California HVAC License Requirements

An HVAC specialist installs and repairs heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Like many states, California requires a specific license at the state level for this kind of contracting work. A person who meets the license requirements can get his own license and negotiate HVAC contracts. A company could also hire a specialist who meets the license qualifications and negotiate and perform contract HVAC work as a business entity. The qualifications for a license generally include work experience, testing, moral fitness, and financial fitness. Those who qualify can get a California HVAC license from the California Contractors State License Board.

Interestingly, there is absolutely no educational requirement to get an HVAC license in California. However, this does not mean that you should avoid taking HVAC classes at a technical school or getting an education in construction or engineering. Any amount of education could conceivably help you get a job, which is definitely necessary to get a license. It may also help you pass the contractor exams.

Before applying for an HVAC license, each applicant needs to rack up at least 4 years of non-trainee experience in HVAC contracting work. Only time as a foreman, supervisor, contractor, or journeyman counts toward this experience requirement. In other words, you need to get hired by HVAC companies to do work on construction projects before you can get your own license and to choose the best HVAC company for that you can take help from these consumer trusted reviews.

There are two tests for HVAC license applicants: the California HVAC trade exam and the California Law and Business exam for contractors. You will need to pass both of these to get a license.


Read about the financial requirements below. Even if you are a professional-level HVAC specialist, you need some money and other things before getting licensed. You will also receive instructions for submitting fingerprints for a criminal background check.

Before applying, it is a good idea to start studying for your exams in advance. In the Resources section below, you will see two separate study guides – one for the Law and Business exam and the other for the California HVAC exam. Each guide is not so much a guide as it is a list of study references and exam content outlines. Purchase the references to actually study. As you prepare, use the content outlines to check off the areas you feel confident you can pass.

Once you are ready for the exams, then apply for your California HVAC contractor license using the application in the Resources below. There is an initial fee of $250 for just the application and a second $150 fee for the actual license (if you qualify). Make a certified check or money order out to the “Registrar of Contractors.”

Assuming that you otherwise qualify, you still need minimum financial fitness. The requirements for this include $2500 in working capital, a couple of contractor surety bonds (the total is $20,000 for the bonds), and workers comp insurance if you are required under California state law to get such insurance for your employees. It is possible that you could be turned down by insurance companies for surety bonds. In that case, you can submit cash in lieu of bonds.