HVAC Schools in Nevada

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With temperatures ranging from the blistering hot summer days to near-freezing winter nights, Nevada offers abundant opportunities for those working in the field of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR). And HVACR professionals in the state enjoy a large amount of professional support, as well; for example, the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors (PHCC) of Nevada offers a wide array of benefits for HVACR workers, including numerous membership meetings throughout the year, professional networking events, apprenticeships, newsletters, political representation regarding any issues affecting the HVACR industry in Nevada, and discounts for participating members, among others. Separately, the Southern Nevada Air Conditioning Refrigeration Service Contractors Association (SNARSCA) provides representation specifically for air conditioning and refrigeration service contractors, offering classes, discounts at expos, and professional networking. And in Las Vegas specifically, there are many events for HVACR professionals, including the annual AHR Expo, an event that hosts more than 2,000 exhibitors and draws crowds of over 65,000 industry professionals; the annual HARDI conference held in December; and the National HVACR Educators and Trainers Conference (2018).

But what exactly do HVACR professionals in NV do during a workday? In general, they retain a number of responsibilities, including:

  • Laying piping structures and wiring for HVACR equipment
  • Performing maintenance on systems, as well as necessary repairs
  • Interpreting blueprints
  • Ensuring all work complies with relevant regulations
  • Testing HVACR components and circuitry
  • Brazing and soldering parts
  • Calculating heat loads and losses
  • Calibrating controls per the requirements of the manufacturers
  • Retaining necessary credentials
  • Maintaining service records
  • Providing education to customers on best practices for energy conservation

In addition, all HVACR professionals in Nevada who work with refrigerants are required to maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification.

Of course as with virtually all professions, becoming an HVACR technician requires preparation and hard work. This guide provides a brief overview of the career, as well as information regarding employment demands, salary prospects, credentialing, and accredited HVAC schools in Nevada.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Nevada

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (Dec. 2015) reported that HVACR professionals can expect to earn a relatively high salary during their career, and will likely witness a significant growth in their industry that may lead to more lucrative opportunities. As proof of point, the BLS (Dec. 2015) predicted the addition of 39,600 HVACR positions nationally between 2014 and 2024 representing 14 percent growth in openings for this profession. This is double the projected average growth in jobs for all occupations during that time period (7 percent). And the predictions are even more favorable for those living in Nevada; in fact, Projections Central (2017) estimated a 42 percent explosion in NV HVAC employment opportunities over the same decade, or an absolute increase of 1,130 jobs.

There are many reasons that the HVACR industry in Nevada is strong and is likely to continue growing throughout the future. For one, these systems must be replaced every decade or decade-and-a-half and require routine servicing and maintenance. Furthermore, regulations and technologies within the HVACR industry are constantly changing, which necessitates continuous system updates. Finally, many buildings in Nevada are climate-controlled, and especially in areas of high rates of construction, there exists a significant demand for the installation of new HVACR technology.

As an illustration of the healthy industry, Monster (March 2017) had 14 job postings for HVACR professionals in Las Vegas alone, including opportunities with Sierra Air, Goettl Air Conditioning, and Harsch Investment Corporation, to name just a few. Indeed (March 2017) showed 143 job opportunities in Las Vegas, and 193 in Nevada overall, including those with the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority in Reno, Emcor, TRANE, Ontario Refrigeration Service, Inc., and many others.

Nevada HVAC Technician Salary Data

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2015) shows that HVACR mechanics and installers earn a fairly generous salary, especially compared to occupations requiring a similar amount of postsecondary training. The median pay nationally for these workers was approximately $45,110 per year, which amounts to $21.69 per hour. In more granular terms, here were the salary percentiles among HVAC workers nationwide:

United States (274,680 HVACR workers): $47,380 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $27,790
  • 25th percentile: $34,920
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,110
  • 75th percentile: $58,070
  • 90th percentile: $71,690

In hourly figures, these same salaries amounted to:

United States: $22.78/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $13.36/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $16.79/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $21.69/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $27.92/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $34.47/hr.

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (March 2017), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the 451 HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

United States: 448 HVAC workers

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,273
  • 75th percentile: $55,000
  • 90th percentile: $69,000

An additional 2,538 HVAC workers gave Payscale (2017) their hourly salary figures, resulting in these percentile wages:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $18.70/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $29.00/hr.

For those living in Nevada, salaries are actually higher than the national average. Specifically, May 2015 data from the BLS shows that the 1,910 HVACR professionals in the state earned an annual salary of $54,190 ($26.05 per hour) and the following percentiles:

Nevada (1,910 HVACR workers): $54,190 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $33,640
  • 25th percentile: $41,750
  • 50th percentile: $54,550
  • 75th percentile: $65,730
  • 90th percentile: $76,260

When put into hourly figures, these same workers made:

Nevada: $26.05/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $16.17/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.07/hr.
  • 50th percentile: $26.23/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $31.60/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $36.66/hr.

