Texas

Exam Qualification Option 4

If you've graduated from any public State of Alabama two year or community college you are approved to take the exam.

What's Covered on the Exam?

The exams are open book (though you're not allowed to write notes in the materials).

Here are the topics covered in the exam:

  • The Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors rules, regulations, and laws
  • International residential code
  • Residential duct systems
  • Residential load calculations
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning technology
  • ACCA and/or the Trane Ductulator (a specialized slide rule for air duct and air flow measurement)
  • NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business Law and Project Management

NASCLA (National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies) is an organization that provides transferable examinations to states that agree to accept the exams.

Step 2 - Choosing Your License Status

Determine if you want an active license which means you'll be actively performing work or an inactive license which means you have the license classification but you will not be performing work for the public.

You can either choose to be active or inactive.

An active license means you'll be actively offering services to customers.

Active licenses have a $190 annual fee to the Board and must purchase a surety bond, what they call a performance bond, covered in step 3.

An inactive license means you hold the HVAC or refrigeration contractor license but you do not take on any work.

Inactive licenses have a $95 annual fee to the Board and no bonding requirement because they are not actively working.

Step 3 - Purchasing a Performance Bond

You must purchase a surety bond as a guarantee that you will follow all rule and laws of performing contracting work in Alabama and that you service your customers with good business practices and ethics.

The Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, calls this a performance bond.

You will also hear this bond referred to as a:

This Alabama HVAC contractor performance bond or surety bond is a type of insurance guaranteeing you'll:

  • Follow all rules, regulations, and laws set forth by the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors
  • Service your customers, completing projects according to contractual promises and ethical business practices

A surety bond is a little different from "traditional" insurance because you're required to purchase it for the protection of your customers. It's not for you or your business's protection like liability insurance would be.

The bond amount required by the Board is $15,000.

Why is a Performance Bond Required?

The Board requires HVAC and refrigeration contractors to go through a licensing process to make sure only the most qualified individuals and businesses can provide services to the public.

Even with all the licensing requirements, every year there will be a handful of contractors who purposefully cut corners or financially harm their customers to make more money.

Examples of misconduct and fraud include:

  • Not completing work
  • Not following the contract
  • Failing to hire subcontractors

If a contractor is found guilty of a legitimate claim, the customer (or subcontractor) can make a claim against this performance bond for financial recuperation.

How To Purchase this Performance Bond

Surety Bonds Direct is a surety agency that specializes in providing contractor bonds for the lowest price.

You can purchase the required performance bond for low fixed prices and zero credit check.

These prices are:

Bond Type Pricing Options Purchase
Alabama Heating & AC Bond $150 for 1 year term Click to Buy
$262.50 for 2 year term Click to Buy
$375 for 3 year term Click to Buy
Contractor Bond - Refrigeration $150 for 1 year term Click to Buy
$262.50 for 2 year term Click to Buy
$375 for 3 year term Click to Buy

The difference between one, two, or three years is called the bond term. The term is simply the length of time the bond remains active.

If you purchase a longer bond term, you can save money on the initial purchase because we offer multi-year discounts of around 25% off for each additional year purchased.

If you purchase with Surety Bonds Direct, renewing your bond is easy. We manage the process for you. Your bond specialist will contact you prior to expiration and help ensure your bond renewal premium is paid.

Step 4 - Getting Licensed Through Reciprocation

If you hold a license from Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, and/or Louisiana, you can get licensed through reciprocity and skip the examination requirements.

If you choose licensure through examination, once you take your exam and purchase your performance bond, you can submit your application.

However, if you already hold an active license from one of the following states:

  • Mississippi (active license for at least 1 year)
  • Tennessee (active license for at least 3 years)
  • South Carolina Residential Building Commission
  • South Carolina Contractor's Board
  • West Virginia Contractor's Board
  • Louisiana Contractor Licensing Board

You can skip the examination and purchase the required performance surety bond.

Additional Licensing Requirements

There are a few additional requirements that didn't warrant their own steps:

  • Disclosure of any felony conviction or license suspension in the past
  • Registering an official business name with Alabama's Secretary of State
  • If you're a company registered in another state, you must submit a name reservation request form and obtain a certificate or authority to conduct business in Alabama

Purchase Your Alabama HVAC and/or Refrigeration License Performance Bond Today

Click or call Surety Bonds Direct today and we will price shop for you to find you the lowest possible price. You can then decide if that price is right for you. And we make purchasing easy.

I hope this article helped explain any missing details about the application process for obtaining your HVAC and/or Refrigeration contractor license.

Learn how to get your Alabama roofing license if you're looking to add more opportunity to your contracting business.

If you're currently in the process and ready to purchase your performance bond, you can from our Alabama contractor page.

If you have any questions or you would rather speak with a bond specialist to purchase your bond, call 1-800-608-9950.

Surety Bonds Direct   Taylor Branum  

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