HVAC Training in TX

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If you are interested in a fast-growing career and like working with your hands, a job in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, or HVAC, could be for you.

As of 2014, Texas had the second highest employment rate for HVAC technicians of any state in the country, meaning that even those just starting out in the career have a good chance of finding employment quickly. Current Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates have more than 20,000 people currently employed as HVAC technicians in the state, with the Dallas and Houston metropolitan areas being the most concentrated. Further, it is a career that will truly always be in demand, particularly in the sweltering Texas summers.

It can always be a challenge to start a new career from scratch, but becoming an HVAC technician through an accredited HVAC program is one of the fastest ways to begin this level of professional career.  HVAC technicians do need some foundational knowledge to succeed in their first job, but there are no specific education or testing requirements for HVAC technicians to start work in Texas. As long as a technician registers with the state and is working under the supervision of a certified technician, it is possible to start work right away. This means that in just a few months, depending on the program, brand new HVAC technicians could be starting work and well on their way to a stable and lucrative career. 

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How to Become An HVAC Technician in Texas

Becoming an HVAC technician is a rewarding and lucrative career option, but it does require the proper preparation. While there are many paths that may lead to this career, following the steps as outlined below is one of the most common ways to successfully become an HVAC technician in Texas.

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

Earning a high school diploma is the best way to jumpstart nearly any successful career, and HVAC is no exception. Students should focus particularly on science and mathematics classes that will be useful in further HVAC studies. Many high schools also have vocational programs that may help students get started on the right track towards this career.

Step 2: Complete Accredited HVAC Program (1 to 2 years)

After completing high school, many graduates decide to enroll in an HVAC program to learn the fundamentals of the profession. Depending on the program, students can earn a certification in just a year. Students should ensure that the chosen school provides EPA certification as part of the program. “Accredited” is another important descriptor to look for when choosing an HVAC program. See below for more information on the accreditation process.

Step 3: Register as an ACR Technician

In Texas, HVAC technicians are required to register with the state before they begin work. The professional registration is the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, or ACR, Technician registration and applicants can register with the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration (TDLR).

Step 4: Take ACR Certification Exam

Although certification is not required to begin work under a contractor’s supervision, those who wish to do so can take an examination at one of the state’s approved schools, also available from the TDLR. Passing this examination makes ACR technicians eligible to be Certified ACR Technicians.

Step 5: Find Employment with a Licensed ACR Contractor (4 years)

Before being allowed to work as a licensed ACR contractor, Texas technicians must complete at least 48 months of practical training under the direct supervision of a licensed ACR contractor. Technicians who want to work independently will need to find a licensed ACR under whom they can complete this training.

Step 6: Apply for ACR Contractor License

Once technicians have completed their requisite supervised training, they must apply for their ACR contractor license within 6 years.

Outlook for HVAC Jobs in Texas

The timing is right for starting a career as an HVAC technician in all parts of the country, but particularly in Texas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in the U.S., demand for HVAC technicians is expected to increase by 14% through 2024, which is double the average (7%) for all professions (BLS, 2016). This percentage equates to nearly 40,000 new jobs across the country during that time frame.

As of 2014, Texas had the second highest employment rate for HVAC technicians of any state, with 20,870 jobs and a mean wage of $20.28 per hour or $42,180 annually.

The annual salary breakdown for HVAC technicians in Texas, according to BLS 2014 data, is as follows: 

  • 10th percentile: $26,720
  • 50th percentile (or median): $39,930
  • 90th percentile:  $60,120

The average salaries for Texas in comparison to the nationwide data available are a bit lower, with the lowest paid 10% of technicians making about $910 less per year and the highest paid 10% making about $10,700 less per year. These differences are not insignificant, but there is also the cost of living in the state to consider, which is lower than the nationwide average as well, by 10 to 20%.

Further, some areas of the state do pay considerably more than the overall average for the Lone Star state. In particular, HVAC technicians in the Houston metropolitan area make a mean hourly wage of $22.10, which is higher than the national average, while technicians in the Dallas area make a mean rate of $22.40 per hour.

While the wages in Texas may not be among the highest in the country, the likelihood of finding employment due to high demand is very good, which could be a welcome trade off for someone just starting out in the career.

Finding Accredited HVAC Training in Texas

Accreditation is an important part of any higher education program. In Texas, there are two organizations that offer accreditation for HVAC programs: HVAC Excellence and Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). There are no accreditation requirements for registering or becoming licensed as an ACR contractor in Texas. However, accreditation does indicate that a professional association has evaluated the quality of education offered by a program both in terms of curriculum and facilities. Therefore, although accreditation may not be required, it is highly recommended for a discerning student.

Laredo Community College

Laredo Community College is located in Laredo, Texas. The HVAC program at LCC is accredited by HVAC Excellence and offers both one a two-year certificate programs in ACR, depending on how much time the student has to devote to study.

Lincoln College of Technology

Lincoln College of Technology is located in Grand Prairie, Texas, which is near Dallas-Fort Worth, and has also earned its accreditation from HVAC Excellence. Students at LCT can complete the HVAC technician program there in a total of 47 weeks.

Vernon College

Vernon College is the only school in Texas with accreditation from PAHRA. The school’s campus is located in Wichita Falls. The HVAC program at Vernon College is designed to be finished in 32 weeks.