The HVAC industry is gaining more importance with each passing day. The severe climatic change all over the world has forced people to rely on it, and it has not failed to deliver. The heating and cooling systems manufactured these days are more efficient and advanced than they ever were. But it also means that they have gotten more complicated as well.
Arkansas, being the Natural State, has a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot and humid, and winters are mild to cool. The residents here use HVAC systems regularly. That’s why the demand for HVAC techs is high.
HVAC is quickly becoming a popular career choice across Arkansas. If you are also looking to begin your career in this field, your Arkansas HVAC license is the first thing you should have. Here’s everything you need to know about it!
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Arkansas
The Arkansas State Government itself licenses heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC or HVAC-R) professionals through the Arkansas HVAC-R Licensing Board. It is not mandatory for new HVAC technicians as their job is to design, install, construct, maintain, service, repair, alter, or modify an entire HVAC equipment or some of its components. But if they want to further advance in their career, they have to earn and maintain active licensure.
The Arkansas HVAC-R Licensing Board is affiliated with the Arkansas State Department of Health. As mentioned earlier, you don’t need a license to work as an HVAC technician. You only have to be 18 years of age with sufficient training to work as one. But if you want to become a contractor, you have to have a license. Here is how you can earn yours:
The first thing that matters is your age. The Department of Health requires you to be at least 18 years of age to register with it.
You should register yourself with the department before beginning to work as an HVAC worker. This is important because they require you to have working experience before you can apply for licensure. You can register yourself for $25 per year.
All license applicants must have at least two years of working experience. This can be earned via on-the-job training under a licensed contractor. And if you have earned an HVAC-R certificate via an educational program, it should include at least six months of on-the-job training.
Once you have the required experience, you can apply for one of the six HVAC licenses they offer. They are:
Class A – an unrestricted license that allows you to work on HVAC systems without capacity limits.
Class B – Class B license holders can install, repair, or maintain heating systems with one million BTU heating input, cooling systems with 15 tons of cooling capacity, and refrigeration systems of 15 horsepower or less.
Class C – this license allows workers to service, repair, and replace HVAC-R components that perform with one million BTU heating input, 15 tons of cooling capacity, and 15 horsepower or less refrigeration power. They cannot install or replace systems.
Class D – this license only allows its holder to conduct sheet metal work for the duct systems of different HVAC-R equipment. They cannot install, replace, service, repair, and maintain the systems.
Class E – an unrestricted refrigeration license. Holders are not allowed to do anything with heating and cooling units.
Class L – Lifetime license. It is open only to individuals 65 years of age or older. It allows them to perform service and maintenance work on units with less than or equal to one million BTU heating, 15 tons of cooling, and 15 horsepower of refrigeration power. They cannot install or repair such units.
The department will then evaluate your educational transcript to approve or reject the application.
Once your application is approved, you are required to pass an examination for the applied license class. Authorized ICC centers conduct these tests. They are open-book multiple-choice questions. You can give it as a computer-based or traditional test. The traditional pencil paper test costs $56, while a computer-based one costs $80.
The fee for each license category is different. For Class A, it is $200 per year. For Classes B, D, and E, contractors pay $150 for their license. Class C license is granted for $100. Class L License holders are not charged initially, but like all other license holders, they have to pay $25 each year as license renewal charges.
What Makes Arkansas a Great Place to Start an HVAC Career?
Arkansas is nicknamed the Land of Opportunity. It has a booming economy with several industries growing rapidly. HVAC is one of the fastest-growing industries in Arkansas. Today, it is one of the best fields to create a successful career for yourself. Here’s why:
Being an HVAC technician is a highly regulated job in most of the other states. In Arkansas, it is not the case. There are no mandatory license requirements for working as an HVAC technician. You have to be 18 years old and have the necessary skills to start working as one. However, to become a contractor, you have to earn one of the six licenses that the Arkansas State Department of Health offers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that HVAC technicians nationwide earn a mean average salary of $57,600 per year. In Arkansas, it is $53,200. While it may seem low in comparison, you should note that it is still relatively higher than other occupations.
