Aspiring HVAC students must make sure they’re fulfilling every requirement for a proper Texas HVAC license. As a future HVAC technician, you can choose between two licenses: the Texas Air Conditioning License Class A or Class B, each with their own functions and permits. Depending on your preferences and expertise, one of these licenses will likely be the better choice for you.
In Texas, the primary difference between the two licenses is their scope of permitted work. A Class A license places no restrictions on the machines you can service, while a Class B license restricts your activities to cooling and heating systems that meet certain size or energy requirements. The tests for each license require different preparations and knowledge in order to pass.
TACLA vs. TACLB: Definitions
A Class A HVAC license in Texas allows you to work on a heating or cooling unit of any size or energy output. Meanwhile, a Class B license restricts your work to cooling systems up to 25 tons and heating systems with up to 1.5 million BTUs/hour. It’s important to note that a Class B license doesn’t restrict where you can offer services, just the type of machine. Plenty of HVAC technicians with Class B licenses still enjoy productive careers.
Requirements for Both Licenses
Regardless of which license you choose to pursue, both will require certain guidelines to be met:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must register as an ACR technician. No testing is required at this point in the process.
- You must be able to provide proof of 3-4 years of professional experience shadowing an expert.
- You must apply to take the ACR certification exam.
- You must decide whether you would rather pursue a Class A or B license.
- You must take and pass the ACR exam, then use this skill to find a job in the HVAC field.
Pro Tip: If you don’t pass the initial HVAC licensing test, you have a year to continue trying. However, you’ll need to pay the exam fee of $115 every time you try again.
Preparing for the Test
If you’re pursuing a Class A license, you can expect a test with 120 questions and a time limit of 240 minutes (4 hours). For a Class B license, the test will consist of 100 questions and have a time limit of 180 minutes (3 hours). Both require a score of at least 70% to pass. While both license exams will have specialized questions for their specific applications, you can expect the same general topics on both, including but not limited to:
- Boiler systems
- Business and law
- HVAC systems
- Heating and cooling
- Equipment requirements
- Refrigeration systems and principles
- Pressure relief
Starting Your New Career
An HVAC career in Texas certainly has a positive outlook and high job security. Before you dive into your new career path, make sure you meet all the legal requirements and possess all the knowledge necessary for this job. With the proper contractor licenses, you’ll be ready to start working!