When hiring an HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) specialist to work on your air conditioning unit or your heater, you need to make sure the person you have chosen to do the work is fully educated and HVAC certified. Each state has its own standards and procedures for education and certification. If the specialist doesn’t understand the machinery he is trying to fix, you could ultimately end up replacing a very expensive unit. Your insurance company may even require you to verify the certification of the HVAC specialist for repairs on either your commercial building or your personal residence.

Ask to the see the contractor’s HVAC certificate and write down the certification number listed. Make sure the certificate is for your specific state.

Contact your state’s department of licensing and registration via email or phone. Most states have specific email addresses you can use to contact each licensing branch. All contact information will be listed on the state’s licensing website (see Resources).

Give the department representative the certification number you wrote down and he will verify that the certification number exists and matches the name of your contractor. You can also ask more in-depth questions about the technician's education and training. The education portion typically takes between six months and two years to complete in an accredited training center. After graduation, a two-year apprenticeship is required for full certification.

Ask the representative to search for the contractor’s name if the certification number does not exist. If you decide to hire a technician that is not state certified, you could void your unit's factory warranty. Some manufacturers provide additional training to their technicians specific to that company's products. Manufacturers may also provide yearly continuing education courses to keep their technicians up-to-date on the company's latest products and energy-savings methods.