Lower Cost of Living
Arkansas stands in the fifth position of the most affordable states. The cost of living here is not very high. Working as an HVAC technician here allows you to save some money in transportation and healthcare as well.
The demand for HVAC technicians in Arkansas is constantly on the rise. This is because climate control is a big issue here. Most of the HVAC systems installed around Arkansas face inadequate airflow and need regular maintenance and repair. It is predicted that the jobs will grow over 18 percent in the next ten years.
Arkansas HVACR Association
The Arkansas HVACR Association is an organization for HVAC professionals. It works tirelessly to support HVAC workers throughout the state. They provide training opportunities, benefits like discounted insurance plans, legislative advocacy, and other resources.
Job Outlook and Salary For HVAC Techs in Arkansas
The job outlook for people who want to enter the HVAC field is lucrative. The industry is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an explosion of 18 percent more jobs across the state. This is significantly higher than competitive occupations.
With seasonal temperature extremes, major structures in Arkansas have climate control systems that need regular maintenance throughout their service time and demand replacement once every ten to 15 years. Plus, with more comprehensive warranties and service contracts, HVAC workers in Arkansas are bound to have regular work.
For a position that requires only two years of post-secondary training, HVAC professionals earn decent salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual income in Arkansas is $53,200 per year. Comparing the amount to the lower cost of living in Arkansas, the field is very lucrative. Here is a breakdown of HVAC annual salaries according to experience level:
Entry Level: $47,300
Of course, the pay for entry-level workers is low. Given their experience and skills, you really can’t expect them to earn too much. But compared to other occupations, the entry-level salary is significantly higher.
Insurance and Tax Information For HVAC Techs in Arkansas
Although you don’t need to have a license to practice as an HVAC technician in Arkansas, you have to have a license in either A or B category to start wiring as an HVAC contractor. They can hire technicians to work for them and also offer apprenticeship programs to offer new technicians.
For the license application, you need to submit proof of workers’ and compensation coverage of every employee working for you. Also, you need to submit either a cash or surety bond of at least $10,000.
The sales tax for contractors is fixed at 6.5 percent of the entire revenue they earn by the services they provide. The replacement parts and manufacturing machinery are also taxable.
Arkansas Cities With Highest Average HVAC Salaries
HVAC technicians working in Arkansas earn decent wages. Though their annual average is lower than the national annual average, the lower living cost makes up for that difference. Seeing that you don’t need formal education or a degree to pursue this career, the career prospect is certainly bright and one that does not have a student loan tagging behind.
Here is a city-wise account of average annual HVAC salaries in Arkansas.
Fort Smith: $50,400
Arkansas is the Land of Opportunity. With harsh climatic extremities, no building structure can go without an HVAC installation. That’s why the industry is flourishing. Even in a weak economy, there are ample openings for people who are aspiring to work in this field.
The best part about starting an HVAC career in Arkansas is the lack of formal education. You can join an apprenticeship program, and after only two years of on-the-job training, you can start working. But we strongly suggest that you earn your HVAC license first as it greatly improves your credibility.
People Also Ask
HVAC is a vast field. Students learn about both heating and cooling, and sometimes refrigeration too. Their job is somewhat risky, and the training is expensive, too. That’s why most people are unsure about it. Arkansas has a bright career prospect for HVAC technicians. Here are some things that you might have been wondering about.
How Much Does it Cost For HVAC School in Arkansas?
HVAC is one of the most popular career choices in Arkansas nowadays. Students opting for this career learn everything about gas heating systems, air conditioning and refrigeration components, electric circuits and controls, introduction to general electronics, and air distribution. Of course, the instruction is both verbal and practical. Different schools in Arkansas charge about $2,800 to $12,700 for different HVAC certification and degree programs.
What is the Demand For HVAC Technicians in Arkansas?
The demand for HVAC technicians in Arkansas is constantly on the rise. Because of this, their employment prospect burns brighter than ever and will continue to do so for quite some time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 16 percent increase in the coming years, so newcomers will have ample opportunities.
Nearby HVAC Schools
Here are some HVAC schools in nearby states: