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The Oklahoma Construction Industries Board recognizes three levels of HVAC technicians and installers:

  • Mechanical Apprentices

    This is an Feature List Item that is part of an Feature List. Notice the connector between the three graphics to show that they are related.

  • Mechanical Journeymen

    This is an Feature List Item that is part of an Feature List. Notice the connector between the three graphics to show that they are related.

  • Mechanical Contractors

    This is an Feature List Item that is part of an Feature List. Notice the connector between the three graphics to show that they are related.

In Oklahoma, the top 10% of HVAC technicians in the state make $62,240 (or $29.92 an hour), and the median annual salary for HVAC technicians in Oklahoma is $42,300 (or $20.34 an hour).US Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2015
Transitioning from one level to the next requires 3 years of experience. In other words, you must have at least 3 years of experience as an apprentice to transition to journeyman status and then 3 years of experience as a journeyman to transition to contractor status.

Completing a formal HVAC program can be used to reduce the experience requirements for licensure from 3 years down to as little as just one year:

  • HVAC associate’s degree or vocational diploma of 1,000 or more hours + 1 year of experience
  • HVAC Vocational diploma of 500 or more hours + 2 years of experience
  • HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 375 hours + 2 ¼ years of experience
  • HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 334 hours + 2 1/3 years of experience
  • HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 250 hours + 2 ½ years of experience
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Mechanical Apprentice Training and Experience Requirements

Oklahoma registers HVAC technicians new to the profession as mechanical apprentices. To become a mechanical apprentice, you must register with the Board by completing the Mechanical Apprentice Registration form and paying the initial registration fee of $25. Your mechanical apprentice registration is good for one year, which means you may need to reapply if additional years of apprentice experience are required to reach journeyman status (this would only be the case if you completed a trade school program of less than 1,000 hours).

Air conditioning technician with supervisor

While you are completing your experience requirements for achieving journeyman status, you will work under an active, licensed mechanical contractor who will provide on-the-job supervision. The contractor under whom you will receive your training must sign the Apprentice Registration form.

The Board requires at least 3 years of experience as a mechanical apprentice before you can qualify to take the journeyman examination. However, as described above, the Board will accept the completion of a formal HVAC program for some of the experience requirements:

  • If you complete an HVAC associate’s degree or vocational diploma consisting of 1,000 or more hours, you will need to complete 1 year of experience as a mechanical apprentice.
  • If you complete a vocational diploma consisting of 500 or more hours, you will need to complete 2 years of experience as a mechanical apprentice.
  • If you complete an HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 375 hours, you will need to complete 2 ¼ years as a mechanical apprentice.
  • If you complete an HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 334 hours, you will need to complete 2 1/3 years as a mechanical apprentice.
  • If you complete an HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 250 hours, you will need to complete 2 ½ years as a mechanical apprentice.

You may also meet experiential requirements if you can show proof of having completed equivalent experience in HVAC while serving in the U.S. military or if you achieved special certification required for the HVAC category for which you are applying (e.g., ground source piping and medical gas).

In addition to putting you on the fast track to an Oklahoma mechanical journeyman license, completing an HVAC program leading to a certificate/diploma or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree will provide you with specialized training in today’s basic and advanced HVAC systems.

During the course of an HVAC program, you will learn how to install, troubleshoot, adjust and repair heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems.

Many of today’s HVAC programs also provide some business and communications fundamentals, and many provide students with job placement assistance upon graduation. Many also provide online study opportunities, which allow students to complete some or all of their coursework requirements through interactive, web-based study.

Mechanical Journeyman Licensing Options

Once you have satisfied mechanical apprentice requirements, you can apply to test for the mechanical journeyman license by completing the Mechanical Journeyman License Application. You will apply for a mechanical journeyman license in one of the following HVAC categories that reflect your apprentice training:

Other mechanical journeyman license categories that require specialty certification but no state journeyman license exam include:

Once your application is approved, you will receive information from PSI Exams, who will contact you to set up the date, time, and location of your mechanical journeyman examination.

Mechanical Contractor Requirements

You will spend your time as a mechanical journeyman working under a mechanical contractor and gaining experience.

If you want to become a permanent employee, owner, partner, or office in a mechanical firm, you must apply for the mechanical contractor license.

