HVAC contractors are always in constant demand, especially in the state of New Jersey, where there are notoriously cold winter months as well as warm summers. Becoming a successful HVAC contractor in New Jersey has several licensing requirements, education and work experience, fees, insurance policies, and exams that must be properly completed to ensure you maintain standards and regulations.
Who needs an HVAC license in New Jersey?
New Jersey requires a state license and insurance coverage to work as an HVAC contractor. Licenses are administered through the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors. Anyone who wants to begin working as an HVAC technician must obtain a license before accepting any form of HVAC work. Additionally, every state in the US is required to abide by federal-level EPA regulations under Section 608 of the Clean Air act. All contractors who handle refrigerants must acquire a 608 HVAC Certification.
What are the different types of HVAC licenses in New Jersey?
There’s only one type of HVAC license in New Jersey called a Master HVACR. New Jersey Master HVACR contractor licenses are obtained by completing the state board application, paying the required fees, and passing an HVAC license exam. A minimum age of 21 years old and education and experience requirements must also be met. Additionally, to qualify for an HVAC license, an individual must meet one of the following education and work experience:
- Completed one year of experience as an HVAC journeyman and four years of experience as an HVAC apprentice.
- Completed a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of work and three years of relevant work experience.
- Completed an HVACR bachelor’s degree and one year of relevant work experience.
Note that four-year programs cover both commercial and residential HVAC services.
The first step in becoming a licensed HVAC contractor is applying for a license on the state website, along with a $100 application fee. Once approved, you’ll receive information regarding how and where to schedule the state board exam, which consists of two parts; a business and law test and a trade test. The business and law test has fifty questions and must be completed in an hour and a half. 35 out of 50 questions must be correct to receive a passing grade (70%). Topics covered on the business/law test include:
- Risk management
- Business organization
- Bidding and estimating
- Contract law
- Project management
The trade test also has fifty questions but a thirty-minute timeframe, with 35 out of 50 (70%) passing grade. Topics covered on the trade test include cooling principles, ducts, and ventilation.
To prepare for the exam, online or in-person training programs are optional yet recommended. There is no limit on how many times you can take the exam, but if you do not pass, you have to wait six months to retake it again.
Benefits of getting an HVAC license in New Jersey
- It fulfills state license requirements to work as an HVAC contractor in New Jersey.
- Proves your expertise, education, and skills are sufficient.
- Added protection for your company and customers.
- Allows you to own your own business.
- Increases your earning potential.
How much does it cost to get an HVAC license in New Jersey?
The initial cost to obtain a license starts with the exam application fee of $100, but there are several other costs associated with licensing. All HVACR New Jersey licenses expire on the 30th of June of every even-numbered year and require a renewal fee of $160. Most contractors need commercial auto and property insurance (if you rent or own property for your business). Commercial auto insurance will help cover the costs of any incidents involving a work vehicle, including accidents, towing, and repairs. Commercial property insurance will help cover the costs of damage or equipment breakdowns/repairs. You’ll also need liability insurance covering up to $500,000 with a $3,000 guarantor bond. The bond ensures that your business is in compliance with state regulations and rules. All costs are subject to change, so it’s important to check on updates on the state board’s website
Not only is a New Jersey HVAC license required to operate within the state, but it’s vital to the success of your business and maintaining your professional reputation. Just like any license, though, there are a number of steps to take and maintain for years to come. Understanding the logistics and navigating requirements in New Jersey will help your HVAC business remain successful.