In general, the average salary for HVACR workers in Las Vegas is fairly similar to the statistics presented for Nevada as a whole mainly because most of the employment opportunities for these professionals are within that metropolitan area. To be sure, data from the BLS (May 2015) shows that the 1,390 HVACR workers in Las Vegas earned an annual average salary of $55,220, which is slightly above the statewide average. Notably, the top-paying region within the state was the south nonmetropolitan area. Here are the numbers of HVAC professionals, average salaries, and wage percentiles among the five BLS-designated regions in the state:

Carson City, NV (130 HVACR workers): $48,560 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $29,860
  • 25th percentile: $35,200
  • 50th percentile: $44,850
  • 75th percentile: $58,990
  • 90th percentile: $76,360

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metropolitan Division (1,390 HVACR workers): $55,220 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $33,570
  • 25th percentile: $41,490
  • 50th percentile: $55,850
  • 75th percentile: $68,590
  • 90th percentile: $77,420

North NV Nonmetropolitan Area (40 HVACR workers): $50,450 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,570
  • 25th percentile: $38,930
  • 50th percentile: $51,670
  • 75th percentile: $60,160
  • 90th percentile: $70,620

Reno, NV (270 HVACR workers): $50,880 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $37,240
  • 25th percentile: $43,980
  • 50th percentile: $51,850
  • 75th percentile: $58,900
  • 90th percentile: $63,290

South NV Nonmetropolitan Area (80 HVACR workers): $58,310 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $42,300
  • 25th percentile: $51,770
  • 50th percentile: $59,080
  • 75th percentile: $67,310
  • 90th percentile: $74,950

Finally, translated into hourly figures, these salary averages and percentiles became:

Carson City, NV (130 HVACR workers): $23.35/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $14.35/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $16.92/hr.
  • 50th percentile: $21.56/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.36/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $36.71/hr.

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metropolitan Division (1,390 HVACR workers): $26.55/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $16.14/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $19.95/hr.
  • 50th percentile: $26.85/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $32.98/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $37.22/hr.

North NV Nonmetropolitan Area (40 HVACR workers): $24.25/hr. avg.

  • 10th percentile: $15.66/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $18.72/hr.
  • 50th percentile: $24.84/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.93/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $33.95/hr.

Reno, NV (270 HVACR workers): $24.46/hr. avg.

  • 10th percentile: $17.91/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $21.14/hr.
  • 50th percentile: $24.93/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.32/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.43/hr.

South NV Nonmetropolitan Area (80 HVACR workers): $28.03/hr. avg.

  • 10th percentile: $20.34/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $24.89/hr.
  • 50th percentile: $28,40/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $32.36/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $36.03/hr.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Nevada

There are various ways of becoming an HVACR worker in Nevada. One pathway involves participating in an apprenticeship program. For example, the UA Local 350 Plumbers, Pipefitters and Service Technicians, established in 1906, provides an apprenticeship program for HVACR professionals, which takes four years to complete. The applications are accepted in the organization’s Sparks, NV office, and the initiation fee for HVACR workers to become part of the union is $250, a requirement for the apprenticeship program. Apprentices receive 144 hours of instruction, and earn an average starting wage of $13-15 per hour.

A more formal program is available through the College of Southern Nevada, which focuses on air conditioning technology and has received approval from the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Students in this program can expect to take courses on HVAC electrical and mechanical theory, heat load calculations, copper fundamentals, heat pumps, and residential gas heating, among a number of others. The program is held on the Henderson, Nevada campus, and the total cost of tuition for one year of study for a Nevada resident is approximately $16,458 or $23,103 for out-of-state students.

Finally, it is also possible to receive HVACR training through ATI, an organization based in Las Vegas. Although this program is not PAHRA-accredited, it does provide participants with a deep working knowledge of the vocation and leads to EPA Section 608 Certification. Students in the HVACR program can expect to take courses on mechanical and electrical troubleshooting, service and repair on residential and light commercial gas heating systems, and the startup of new A/C and heating equipment, among many others. The program takes 10.5 months to complete, and while ATI provides a net price calculator for students to estimate the cost of tuition, this only applies to the automotive technology program; as such, those interested in training through ATI should contact the organization directly.

In addition to these campus-based programs, there is a wealth of online HVAC programs as well, many which accept NV-based students.

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Nevada

Before looking for a job, all HVACR professionals in Nevada must first obtain the proper certification and licensing necessary to work in this capacity.

To begin, one specific certification is required for all individuals who handle environmentally sensitive refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 Certification. This certification is broken down into four types: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). Please note that most HVACR programs will include preparation for the certification exam as part of the curriculum.

Furthermore, there exists a wide array of other entities nationwide that provide skill-based, employment-ready trade certifications. A handful of these organizations, as well as sample certifications, are listed below:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) – EPA Section 608, commercial air conditioning, dynamic compression, HVAC-R electrical, etc.
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE) – air distribution, heat pump [air-to-air], hydronics gas, commercial refrigeration, light commercial refrigeration, etc.
  • HVAC Excellence – Heating, Electrical, Air conditioning Technology [HEAT], HEAT Plus, residential heat load analysis, green awareness, etc.

For more information regarding the extent of available national credentials, make sure to visit the HVAC certifications page.

Finally, all HVACR professionals in Nevada have to obtain required local licensure prior to beginning work. HVACR professionals in Nevada must obtain licensure through the Nevada State Contractors Board, as long as the value of the work exceeds $1,000. To receive licensure, an HVACR professional must have at least four years of experience as an initial qualification, and must submit four notarized reference certificates, a detailed resume, and an application processing fee of $300. Applicants must also submit a financial statement, which has varying requirements, depending on the size of the project. Upon approval of the license, the HVACR will also be provided information regarding the necessary bond amount, and a surety bond or cash deposit will be required.

It’s also important to note that the Nevada State Contractors Board provides licensure for the classifications listed below:

  • Class “A”—General Engineering Contractor
  • Class “B”—General Building Contractor
  • Class “C”—Specialty Contractor

Each of these license classes is required for a separate purpose, all of which relate to the principal business and the scope of the project. Additionally, some cities in Nevada require special municipal permitting for the installation of new HVACR systems. Therefore all HVAC workers are strongly encouraged to reach out to city officials to ensure they have all necessary credentialing prior to taking on any project.

Ultimately, HVACR professionals must perform due diligence before beginning any work to ensure that they have adequate credentialing for the task at hand.