How to Become an HVAC Technician in North Carolina

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Climate change is an undeniable phenomenon and everyone is aware of just how much the temperatures are rising every year.

North Carolina is no exception to the soaring temperatures either.

That is why HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) professionals have become more important than ever before.

They ensure that you have a comfortable home to stay in all year round.

After you are done reading this guide, you will know the basics of how to get a license to work as an HVAC professional in North Carolina.

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How to Become an HVAC Technician in North Carolina: A Step-by-Step Guide

So, let’s not waste any more time and dig deeper into how you can become an HVAC technician in North Carolina.

We will also list a few top schools for you as well as what kind of salary you can expect when you are in this line of work.

Step 1: Get Your HVAC Education

The first thing that you have to do before you can become an HVAC professional is get the right education.

You need a formal HVAC diploma before you can go on to get a license.

Or, you can attend certificate programs or get a degree of two years.

You can get an Associate of Science degree or you can get a bachelor’s and master’s degree, or mechanical engineering courses, if you want.

There is also the option of becoming an apprentice.

You can get an apprenticeship through a trade organization or local union.

You also have the option of doing an informal apprenticeship.

You can do this through an employer.

That said, the work must be overseen by a licensed contractor.

Step 2: On-the-job Experience

Apart from your educational background, you also need adequate experience before you can take the exam to get an HVAC license.

Before you build your HVAC portfolio, make sure you have the necessary experience:

1. Refrigeration License:

To get a refrigeration license, you must get 4,000 hours of experience in refrigeration.

A huge chunk of this experience can be received from technical or academic training.

For the rest of the experience, you can work under any certified professional engineer or refrigeration contractor.

You will get the refrigeration license from the State Board of Refrigeration Contractors.

2. Heating and Cooling License:

To get this license, you need to have two years of hands-on experience.

That is approximately equal to 4,000 hours.

Once you fulfill the experience requirement, you can get the license from the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Heating, Plumbing, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors.

If you want to sit for the standard HVAC technician exam, then you need 3,000 hours of experience.

Step 3: Take Licensing Exam and Get Licensed

The next step is to sit for the licensing exam and pass with flying colors!

The examinations are administered by PSI testing services.

Both contractors and technicians need to sit for the North Carolina HVAC exams and pass to get licensed.

The examination lasts for around 4 hours, and the extra business and law exam can last 1.5 hours.

If you pass the exam, you need to submit the Licensing Activation form as well as a fee to get the license.

You might also need a refrigeration contractor certification.

Before you sit for this examination, you need to submit an application.

Plus, you need to provide proof that you have experience of 4,000 hours.

The exam is divided into 4 parts, and you have to pass them all in a single year.

You also need to take an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certification exam when you handle refrigerants as a part of your job.

There are 4 types of certifications and to receive them, you need to take an examination from an approved organization.

Once you get your license, make sure to renew them every year.

In case you forget to renew them for three years, you have to take the exams again.

HVAC Schools in North Carolina

Below are some of the top schools you can get your education from to become an HVAC professional.

They are approved by either the HVAC Excellence or the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating Refrigeration and Accreditation (PAHRA).

Guilford Technical Community CollegeGuilford Technical Community College

From Guilford Technical Community College, you can get the following programs:

  • Air Conditioning, heating, and refrigeration diploma
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration technology
  • Air Conditioning, heating, and refrigeration technology certificate.

No matter which course the student takes, they will be prepared for the EPA certification exams as well.

The estimated tuition for in-state students is $76 per credit and for out-of-state students, it is $268 per credit.

Pitt Community CollegePitt Community College

Located in Winterville, Pitt Community College offers an AAS degree and a diploma.

The college is accredited by PAHRA.

The time for completion for an AAS degree is around 24 months whereas for a diploma, it is 13 months.

The estimated tuition for in-state students is $76 per credit and for out-of-state students, it is $268 per credit.

Johnston Community CollegeJohnston Community College

The Johnston Community College is located in Smithfield and offers a variety of HVAC/R programs.

The college is accredited by HVAC Excellence.

Under the programs offered, students will get to learn about refrigeration, electricity, comfort cooling, heat pump technology, and so on.

The estimated tuition for resident students is $76 per credit and for non-resident students, it is $268 per credit.

Here are some other colleges accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC):

Alamance Community CollegeAlamance Community College

Central Piedmont Community CollegeCentral Piedmont Community College

Wake Tech Community CollegeWake Tech Community College

School Name Address
Guilford Technical Community College 601 E Main St, Jamestown, NC 27282, United States
Pitt Community College 1986 Pitt Tech Rd, Winterville, NC 28590, United States
Johnston Community College 245 College Rd, Smithfield, NC 27577, United States
Alamance Community College 1247 Jimmie Kerr Rd, Graham, NC 27253, United States
Central Piedmont Community College 1201 Elizabeth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204, United States
Wake Tech Community College 9101 Fayetteville Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603, United States

HVAC Technician Salary in North Carolina

The average annual salary of an HVAC professional depends on a lot of factors including location and experience.

However, in North Carolina, the mean salary of HVAC professionals is $47,570, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Charlotte $47,897
Raleigh $47,790
Greensboro $46,858
Durham $47,505
Winston-Salem $47,330
Fayetteville $44,990
Cary $47,790
Wilmington $45,162
High Point $47,138
Greenville $47,447

Regional Salary in North Carolina

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Asheville, NC560$49,530$23.81$61,810$37,140
Burlington, NC200$49,290$23.7$74,600$35,100
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC3,860$52,220$25.11$74,860$35,640
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC740$50,740$24.39$63,150$35,980
Fayetteville, NC440$45,350$21.8$59,490$30,090
Goldsboro, NC140$42,570$20.47$56,720$28,200
Greensboro-High Point, NC1,350$50,210$24.14$72,980$34,460
Greenville, NC250$47,280$22.73$62,750$32,660
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC290$45,870$22.05$59,630$30,150
Jacksonville, NC210$47,880$23.02$70,160$28,430
New Bern, NC140$45,310$21.78$65,190$30,350
Raleigh, NC2,520$51,420$24.72$67,030$36,230
Rocky Mount, NC110$47,510$22.84$63,620$31,100
Wilmington, NC480$45,770$22$61,850$30,000
Winston-Salem, NC750$46,620$22.41$62,050$31,930
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers, OCC Code 49-9021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a License Necessary To Become an HVAC Technician in North Carolina?

Yes, to legally work as an HVAC technician, you need a license in North Carolina.

The licenses are issued by the State Board of Refrigeration Contractors and the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors.

Will My License Work In Some Other State?

No, when you have a license for North Carolina, you cannot use it for some other state.

That is because NC does not have any reciprocity agreements with other states.

How Often Do I Have To Renew My License in North Carolina?

Once you get your license, you have to renew it every year.

In case you forget to renew them for three years, you have to take the exams again.

HVAC Technician Info by State

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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