All About getting an HVAC license in North Carolina.

North Carolina has three hvac licensing categories.

H1 – Allows the qualified individual to sell and install hydronic heating systems, ie boilers with steam or hot water convectors. Note: a hydro-heat system that uses a water heater as a hot water source requires an H! license or an H3 license and P1 (plumbing) license

H2 – An H2 license is actually an air conditioning license that allows the holder to install systems larger than 15 tons. If the building requires more than 15 tons, total, than an H2 is required. even if several smaller units are installed. For Example: An H2 license is required to install four five-ton units in a church, because, the church requires a total 20 tons. Furthermore, If one five-ton unit needs replaced, an H2 license is required because you would be working on a building that requires more than 15 tons.

H3- This is the most popular license category. An H3 qualifier may install Heating and Air conditioning systems in any building requiring 15 tons or less.


Class1 – A holder of a Class 1 license may install a system  in any building that falls within the qualifiers’ license.

Class II – A holder of a Class II license may install systems only in single family detached residences

Examples: A holder of an H3 Class 1 license may install units less than 15 tons in a duplex or convience store. While a holder of an H3 Class II must decline to perform the job b because he/she is limited to single family detached residences, only

Summary: If you are applying for an H3 license, it is this authors’ opinion you should apply for the H3,Class I license, as the Class II license will severely limit your opertunities to bid on jobs. The Class I exam is not that much more difficult.

What is required of you to become licensed

First, you must have proof of 4000 hours (2 years) experience, working under the supervision of a licensed hvac contractor. then you must apply to sit for the exam. When the Board approves you application, you will have 30 days to schedule and take the exam with PSI testing agency. Here is a list of books required for the exam

What is on the exam?

Unfortionately, the North Carollna  H3 exam has the reputation as being one of the toughest in the nation. I have developed a practice exam that will give you an idea of what you’ll be in for at the testing center. You will be taking two tests. One will be a business exam (1.5 hours) and the other, a trade exam (4 hours). Both, the business and trade exams are open book, So, bring your books. No writing or homemade tabs allowed on your books, Highlighting is OK. The testing center may issue their own books, to keep you honest. This practice is subject to change, so bring your own books anyway.

Preparing for the Exam

The first thing you must do is forget much of what you learned in the field. You might be the world’s best service technician, but if you cannot perform a load calculation, calculate the adjusted friction rate or size a vent or gas pipe, it will be very difficult to make a passing grade. Very few service type questions will be asked. most candidates would benefit well by attending an exam prep class or taking a self study course


Join our 2-Day H3 Exam Prep Seminar

To be held on March 26 and 27 at Fairfield Inn, Washington NC.

8:30 am to 5:00 pm



Can’t make it to the seminar? check out our self study courses

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