HVAC Education and Training Requirements in Louisiana
The training requirements for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) in the state of Louisiana are stipulated by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) under the purview of “Mechanical Work.” For an HVAC technician fresh out of college, a license or specific number of years of industry experience isn’t necessary. HVAC contractors, however, may have to obtain a license and fulfill certain requirements prior to submitting a price or bid to set up, repair, or modify an air conditioning, refrigeration or heating system.
For commercial projects that incur a cost of $50,000 or more and residential projects that cost in excess of $75,000, the LSLBC requires contractors to have a current and valid license. Both commercial and residential licenses are valid for one year from the date on which the license was issued. Contractors can choose renewal terms of one, two, or three years to maintain the validity of their licenses.
To obtain a license, a contractor must furnish a current financial statement (current to within twelve months of the date of filing) that is prepared by an independent auditor and signed by the applicant and auditor before a notary public. The financial statement must indicate a net worth of at least $10,000. References from contractors who are currently licensed in the state of Louisiana are also necessary at the time of application. In addition, the contractor must meet certain examination requirements and pay the appropriate application and licensing fees.
The LSLBC administers the examination for licensure of all HVAC contractors. An examination can be scheduled online at any of the authorized testing centers. The Air Conditioning Work, Ventilation, Refrigeration and Duct Work examination is a four-hour closed book exam with 100 equally-weighted multiple-choice questions. The topics that are covered in the examination include: HVAC and Refrigeration Systems; Piping Systems and Hydraulics (Commercial, Residential, and Industrial); Air Distribution Systems and Ventilation; Project Management, Estimating and Plan Reading; Instrumentation (Controls, Balancing). The State Board provides a Study Reference List that includes the weightage for each of the above topics, as well as a list of reference books and manuals to assist the student with exam preparation.
In addition to the HVAC (trade specific) examination, a business and law exam is also necessary to obtain a contractor’s license. The subject areas covered by this exam include: Contractor’s Licensing Law; Project Management; Contract Management, Financial Management; Labor Laws; Tax Laws; Safety; Lien Laws; Business Management; and Risk Management.
For applicants who have a license in good standing from another state that is recognized as a reciprocity state, the trade specific examination can be waived off upon written certification from the state in which the applicant is licensed. The business and law examination, though, cannot be waived.
Licensing and Examination fees
The fee for the issuance of an HVAC contractor’s license is currently $100. The cost of the examination is $120 (non-refundable), and includes administration, research and transaction fees. The fee for the business and law examination is also $120, and a study guide for this exam is available for $60. Out-of-state contractors who are looking to obtain HVAC licensure in the state of Louisiana are required to pay a surcharge of $400.
If a contractor is looking to expand the scope of his license to include working with high and/or low-pressure refrigerants, he or she will have to obtain an EPA Section 608 certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The primary purpose of this certification is to ensure compliance with environmental requirements, as refrigerants contain ozone-depleting compounds that can adversely affect the ozone layer. The EPA certifications involve separate and specific examinations that are conducted at EPA-authorized testing centers.