Refrigeration Licensing

What Is It?

A journey refrigeration mechanic license allows you to install, repair, or alter refrigeration or air conditioner equipment. Your license must be matched to the type of refrigerant you work with:

  • Class A: You are limited to working with equipment that uses freon-type refrigerant, including methyl chloride or sulfur dioxide.
  • Class B: You are limited to working with equipment that uses ammonia, which may include carbon dioxide.
  • Class C: You can work with all types of equipment and refrigerants listed above

A refrigeration operating engineer license limits you to working on systems in specific buildings that are owned or operated by your employer. You need a refrigeration operating engineer license if:

  • You are a full-time employee in a building that manufactures, processes, or stores materials or products in cold storage
  • You spend a significant portion of your time maintaining and operating a refrigeration or air conditioning unit

A refrigeration and air conditioning contractor's license allows your business to install, repair, or alter refrigeration or air conditioning equipment. This includes planning, engineering, and supervising that work. You are required to have an employee with a journeyman refrigeration mechanic license designated to do the work.

For all types of refrigeration licenses:

  • You must renew your license each year. You can renew and pay for trade licenses online.
  • You have up to one year after your license expires to renew your license. After one year you will need to retake the exam to reinstate your license.
  • You must obtain your license within 90 days of passing the test. If you don’t pay within 90 days, you will have to be retested and you will have to pay the testing fee again.
  • Refrigeration journeyman, refrigeration operator, and refrigeration contractors licenses are due for renewal June 30 of every year.
  • If a refrigeration journeyman is attached to a contractors’ license and not renewed in time, then both licenses will expire.

How Much Does It Cost?

For exam and license fees, see our fee subtitle.

The Exam

Our online exam helps make sure you know how to safely install, repair, or alter refrigeration and air conditioning systems. You must get a passing grade of at least 70 percent.

To be eligible to take the journey refrigeration mechanic license exam, you must show proof of one of the following:

  • Three years of experience conducting refrigeration repair and installation, as an apprentice to or as a journeyman refrigeration and/or air conditioning mechanic
  • Two years of training in a recognized school of technology, plus one year of experience in the refrigeration trade
  • Two years full-time experience in the refrigeration trade and graduation from a recognized trade school of refrigeration technology

For proof, you may use the affidavit form or other documentation showing dates of employment and the types of work performed. These documents can be signed by a person familiar with your experience and be active in the refrigeration industry.

To study for the exam, reference the most current version of these books:

  • Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Hardcover
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology, Hardcover, Unabridged

If you need help in your native language to complete the exam, you can bring an interpreter or translation device with you.

Steps to Get Your License

  1. Read the law and learn the requirements for prequalification. You can buy the International Mechanical Code and Seattle Amendments at our Public Resource Center.
  2. Review the trade license requirements in the code.
  3. Submit an application and an affidavit, if required, through the Seattle Services Portal.
  4. Once your application is approved, SDCI will send you an email with a link and instructions for how to take an online exam. Complete the exam.
  5. Pay for your license.

Training & Classes

You can get training to prepare you for your exam through the following approved location.

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
Contact Us

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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.