The state of Washington as a whole maintains a generally favorable climate throughout most of the year, having mild winters and fairly warm summers which range on average from the mid-40s to high 70s. However, temperatures during the winter may drop down to as low as the 20s during the night in some portions of the state. The eastern portion of Washington tends to have the widest range of temperature throughout the year with summers reaching into the mid-90s and winters dropping to right above 0° F. With the possibility of these temperature extremes, professionals with a Washington HVAC license are in high demand within the state.
Washington HVAC License Requirements
There are two types of electrical licenses offered by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. The first type of electrical license is the trainee level and the second type is the journey level.
Washington HVAC License Trainee Level
HVAC professionals that want to perform work at the trainee level must work under the supervision of either a journey or master level electrician. The trainee license is valid for two years and HVAC professionals are required to obtain at least 24 hours of learning per year in order to renew their license. Those looking to apply must be at least 16 years of age and must attend some form of an apprenticeship program.
Washington HVAC License Journey and Master Level
HVAC professionals that want to work at the journey level must obtain either a Specialty Electrician HVAC/R 06A or 06B license in order to perform work in Washington. The 06A license required HVAC professionals to have worked a minimum of 4000 hours at the trainee level in addition to obtaining at least 48 hours of education. The 06B license requires HVAC professionals to have worked a minimum of 2000 hours in addition to obtaining at least 24 hours of education.
HVAC professionals also have the option to become a master electrician. Working as a master electrician requires HVAC professionals to be licensed at either the journey or specialty level in addition to passing a required exam.
City Specific HVAC License Requirements
Various cities within Washington have their own specific requirements for working as an HVAC professional. Cities which fall under this category include Tacoma, Spokane, Yakima, Kennewick, Pullman, and Seattle. Seattle, for example, requires HVAC professionals to obtain a specialty license issued by the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections. Types of specialty licenses provided by Seattle include the journey refrigeration mechanic license, refrigeration operating engineer license, refrigeration and air conditioning contractor’s license, and the steam engineer and boiler fireman license. These specialty licenses require completion of an apprenticeship program or proof of training at a recognized HVAC school. In addition, HVAC professionals must also pass Seattle’s city-administered exam.
Washington HVAC Education
Washington offers numerous programs in HVAC education ranging from certificate programs to bachelor and master level degrees. The length of time for these programs generally ranges from 2 semesters to four years depending on what type of education the HVAC professional obtains. Out of these programs, Bates Technical College is PAHRA accredited and Walla Walla Community College has HVAC Excellence accreditation. Northwest HVAC/R Association Training Center is also highly recommended due to their programs coming with a job placement guarantee. HVAC professionals looking to complete their education within a shorter time frame may attend schools such as Ashworth College which offers a 4 month long HVAC program.
Washington HVAC Exam Overview
HVAC professionals that plan to work at the Journeyman or Master Electrician level must take an exam before obtaining licensure. The Journeyman Electrician Exam lasts for 4 hours and has 77 questions. A score of 70% is required to pass the exam. The Master Electrician Exam is 7 hours long and has 110 questions. A score of 70% is required to pass this exam.
Washington EPA Section 608 Certification
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all HVAC technicians that work with refrigerants to be certified. In order to obtain EPA certification, HVAC technicians in Washington must take an exam which has 80 multiple choice questions that must be completed within 3 hours. A score of 70% is required to pass the exam and the exam fee is $120.
The three different EPA certification types that HVAC technicians can acquire are Type I, II and III. Type I limits HVAC technicians to working on appliances which contain no more than five pounds of refrigerant. Type II permits HVAC technicians to perform work on high pressure appliances. Type III limits HVAC technicians to working on low-pressure appliances. This certification is transferable among all states and does not expire.
Washington HVAC Salary
Professionals with a Washington HVAC license earn on average $26 per hour with some earning up to over $42 per hour. The average annual salary for HVAC professionals in the state is over $54,000 per year with the top performers earning over $88,000 per year. HVAC professionals in Washington must obtain an electrical license in order to legally perform work within the state.