How To Get Your California HVAC License – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: October 20, 2021
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California is a great state for HVAC technicians due to its high ranking in terms of job availability, salary, and travel opportunities. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California offers the second-highest mean salary, after New York state, for HVAC professionals. 

Here we will provide you with all the information regarding HVAC programs, including details on how you can earn your license, application fees, and average salary data. 

If you want to work in the HVAC industry in California, be sure to read the whole article as it will provide you with everything you should know to pursue a successful career.      

How to Become an HVAC Technician in California

If you want to avail HVAC opportunities in California, then you will need a contractor’s license. HVAC licenses are issued by the Contractors State License Board, which regulates this industry.   

HVAC trades are known as C20 - Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Contractor. In order to get your HVAC license, you must have at least four years of experience as a journeyman or attend an HVAC educational program together with on-the-job training. 

HVAC technicians also pursue two other certifications:

  • EPA License

  • NATE Certification 

EPA License

All HVAC contractors and technicians need licenses from the Environmental Protection Agency. These licenses are proof that the person holding this license is properly trained to handle refrigerants. 

According to the mandate outlined in Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, people who service, repair, maintain, or dispose of equipment that might release refrigerants that are harmful to the ozone layer must provide proper certification. To earn an EPA license, technicians have to pass a test approved by EPA. EPA certification is of four types: 

  • Type I - Small appliance servicing

  • Type II - Servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances

  • Type III - Servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances

  • Type IV - Universal license for servicing equipment of all types
  • Sample EPA ID and certification (Source)

    NATE Certification

    North American Technical Excellence certificate ensures better-paying HVAC jobs or earning an increased salary from your current employer. This certification requires HVAC technicians to pass tests regarding certain HVAC equipment operation and other hands-on industry knowledge.

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    What Makes California a Great Place to Start an HVAC Career?

    For a licensed and qualified HVAC technician, California is the perfect place to start due to the following reasons: 

    Job Opportunities

    Job prospects in California are pretty bright. The state is continually developing, which means that there are multiple ongoing mega projects in the energy and infrastructure sector. Moreover, California has suffered from devastating floods, wildfires, and mudslides, thus making rebuilding a priority. This continued growth in the field of construction, both residential and commercial, has resulted in various job opportunities for HVAC technicians.

    Learning Opportunities

    California is home to a large number of well-known and accredited institutions that offer relevant training and learning programs that will help you excel as an HVAC technician. You can learn all the skills related to the HVAC field in these colleges and universities.


    Although California enjoys mild temperatures throughout the winter, it is also one of the hottest places on Earth. Thus, keeping the residents comfortable and cool requires a large number of HVAC technicians. This factor makes California a favorable place for HVAC experts.      

    Attractive Salary

    HVAC technicians in California also enjoy higher salaries as compared to other states. They have an average salary of $55,140, with wages typically starting from $32,900 and going up to $94,380.  

    Job Outlook and HVAC Salary in California

    The hourly wages of HVAC technicians in California range from $14.80 to $42.28, with an average hourly rate of $27.87. These technicians earn a median salary of $57,951, with salaries ranging from $42,658 to $73,305. 

    As the number of buildings and population increases in California, so does the demand for commercial, industrial, and residential climate-control systems. Today’s climate-control systems are pretty complex, which increases the possibility of equipment malfunction, thus creating more and better employment opportunities for HVAC technicians. 

    Besides, repair and maintenance work remains stable, which further ensures better job prospects for HVAC technicians in California.

    The average hourly pay at different levels is as follows:   

    • Entry Level: $15.82 per hour; $32,900 per year

    • Mid-Level: $26.51 per hour; $55,140 annually

    • Master-Level: $45.38 per hour; $94,380 per annum

    Insurance and Tax Information for HVAC Techs in California

    A contractor needs to submit the following documents together with his application: 

    • Proof of workers’ exemption certificate or compensation insurance declaring that no workers are employed

    • Proof of workers’ compensation insurance must be provided by C-39 roofing contractors even if no workers are employed 

    • Similarly, proof of workers’ compensation insurance must also be provided by contractors qualifying through RME

    They must also provide proof of liability insurance. This must have an aggregate limit of one million dollars for licenses with five or fewer people.

    An additional sum of $100,000 must be added for each additional member exceeding five. However, this sum should not be more than five million dollars in total.

    California Cities With Highest Average HVAC Salaries

    Different cities offer different salaries to their technicians. Some cities with the highest average HVAC salaries are listed below so that you can easily compare the various figures:


    HVAC technicians in Irvine are reported to make $38.30 per hour. They can also earn an added overtime of $8,250 per year.


    According to HVAC technicians, Concord city pays $37.34 per hour while the entry-level salary is $34.61 per hour.


    On average, HVAC technicians make about $36.25 per hour in Ontario, which is an attractive amount.


    Jobs in Roseville are accompanied by many perks, as well as a salary of $27.57 per hour for HVAC technicians.

    San Diego

    Although the salary offered in San Diego is relatively low, jobs in this city come with some very good incentives. On average, HVAC technicians earn about $27.16 per hour.   


    California is one of the highest paying states where the eligibility for taking the exams is not very strict. We hope that this article helped you understand the requirements for an HVAC license in California, the processes involved, and how you can pass your exams easily. Good luck!   

    People Also Ask

    People who have earned their license and are now looking to start their own business in California commonly asked the following questions:

    How Much Does It Cost For HVAC School in California?

    California is home to several high-quality HVAC schools that provide some of the best HVAC programs. The average cost of an HVAC school in California ranges from $3,500 to $8,000. 

    What is the Demand For HVAC Technicians in California?

    California is one of the top states with a high demand for HVAC technicians. According to recent data, the state is expected to have 5,600 new job openings for HVAC installers and mechanics by 2026.

    How Long Does It Take To Get an HVAC License In California?

    If you want to get an HVAC license in California, you will need at least four years of experience at the journeyman level or complete an HVAC educational program together with on-the-job training.

    Nearby HVAC Schools

    Here are some HVAC schools in nearby states:


    Hey there, my name is Alex, and I’ve been writing for HVAC Schools Near Me (HSNM) since we launched in 2020. Like many, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S, I was out of work and worried about my career. A family friend introduced me to the owner of HSNM, and I found writing to be a great fit after seven years of being a technician. I hope you find our articles to be informative, valuable, and serve you well.

    Search HVACR Certified Technician Programs

    Get information on HVACR Certified Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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