HVAC Training Schools in Tennessee

Connect With HVAC Schools

In the Volunteer State with its balmy hot summers and cool winters, there’s a thriving demand for skilled heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) professionals, especially in cities with high rates of construction such as Nashville. Not only is climate control a high-growth, lucrative industry—two facts discussed in the subsequent section of this guide—but these workers also have a wealth of resources at their fingertips through the strong network of contracting and trade associations in the state. As proof of point, the Tennessee Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (TAPHCC) is a not-for-profit association with regional chapters in four areas: Chattanooga, Knoxville, Middle Tennessee and Northeast Tennessee. The organization has several goals such as promoting the most efficient and groundbreaking technologies in the industry; to achieve progress in sanitation and standardization of methods; to stay compliant with all legislation; and to provide training and other resources. Additionally, the Nashville Area Plumbing and Mechanical Association has opportunities in legal advocacy, charity events, and discounts on various services such as insurance. There are also respectable Tennessee businesses which provide education to people in the industry and prospective consumers. Notably, Maynard Select of Nashville—an HVAC business committed to renewable sources of energy—was named a ‘Green Leader’ by the Nashville Post and has helped to dispel some myths about geothermal energy. It states that the ROI on using geothermal takes only about two years to come to fruition for heating and cooling systems, and after that, savings range from 30 to 70 percent on HVAC costs.

HVAC workers in Tennessee (TN) must have state licensure through the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors to complete projects in excess of $25,000, and all installers require an electrical contracting license to do their work; local credentialing also varies by city, although the job responsibilities are similar for HVAC professionals in TN and beyond. These workers visit service sites to fulfill contractual or warranty-related obligations; read blueprints and mechanical diagrams; calculate heat loads & losses of systems; recover and safely handle refrigerants; repair, install, and maintain HVAC systems and components (e.g., motors, wiring, intake & exhaust fans, refrigeration circuit, water pumps, relays, thermostats, hermetic compressors, humidifiers); keep on top of developments in the industry; maintain detailed service records; work in compliance with all legislation; travel to job sites; and make efficiency recommendations to customers.

It’s important to note that all HVAC/R workers in TN and across the country who handle refrigerants must achieve a national credential: the EPA Section 608 certification, which is discussed in the ‘licensing’ section below.

This guide covers accredited HVAC schools in Tennessee, as well as the occupational growth, salary prospects, and licensing procedures in the state.

Featured Online Programs

Penn

Learn online, at a pace that's right for you

Online HVACR Technician Career DiplomaRequest Info
Online Automotive HVAC Essentials Certificate Request Info

Occupational Demand for HVAC Professionals in Tennessee

As mentioned in the introduction, HVAC is a high-growth industry. In fact, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2015) anticipates a 14 percent explosion in HVAC positions nationwide between 2014 and 2024, much more robust than the 7 percent average growth projected for all occupations during that period. Interestingly, Projections Central (Dec. 2016) found that for HVAC work in TN, there’s also a 14 percent expected increase in relevant job openings during that decade, while other states’ individual growth projections vary. With the expected addition of 39,600 HVAC jobs and 800 in TN, this is considered a relatively high-growth career field.

So what are the factors contributing to the healthy, thriving demand for qualified HVAC professionals in Tennessee? First, these systems generally need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, not to mention the retrofitting of old systems to make them compatible with new structures or technologies. Secondly, the rise of regular service and maintenance contracts which accompanies the installation of modern systems may ensure regular work throughout the year, even during the low reasons (spring and fall). Maintenance and repair work is especially stable, while specializing in HVAC installation may thrive more in cities with high rates of construction.  

The BLS (Dec. 2015) reported that one in ten HVAC mechanics and installers were self-employed in 2014, and 63 percent work for plumbing, heating, and A/C contracting companies. It’s important to add that some of these skilled professionals in TN work normal business hours, while others may be called upon to service equipment on evenings, weekends, or holidays, particularly during the high summer season. Also, HVAC workers incur a relatively high risk of injury and illness compared to other US occupations. They lift heavy equipment, deal with electrical wiring, and handle refrigerants, three activities which increase one’s risk of muscle strains, electrical shock, burns, and frostbite, among other maladies. That said, these problems can generally be kept to a minimum with proper training and donning of safety equipment.

