Being in prison at any point in your life can make it challenging to find a job once you’re released. The good news is that it’s not impossible. Finding a job after leaving prison can reduce your chance of reconviction.
However, primarily due to employer bias, felons’ unemployment rate is 27.3%. Luckily, the HVAC industry is one place where felons can find hope. So if you’re asking, “Can you get an HVAC license with a felony?” read on. We’ll give you all the details.
What Is Required To Get An HVAC License?
An HVAC license proves to potential clients that you, the HVAC technician or contractor, have the competency to work with HVACs. Operating without one can also, in many states, be illegal.
What an HVAC contractor needs to get licensed varies from state to state. In states that don’t require licensing, there are often regulations on the local or municipal level.
Common requirements for an HVAC license include the following:
- A GED, high school degree, or equivalent
- A 6-month to 2-year training program
- 2 to 5 years of an HVAC apprenticeship or internship
- Pass one or more examinations
- Certain certifications
There are often some documents that applicants must present when they apply for a license:
- Their company’s insurance and bonds
- Business Registration information
- Your personal information
- Criminal background check
Many states also require that workers hold separate licenses to work with different appliances or in certain conditions. For example, one license may only cover working with solar-powered air conditioners while another only covers gas and oil-powered ones.
Can A Felon Get An HVAC License?
It is possible for a felon to gather the education and employment HVAC licensing requirements mentioned above. You may experience some issues in getting accepted to the training programs because of the negative bias towards former convicts. A University of Minnesota study found that universities rejected the applications of 33% of applicants with criminal records.
We’ve also already mentioned the employer bias that can prevent you from getting into HVAC apprenticeship programs, internships, or future work. However, these issues don’t make your endeavor impossible.
As you can see above, you often must provide a criminal background check in your license application. If the licensing committee sees your crimes and disapproves of them, they can reject you.
This isn’t a reason for you to give up. The circumstances and types of some crimes are less likely to lead to an HVAC licensing rejection than others.
If your crime took place five or more years ago, a licensing committee is more likely to accept your application. This should be an easy requirement to meet, as you will probably have spent that time in your training and apprenticeship programs.
We’ll discuss more about which types of crime and their circumstances are problematic for licensing committees below.
What Can Prevent A Felon From Getting A License?
Specific crimes can cause a former convict to be denied an HVAC license at a greater rate than others. Many states also have specific laws that allow committees to only reject felon licensing applicants on the grounds of certain crimes.
These are usually crimes that would prevent the contractor or technician from operating in an HVAC business setting safely or effectively.
This may seem unfair. However, think of it from the employer’s perspective. Giving someone an HVAC license after committing a crime can put customers in danger. This could cause reputation issues for the company in the future.
Some examples of crimes of committee concern and the reasoning behind them are given below.
A committee may not trust that a person will follow honest practices in their new business venture if they have committed fraud. This type of crime is especially concerning for a licensing committee if it involved prior business practices.
Theft And Burglary
HVAC services usually take place within a person’s home. Getting a license may be more complicated if you have a theft or burglary charge. This tends to be because it’s “easy” for you to make off with customer property.
Sexual Assault And Other Violent Crimes
For these types of crimes, the licensing committee would feel concerned about the physical safety of the business’s future clients. A sexual predator who is working in the HVAC industry can get easy access to a potential victim and cause them harm. This is not something a licensing committee wants to occur.
You’re not without hope, however, if the legal system has convicted you of one of these crime types. Some committees won’t check criminal backgrounds. You can also go through the process of getting your criminal record expunged. Committees might take certain other circumstances of your crimes into consideration. We’ll discuss these further in the next section.
Factors In Determining Whether A Felon May Be Denied An HVAC License
A licensing committee may also be more or less likely to accept a felon for an HVAC license based on the particular circumstances of their crimes. When a committee looks over your criminal background, they’ll likely examine and consider the following details of your crimes.
Extent Of Your Criminal History
A single crime is easy to excuse as a mistake. Multiple convictions, however, might look more suspicious. A licensing committee may believe that a person with numerous convictions struggles more with self-control or circumstances that lead to criminal activity. Therefore, they’ll think they’re more likely to commit another crime.
Age When The Crime Was Committed
Crimes committed by minors are not treated the same as crimes committed by adults. The reason for this is that a minor is less likely to understand the seriousness of what they’ve done. Thus, it’s likely that a committee will be more lenient of a crime you committed as a child or young teenager.
Amount Of Time Since Last Conviction
An enormous gap of time between the present and the last time you committed a crime makes you look more trustworthy. A licensing committee will more likely believe that you’ve changed and are no longer struggling with the issues that led you to commit crimes.
Proof of Rehabilitation
Similarly, anything that proves you’ve changed will also help build the committee’s trust in you. For example, letters of recommendation from parole officers, prosecutors, or any other relevant person will help your case.
HVAC Companies That Hire Felons
Once you get a license, you may find yourself back at the beginning. Biases against felons can exist within HVAC companies. Thus, it’s hard to find HVAC companies that hire felons. To help make this process easier for you, here are some felony-friendly HVAC companies.
Powell and Sons
Powell and Sons is an HVAC company that serves the Tampa, Florida area and surrounding cities. They don’t offer a lot of information on what they require from those with a criminal background, but you can expect to provide them with your personal information and disclose your background.
United Rentals is a large HVAC company in several cities in California. Each branch serves a large service area, so you have more opportunities. You will need an HVAC license in the state of California, but this company is known to hire felons.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
Can I get HVAC License with a felony in Texas?
Yes. The process is more complicated than someone without a felony, but it’s possible. Typically, you’ll have to wait five years from your conviction date before trying to get an HVAC license in Texas.
Can I get HVAC License with a felony in Ohio?
Unfortunately, you can’t. Criminal convictions almost always disqualify someone from getting an HVAC license in Ohio. Granted, many committees will still review applications, but they often side against our favor depending on the charge or charges against you.
Can I get HVAC License with a felony in Nevada?
You can. The law in Nevada says that licensed contractors must have “good character.” If you can show the board that you possess this, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to obtain your license.
Can a convicted felon get a general contractor’s license in Florida?
Convicted felons can still get a general contractor’s license in Florida. There are specific charges that committees won’t hold against you if you’re applying for a license, but there are some that may make you ineligible or make it more challenging for you. Charges that immediately deny you a general contractor’s license in Florida include:
- Lewd/lascivious acts against a child
- Possession of dangerous drugs
- Possession of a firearm by a felon
Can you get an HVAC job with a felony?
You can! Many companies around the country hire HVAC technicians with felonies. Some companies don’t even background check, but it’s always best to disclose regardless.
Finding a job after a criminal conviction can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. When obtaining an HVAC license as a felon, you will face some obstacles, but most felonies won’t prevent you from following this career path. With hard work and commitment, you will earn your HVAC license.