Experience requirements to transition from a journeyman to a contractor are the same as those required to transition from an apprentice to a journeyman:

This means that the Board requires at least 3 years of experience as a mechanical journeyman before you can qualify to take the contractor examination. However, the Board will accept the completion of a formal HVAC program for some of the experience requirements:

  • If you complete an HVAC associate’s degree or vocational diploma consisting of 1,000 or more hours, you will need to complete 1 year of experience as a mechanical journeyman.
  • If you complete a vocational diploma consisting of 500 or more hours, you will need to complete 2 years of experience as a mechanical journeyman.
  • If you complete an HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 375 hours, you will need to complete 2 ¼ years as a mechanical journeyman.
  • If you complete an HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 334 hours, you will need to complete 2 1/3 years as a mechanical journeyman.
  • If you complete an HVAC vocational diploma program of at least 250 hours, you will need to complete 2 ½ years as a mechanical journeyman.

Once you have satisfied mechanical journeyman requirements, you can apply to become a mechanical contractor by completing the Mechanical Contractor License Application. You will apply for a mechanical contractor license in one of the following HVAC categories that aligns with your experience as a journeyman:

Once your application is approved, you will receive information from PSI Exams, who will contact you to set up the date, time, and location of your mechanical contractor examination and Mechanical Business and Law exam.

After you have passed the contractor exam and the Mechanical Business and Law Exam, you must provide proof of the proper bond and insurance before your license becomes active:

You may also apply for a waiver of bond and insurance, if applicable, by completing the Mechanical Affidavit.

Maintaining Your Journeyman/Contractor License in Oklahoma

Complete a License Renewal Application and keep up with your continuing education requirements. Both journeymen and contractors are required to complete at least 6 hours of continuing education units every 36 months. You can view course offerings here.

Contractor license renewal also requires proof of current bond and insurance.

New Home Construction Up, Skilled Labor Down in Oklahoma

A report by the Associated General Contractors of America revealed that construction employment increased in 39 states between June 2015 and June 2016. Oklahoma ranked fourth in the nation during this time, reporting an increase of 8.9 percent, or 6,900 new construction jobs. Both Oklahoma and Iowa set records for construction employment during this period.

But like many other parts of the country, contractors in Oklahoma are struggling to keep up with construction demand due to the lack of skilled laborers. A forecasting survey by the Associated General Contractors of America revealed that among 20 firms surveyed in Oklahoma, half had difficulty finding skilled workers.

The challenges of Oklahoma’s contractors spell opportunity for the state’s construction labor force, including HVAC technicians and installers. Armed with a formal education and hands-on training, new graduates of HVAC programs are valuable commodities in Oklahoma, poised to enter the workforce with the latest knowledge and skills in today’s advanced HVAC and refrigeration systems.

HVAC Technician Salaries in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the top 10% of HVAC technicians in the state make $62,240 (or $29.92 an hour), and the median annual salary for HVAC technicians in Oklahoma is $42,300 (or $20.34 an hour) (US Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2015).

HVAC Technician Salaries in Oklahoma’s Largest Cities

We’ve compiled data from the US Department of Labor showing the median to top 10% of earnings for HVAC technicians in both annual and hourly figures. We’ve included data from six of Oklahoma’s largest cities.

  • Oklahoma City

    • Annual: $44,790 – $65,3330
    • Hourly: $21.53 – $31.41
  • Tulsa

    • Annual: $44,230 – $62,460
    • Hourly: $21.27 – $30.03
  • Lawton

    • Annual: $40,390 – $46,690
    • Hourly: $19.42 – $23.89
  • Broken Arrow

    • Annual: $38,830 – $93,380
    • Hourly: $18.67 – $44.89
  • Alva

    • Annual: $37,670 – $51,110
    • Hourly: $18.11 – $24.57
  • McAlester

    • Annual: $36,360 – $56,380
    • Hourly: $17.48 – $27.11

The Job Market for HVAC Technicians in Oklahoma

The HVAC job market in Oklahoma has been projected to increase by 15.8% over the twelve years spanning 2012-2024. This increase will open up a total of 660 jobs, or 130 jobs a year. (Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Industry Employment Projections).

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission also noted that Specialty Trade Contractors such as HVAC technicians experienced a 19.61% job market increase from 2006-2016, opening up over 8,500 jobs in the field.

Although there are opportunities for HVAC technicians throughout the entire state, Oklahoma City in particular has experienced a boom of growth in the industry. Since 2013, Oklahoma City’s construction industry has been steadily growing, opening up jobs around the city. By 2016, the industry had reached a peak, with a growth of 5.9% just over the year (Greater Oklahoma City Economic Forecast, 2015).