Despite the physical challenges within the profession, there is further evidence that the employment climate is thriving for HVAC workers in TN. In fact, common job post sites are bursting at the seams with opportunities. For example, Indeed (Dec. 2016) had links to 508 relevant HVAC worker openings in TN, including positions at Carrols Corporation (Burger King), REMCO, Roscoe Brown Inc., Yates Services LLC, Conrex Residential Property Group, Medxcel Facilities Management, Baggett Heating & Cooling, Greenway Home Services, Perfection Group, R&M, Ecolab, MAA, Kuhn Air Conditioning, Crowe Heating & Air, Axis Teknologies LLC, Reliance Heating & Air Conditioning, C&M Heating and Cooling, Greenway Home Services, iCON Air & Mechanical Services, Axis Teknologies, AirMasters A/C & Heating, and others. Additionally, Monster (Dec. 2016) advertised 58 HVAC jobs in TN at places such as Union University, Ingersoll Rand, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning/Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, BCH Mechanical Inc., Westgate Resorts, Jones Lange Lasalle Inc., JLL, Sodexo, and Lee Company, among others.

Tennessee HVAC Salaries

As mentioned in the introduction, HVAC/R is a relatively well-paying profession, particularly for jobs requiring only one to two years of postsecondary training. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2015) found that there were 274,680 HVAC professionals across the country earning an average annual salary of $47,380. While this figure is somewhat higher than the mean salary for the 7,030 TN HVAC workers ($42,550), it’s important to note that this state is one of the most affordable in the country. In fact, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2016) reported that TN was the fifth cheapest state in which to live, boasting particular savings in housing, transportation, and healthcare relative to the rest of the country. Please keep this in mind while evaluating the following national and regional salary figures.

Here were the salary percentiles among all of the HVAC professionals in the country (BLS May 2015):

United States (274,680 HVAC 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

Translated into hourly figures, these salaries became:

US: $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.

It’s worth noting that these figures varied by source of data. Payscale (Dec. 2016)—a site which relies on self-reported wages—found the following percentiles among its 451 HVAC respondents across the country:

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,886
  • 75th percentile: $53,000
  • 90th percentile: $67,000

An additional 2,486 HVAC professionals reported their hourly wages to Payscale, yielding the following percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $18.00/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $29.00/hr.

As mentioned above, while the figures for TN HVAC workers were somewhat lower than national figures, so too is the cost of living in the Volunteer State. According to the BLS (May 2015), the HVAC professionals in Tennessee had the following wage percentiles:

Tennessee (7,030 HVAC workers): $42,550 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $26,420
  • 25th percentile: $32,090
  • 50th percentile (median): $39,710
  • 75th percentile: $52,340
  • 90th percentile: $62,790

Translated into hourly figures, the above salary percentiles equated to:

TN: $20.45/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $12.70/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.43/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.09/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $25.16/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.19/hr.

Also, these figures varied by region within TN. While the Nashville Metropolitan Area was by far the top employer of HVAC workers in the state, Memphis paid the highest average salary at $45,690. Here were the numbers of HVAC professionals, mean salaries, and percentiles among the 14 BLS-designated regions in TN (May 2015):

Chattanooga, TN-GA (510 HVAC workers): $44,810 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $31,280
  • 25th percentile: $35,170
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,900
  • 75th percentile: $55,380
  • 90th percentile: $61,980

Clarksville, TN-KY (260 HVAC workers): $39,420 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,130
  • 25th percentile: $31,480
  • 50th percentile (median): $38,760
  • 75th percentile: $47,540
  • 90th percentile: $55,070

Cleveland, TN (100 HVAC workers): $37,510 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,760
  • 25th percentile: $29,020
  • 50th percentile (median): $35,190
  • 75th percentile: $45,120
  • 90th percentile: $56,360

East Tennessee Nonmetropolitan Area (220 HVAC workers): $31,200 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $22,470
  • 25th percentile: $26,380
  • 50th percentile (median): $32,130
  • 75th percentile: $36,280
  • 90th percentile: $38,770

Jackson, TN (110 HVAC workers): $39,260 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $30,920
  • 25th percentile: $33,360
  • 50th percentile (median): $37,030
  • 75th percentile: $44,660
  • 90th percentile: $54,900

Johnson City, TN (170 HVAC workers): $31,050 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $21,610
  • 25th percentile: $25,850
  • 50th percentile (median): $30,480
  • 75th percentile: $36,270
  • 90th percentile: $40,350

Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA (230 HVAC workers): $41,840 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $26,250
  • 25th percentile: $33,570
  • 50th percentile (median): $40,410
  • 75th percentile: $49,510
  • 90th percentile: $60,560

Knoxville, TN (1,300 HVAC workers): $41,850 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,920
  • 25th percentile: $31,170
  • 50th percentile (median): $38,890
  • 75th percentile: $53,410
  • 90th percentile: $61,720

Memphis, TN-MS-AR (1,310 HVAC workers): $45,690 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $28,670
  • 25th percentile: $33,990
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,450
  • 75th percentile: $57,190
  • 90th percentile: $66,370

