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TDLR Seeks Informal Public Comment On Working Draft Rules For New Path For Air Conditioning and Electrical Licensing

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is seeking input from the public on a working draft of rules that would provide a new pathway to an air conditioning or electrical license for high school and college graduates.

Recent legislation tasked TDLR with developing standards for career and technology education (CTE) programs offered by Texas high school and colleges. Students who complete TDLR-recognized CTE programs would become eligible to apply for a residential wireman electrical license or an air conditioning and refrigeration technician certification.

TDLR has prepared a working draft of possible changes to the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program rules and a working draft of possible changes to the Electrician program rules and is seeking informal public comments via the TDLR website until March 25, 2024.

TDLR is particularly interested in feedback from schools and educators who are already offering CTE programs or would be interested in starting one. These comments will be used to help finalize the draft rules before they are proposed to TDLR’s advisory boards.

Background:

House Bill (HB) 1859 and HB 1391 (88th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) require TDLR to establish standards by rule for the “essential knowledge and skills” (what students should know and be able to do) used to build CTE programs and provide that the standards must be the same for both high school and college programs. Both bills were authored by State Rep. Matt Schaefer, Rep. Keith Bell, and Rep. Craig Goldman, and sponsored in the Texas Senate by Sen. Charles Perry.

Members of TDLR’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors and Electrical Safety and Licensing advisory boards – along with TDLR’s subject-matter experts and representatives from Texas State Technical College and other educational institutions – identified a series of courses approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the State Board of Education (SBOE) that provide training in electrical technology and air conditioning. After reviewing the educational requirements and obtaining valuable insight from TEA staff regarding the time and practical requirements of each course, the group agreed to adopt them with some modifications.

For example, while CTE programs would require significant time in the classroom, the draft rules require a substantial amount of that time to be dedicated to “hands-on” instruction. The draft rules also require students to gain valuable experience outside of the classroom and under the instruction of a licensed air conditioning or electrical contractor.

 

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