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What Does It Take to Be HVAC Licensed in Tennessee?


People sometimes ask me: “What does it mean that Russell & Abbott is licensed?” It’s a good question, because we make a point of informing customers that we’re a fully licensed, bonded, and insured HVAC contractor. We want people to know they can trust us because licensing boards affirm that we know our stuff!

There are too many unlicensed workers out there (“Chuck in a Truck” as I like to call them) who offer cut-rate prices and end up delivering cut-rate work. Unlicensed work not only risks a sloppy job, it may even leave you liable for damages done to your home, or injuries to the unlicensed worker during the time he or she is on your property.

I talked about all this in my last post when I was going over the importance calling on true professionals for your air conditioning maintenance. Today, I’m going to offer you the specifics about getting an HVAC license in Tennessee. Every state has different requirements, and I know all the facts about what you need to be considered an HVAC professional in Maryville, TN!

What a contractor must do to receive a license in Tennessee

The specific license we’re talking about is the Tennessee HVAC/Refrigeration Contractor (CMC-C). This license allows our company to install and perform maintenance on heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, gas piping, and geothermal HVAC equipment.

  • Step #1 is to pass the official state exams. This is a rigorous test to show that the applicant knows what they’re doing when it comes to heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. The test has 100 questions and a four-hour time limit and covers topics like electrical knowledge, heating and cooling principles and theory, heating and cooling equipment and components, combustion, flues, ducts, ventilation, load calculation, and safety.  Chris Hurley, our company president, who holds the company’s license, says that the exam is “100 of the toughest questions, ever” because it covers code books for electrical,  gas and mechanical work. An applicant must get at least 73% right to pass. If an applicant fails three times, they must interview with the board before taking the test again.
  • Step #2 is to pass another exam, the Tennessee Business and Law Exam.
  • Step #3 is to submit an official application to the state of Tennessee for board review, plus financial statements from the company that are reviewed and signed by a Certified Public Accountant.
  • Step #4 is for the applicant to supply a letter of recommendation from a past client or an inspector. The board sets a monetary limit (limit per contract) based on the company’s working capital or cash on hand, whichever amount is less.
  • In addition to the above steps, any contractor who has one or more employee is required to carry Worker’s Compensation insurance. Each applicant must provide a certificate of insurance providing an adequate amount of liability insurance.

If the Board approves of the applicant after all this, then the applicant receives a Tennessee HVAC/Refrigeration Contractor License.  Russell & Abbott Heating and Cooling’s Tennessee State CMC-C License number is 67815.

Olive, are you licensed?

Yes, all dogs in Tennessee must have a license! See here on my collar? Oh, you mean an HVAC/R license. Well, I don’t have opposable thumbs, so I can’t actually get a full license. But I have a special “HVAC Expert Dog” certification—and best of all, I’m surrounded by professionals with licenses and I can send them out to help you, no matter what service you need for your HVAC equipment.

Stay cool,


Russell & Abbott provides residential and commercial HVAC services throughout Maryville, Knoxville, Alcoa, Blount County, Knox County and Loudon County.