Morristown, TN (30 HVAC workers): $33,640 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $26,350
  • 25th percentile: $28,280
  • 50th percentile (median): $31,420
  • 75th percentile: $38,590
  • 90th percentile: $45,330

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN (2,310 HVAC workers): $44,970 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $26,050
  • 25th percentile: $33,660
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,840
  • 75th percentile: $54,120
  • 90th percentile: $68,950

North Central Tennessee Nonmetropolitan Area (170 HVAC workers): $37,470 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,770
  • 25th percentile: $28,420
  • 50th percentile (median): $33,540
  • 75th percentile: $43,770
  • 90th percentile: $58,300

South Central Tennessee Nonmetropolitan Area (250 HVAC workers): $38,840 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $27,360
  • 25th percentile: $31,450
  • 50th percentile (median): $36,410
  • 75th percentile: $44,650
  • 90th percentile: $56,240

West Tennessee Nonmetropolitan Area (400 HVAC workers): $38,340 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,270
  • 25th percentile: $29,610
  • 50th percentile (median): $35,250
  • 75th percentile: $46,050
  • 90th percentile: $59,780

Accredited HVAC Schools in Tennessee

There’s fantastic news for aspiring HVAC professionals in Tennessee; this state boasts an impressive 17 programs accredited by HVAC Excellence, one of the main program-approving organizations in the US. The other accreditation agency is the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), and as of December 2016, there were no PAHRA-accredited programs in TN. To learn more about the accreditation process and criteria, please check out those websites or the HVAC programs homepage.

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology—the institution with HVAC Excellence accreditation—boasts campuses in Chattanooga, Clarksville, Covington, Crossville, Crump, Dixon, Jackson, Knoxville, Mckenzie, Memphis, Morristown, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Newbern, Pulaski, Shelbyville, and Whiteville.

For example, at TCAT’s Memphis campus, there’s a 20-month diploma program for aspiring commercial refrigeration & air conditioning technicians, comprising 2,160 clock hours of instruction and experience in dealing with residential & commercial air conditioning systems; refrigeration; heat pumps; electric & gas heating; solar & hydronic heating; ice machines; and humidifiers. It costs $5,710 for tuition and an additional $1,330 for textbooks and supplies. Other programs include certificates in HVAC mechanic assistance and domestic unit repair, as well as diplomas in refrigeration technology and HVAC.

The TCAT in Nashville offers fewer training options, but has a unique environmental control systems HVAC/R technology diploma program. Please visit any of the other TCAT program websites to learn more about certificate and diploma offerings and pricing.

For HVAC professionals in TN who seek slightly cheaper and more accelerated training, Chattanooga State Community College provides a one-year diploma program which costs $4,705 total. Courses at CSCC include refrigeration fundamentals; tools & equipment; electricity & controls; basic automatic controls; domestic appliances; heating units; general safety; all weather systems; electric motors; and preparation for the EPA Section 608 and HVAC Excellence Gas/Heat Pump certifications. Impressively, this program has 88 percent job placement.

Lastly, for TN’s rural residents or those with unbreakable time commitments, there are various distance-based programs available. To discover all of the e-learning open to residents of this state, please visit the online HVAC programs page.

HVAC Licensing & Certification in Tennessee

Prior to seeking work, all HVAC workers in Tennessee must ensure that they have proper credentialing. As mentioned above, there’s one nationally mandatory certification for all people who work with refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 certification. There are four categories:

  • Type 1 (small appliance)
  • Type 2 (high-pressure appliances)
  • Type 3 (low-pressure appliances)
  • Type 4 (universal)

Please note that preparation for this credentialing exam is usually included in accredited HVAC training programs.

Other national entities of note and sample certifications offered include:

To discover in detail how to achieve any of these credentials, check out the HVAC certifications page.

As mentioned in the introduction, all HVAC workers performing $25,000 or more in work on systems must have a mechanical contractor’s license (CMC-C) issued by the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors. To qualify, candidates must:

  • Complete a CMC-C application
  • Pass two exams (TN Business & Law Management Exam and a Trade Exam)
  • Offer proof of insurance
  • Submit a financial statement
  • Pay an application fee ($250)

These licenses may require a candidate interview as well, and are valid for two years.

The TN Department of Commerce & Insurance adds that all HVAC workers in TN performing repair or maintenance services under $25,000 don’t need state licensure, although it’s important to note that the installation of all HVAC systems requires a TN-issued electrician’s license (LLE). This organization adds that many cities and regions have their own specific requirements for HVAC credentialing. A list of each regional authority is available on the TN State website.

Above all, it is crucial to ensure that one has all necessary credentialing prior to beginning work, so HVAC workers in TN are strongly encourage to check with municipal governments for all licensing details.