The United States heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry is estimated to reach $96 billion in 2019. Financial experts forecast that approximately 118,197 companies will operate in this market by 2024. If you're an HVAC contractor or small business, one way to stand out from the competition is to continue your education. Consider applying for the CFC license to increase your chances of success.


In order to obtain a universal CFC card, you must complete training and take an exam at an EPA-approved center.

What Is CFC?

Over the past decades, governments worldwide have implemented laws that address environmental issues. The Clean Air Act, for example, is a set of federal laws aimed to reduce air pollution and regulate the use of chemicals affecting the ozone layer. This legislation authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set air quality standards and implement measures to fight pollution.

Among other regulations, the Clean Air Act requires technicians who use equipment that could release refrigerants into the environment to complete training, pass an exam and become certified. Several types of certifications exist, including one that grants you the right to service all types of equipment using chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC, byproducts. These requirements are listed under Section 608.

CFC Licensing and Certification

HVAC contractors and other industry professionals can apply for the EPA 608 universal certification online. Those who pass the test receive a CFC license that allows them to purchase and handle refrigerants. Without this document, they cannot install, maintain or repair AC systems and other appliances that require these chemicals to work.

Apply for a CFC Certification

There are two ways to get your CFC license. You can either take the exam online or at a CFC testing center. The first option, though, is only available to those who are interested in the Type I CFC certification, which grants them the right to service small appliances. If you're planning to service all types of equipment, you must take the test at an approved center and get a universal CFC card.

The exam will cover a variety of topics related to the use of chlorofluorocarbons, such as their environmental impact, leak detection, recovery techniques and types of refrigerants. You also need to be familiar with the Clean Air Act and its regulations. Be prepared to answer questions about the risks of exposure to CFCs, recycling methods, leak repair requirements, major versus nonmajor repairs and more.

CFC Training and Instruction

A number of public and private organizations provide training, instruction materials and courses that will make it easier to obtain your CFC license. The Northwest College of Construction, Aircon Academy and Prince George's Community College are just a few to mention. In general, an EPA practice test is offered before the final examination. Some training programs are available online, which allows you to study at your own pace.

Obtain a Universal CFC Card

After you complete training, look up CFC training centers in your area. The EPA's official website features a list of colleges, vocational schools and organizations that provide training and testing. AC/C TECH, for example, offers both onsite and offsite training. Students are required to schedule the exam in advance.

The EPA technician certification is recognized in all U.S. states and doesn't need to be renewed. After you obtain it, you're licensed for life. If your CFC card is stolen or lost, you may replace it. Simply contact the institution that issued your card and request a new one.

Tuition and testing fees vary from one school to another. AC/C TECH charges $150 for both, $115 for online training and $35 for testing only. CalCERTS requires aspiring technicians to pay $149 for the EPA 608 universal certification preparation course and $75 for testing. Students can complete training online and get tested remotely over the internet. To take the exam online, you must have a computer with a web camera. If you pass the test, your CFC card will be shipped by mail.