Becoming an HVAC technician means you’ll work in a stable industry, and will continue to be in demand.
Let’s learn more about becoming an HVAC technician in Alabama.
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In Alabama, HVAC technicians need a license to be able to work.
These are the options you have to get your license:
- Graduate from a community college
- Graduate from an approved training program
- Gain 3000 hours of coursework or experience on the job.
On average, an HVAC mechanic from Alabama earns $43,709 per year, which is lower than the national average salary for this occupation, $46,648 annually.
The highest salaries reach $49,528 per year in Alabama and $52,858 per year at the national level.Annual Salary Range:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
The license is issued by the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors.
You need to be licensed for work performed on cooling/heating systems that are not:
- window units
- inside vehicles
- farm implements
Licensed HVAC technicians can work on:
- central heat
- heat pumps
- forced air systems
- gas piping
- air conditioners
- walk-in and reach-in coolers
- commercial refrigerators
The training for these professionals includes:
- reading blueprints and technical plans
- repairing/replacing electrical equipment
- pipe fitting
- discovering gas leaks
- adding freon to air conditioning machines
- finding leaks using nitrogen
- safety while handling refrigerants
HVAC Schools in Alabama
Find below the list of schools where HVAC training is possible.
|Alabama Power Company||2235 County Road 93 Verbena, Alabama 36091|
|Bevill State Community College||1411 Indiana Avenue Jasper, Alabama 35501|
|Bishop State Community College||351 North Broad Street Mobile, Alabama 36603|
|Central Alabama Community College||1675 Cherokee Rd Alexander City, Alabama 35010|
|Fortis College||200 East Laurel Avenue Foley, Alabama 36535|
|Gadsden State Community College||1001 George Wallace Dr Gadsden, Alabama 35903|
|George C Wallace State Community College-Dothan||1141 Wallace Drive Dothan, Alabama 36303|
|George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville||801 Main St NW Hanceville, Alabama 35077|
|H Councill Trenholm State Technical College||1225 Air Base Blvd Montgomery, Alabama 36108|
|J F Drake State Technical College||3421 Meridian St N Huntsville, Alabama 35811|
|Jefferson Davis Community College||220 Alco Dr Brewton, Alabama 36426|
|John C Calhoun State Community College||6250 U S Highway 31 N Tanner, Alabama 35671|
|Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus||3060 Wilson Rd SW Birmingham, Alabama 35221|
|Lurleen B Wallace Community College||1000 Dannelly Blvd. Andalusia, Alabama 36420|
|Northwest-Shoals Community College||800 George Wallace Blvd Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35661|
|Shelton State Community College||9500 Old Greensboro Rd Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35405|
|Southern Union State Community College||750 Roberts St Wadley, Alabama 36276|
Getting Licensed as an HVAC Technician
To get licensed in Alabama as a heating and air technician, you must pass an exam.
Only those who finished an apprenticeship program or graduated from an approved school can take the exam.
You’ll also have to submit proof for your work experience, and usually, you can only submit:
- Your W-2 tax form
- An affidavit letter from your former employer
The Board must approve this application before you take the exam.
If you pass the exam, you have to provide a performance bond of $15,000 which means you’re an active contractor.
Inactive techs cannot perform HVAC installations and repairs.
If you hold an HVAC technician license in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi, you can use the reciprocity agreement to get a license in Alabama.
In order to get your license this way, you have to submit a notarized application and the processing fee of $165 if you’re active.
The fee is just $82.50 if you’re not an active contractor.
Don’t forget about the Performance Bond which is $15,000 and that must be paid in the name of the contractor’s business.
In your application you must also mention the following situations if they apply:
- If your license ever got suspended
- If you had any formal reprimands
- Any administrative penalties regarding your practice in the field, in any locale
If you pass the exam and you become a contractor, you must continue your education every year, lasting for 4 hours.
You’ll also need the EPA certification to be able to buy refrigerants.
Additionally, all HVAC techs must know the laws that govern these substances, at a federal level.
You’ll need to pass 2 exams:
- For the EPA certification
- For the HVAC license
EPA Certification Exam
As an HVAC technician, you’ll need the Section 608 EPA certification, or you won’t be able to purchase refrigerants in the USA.
There are more types of certifications:
- Type I – for small appliances
- Type II – high-pressure appliances
- Type III – disposing or servicing small-pressure appliances
- Universal certification – covers all appliances
You can find study materials at Mainstream Engineering, and you should know these exams are proctored.
The test has 60 questions and to pass, you have to have at least 40 correct answers.
This exam lasts for 2 hours and 30 minutes, and covers:
- testing, inspecting and troubleshooting refrigeration appliances.
- refrigerant piping,
- refrigeration systems and controls,
- general knowledge of the subject.
HVAC Technician License Exam
This exam costs $125, lasts for 4 hours and you have to answer 80 questions, that cover:
- load calculations
- ventilation and exhaust
- air conditioning
- heat pump systems,
You register for the exam at the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors and that’s also when and where you pay the exam fee.
Only those score over 66.25% (or at least 53 questions)pass this exam, overseen by the PSI Exam Services.
You can attend the exam in one of the following cities: Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery.
Everyone taking the exam need to have on them at least 2 identification forms that have:
- Their legal name printed on them
- Their signature
- At least one with their photo
The candidates will be checked prior to the exam, they’ll have to sign and this means arriving at least half an hour before the exam starts.
Candidates can bring with them reference materials must meet these requirements:
- Spiral-bound or hole-punched and placed in a binder.
- Obtained from the PSI Online Store or from the internet, through download and print.
- Highlighted, indexed, and with written notes from before the exam.
- With no pages that can be detached without tearing them. This includes post-its.
Writing on the reference materials means handing them over, as no paper that was written on can leave the exam room.
Additionally, you can bring a calculator which is:
- Is silent
- Has no letter keys, such as a QWERTY keyboard
- Can’t be programmed
No other gadgets are allowed in the examination room, including phones of any kind, pagers, smartwatches, music players, or cameras.
Candidates also can’t wear large clothing that can be used to conceal notes, including hats and scarves, unless they’re worn for religious reasons.
Additionally, all personal items including purses, food, and drinks, will be left at the secured storage before the exams.
All lucky charms are also prohibited from the exam room, and various accessories such as eyeglasses and tie tacks will be checked for recording devices.
You’ll also be asked to empty your pockets before the exam and friends or family are not allowed to wait outside on the premises of the facility where the exam takes place.
HVAC technicians with a license are actually journeymen and they are allowed to train others.
In Alabama, an apprentice must accumulate 3,000 hours of working experience before getting their license, and this is an alternative method of getting into the trade.
The most common way is to finish a 2-year education at a community college.
The license for an HVAC technician in Alabama is maintained through continued education.
Read the full guide: How to Become an HVAC Technician