HVAC Apprenticeship Training Programs That Pay Students to Learn (2023-2024)

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Training to become an HVAC technician can create overwhelming financial hardship for many. Taking time off work to change careers or learn a skill is something that can feel completely out of reach. Because becoming an HVAC technician is a skilled trade, some HVAC training programs and apprenticeships offer students the ability to earn wages as they learn.

Like all HVAC training programs, graduates of programs like these are not guaranteed employment once they have completed the program, but students enrolled in these programs are guaranteed sliding scale wages while enrolled, so long as they fulfill all required program requirements. Like all HVAC training programs, securing employment after graduation depends on how the person completed their training, interpersonal skills, and passing relevant certification exams.

The following list is a sampling of apprenticeship programs across the United States that enable students to earn money while they learn to become HVAC technicians.

Chemeketa Community College

At Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, aspiring HVAC workers can complete a paid registered apprenticeship program under the supervision of the Mid-Valley HVAC/R JAT Committee. The apprenticeship lasts four years and includes 576 classroom hours at the college and 8,000 on-the-job training hours with approved training agents.

Apprentices begin earning a minimum salary and can earn $31.96 per hour once they reach journey-level status. Eligible apprentices earn two pay raises per year. Upon program completion, apprentices are referred to take the LE/B exam and receive their journey cards from the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). Notably, brazing certification is also a part of this program.

  • Location: Salem, Oregon
  • Duration: Four years

Iowa Workforce Development

Iowa Workforce Development offers a registered apprenticeship program where program participants can receive 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction per year.

Affiliated with the state’s “Earn and Learn” initiatives, the Central Iowa Sheet Metal Workers Union offers a five-year apprenticeship program that graduates students with a certificate from the Department of Labor and Journeyman status. Also, CMS Mechanical Services, LLC offers a five-year program where apprentices ride along with full-time technicians for 40 hours per week and then complete ten hours per week of classroom learning. Finally, Meskwaki Nation also offers an apprenticeship program where you can earn and learn simultaneously.

  • Location: Des Moines and Tama, Iowa
  • Duration: Four to five years

California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association

Aspiring HVAC workers in Northern, Central, or Southern California may consider an apprenticeship program through the California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association.

Located in Los Angeles, Modesto, Concord, Burlingame, San Francisco, and San Jose, this organization offers a five-year apprenticeship program during which the apprentice must complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 216 hours per year of related instruction. The apprentice earns hourly pay based on a percentage of the journeyman’s salary, steadily receiving pay increases until they reach the same rate. Participants in this program may be eligible to receive medical, dental, and optical coverage, and pension and supplemental pension plan benefits.

  • Location: Los Angeles, Modesto, Concord, Burlingame, San Francisco, and San Jose, California
  • Duration: Five years

Laurel Ridge Community College Workforce Solutions

Through Laurel Ridge Community College Workforce Solutions, prospective HVAC professionals in Virginia can complete an apprenticeship to develop their skills. The apprentice must complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 576 hours of classroom training, covering subjects such as heating and cooling system design, system balancing, indoor air quality, alternative heating and cooling systems, and construction drawings and specifications.

Upon completion, the apprentice is eligible to sit for their journeyman license. Notably, all work is compensated throughout the duration of the program.

  • Location: Middletown, Virginia
  • Duration: Four years

Service Legends

Service Legends, located in Des Moines, Iowa, allows aspiring HVAC professionals to complete an apprenticeship program approved at the federal and state levels. The apprenticeship lasts four years, during which the apprentice receives significant boosts in compensation at regular intervals; specifically, the starting pay is $16.50 per hour, and after completing 8,000 required hours of training, the apprentice can earn an hourly wage of $33.

During the first 90 days of the program, the apprentice also can earn an EPA 608 certification. Additionally, the training hours are split into certain categories, including those dedicated to safety, the installation and service of equipment, piping systems, ductwork, electrical systems, and tools knowledge.

  • Location: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Duration: Four years

State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

Aspiring HVAC professionals who live in various locations throughout Wisconsin can find a centralized hub for apprenticeship opportunities at the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The five-year training programs available through various sheet metal joint apprenticeship and training committees (JACs) require apprentices to complete 8,440 hours of on-the-job training and 560 hours of paid-related instruction. Apprentices who complete these programs will earn a valid credential from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, first aid and CPR certification, and OSHA safety certifications.

  • Location: East Central, Fox Valley, Madison, Milwaukee, Southeastern (and other regions), Wisconsin
  • Duration: Five years

Southern Air

Southern Air, one of Southeast’s leading electrical and mechanical contractors, specializes in designing, installing, and servicing HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems for buildings of all sizes. Its HVAC apprenticeship program prepares students for troubleshooting, repair methods, and installation techniques. Students in this program will learn to operate basic hand tools and advanced sophisticated tools such as carbon monoxide testers. Furthermore, this program also teaches students the importance of recovery, recycling, and conservation of refrigerants.

During four years of this apprenticeship, apprentices will receive structured on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. Each year will normally involve 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction. Depending on experience and education, apprentices can earn paychecks ranging from $15 to $20 an hour from day one.

To be eligible for this apprenticeship program, students must be employed with Southern Air, Inc. and be at least 16 years of age. Graduates of this program are granted a journeyman’s license after completing 8,000 hours of on-the-job and 144 hours of classroom training.

  • Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Duration: Four years

Plumbers & Steamfitters UA Local 367

UA Local 367 offers a five-year apprenticeship program that involves 10,000 hours of on-the-job training. Apprentices will be paid while they work, with raises of 10 percent given upon satisfactory completion of 12 months and 2,000 hours of work. The program has mandatory classroom and shop training for six weeks each year.

Students in this program will work with and be trained by expert experienced journeymen who have extensive field experience in today’s Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry. Apprentices can expect to earn a starting wage of $20.50 per hour for most jobs. Wages may vary depending on the location and type of job.

To qualify for this program, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and must have either a high school diploma, GED, or a two-year minimum secondary/college degree. A valid Alaska driver’s license and completion of the WorkKeys assessments will also be required.

  • Location: Anchorage, Alaska
  • Duration: Five years

Pipe Fitters’ Training Center Local Union 597

Residents of Will County, Chicago, and the surrounding areas interested in a new career in the HVAC industry may complete an HVAC mechanical service pipefitter apprenticeship program through the Pipe Fitters’ Training Center Local Union 597.

The first four years of this five-year training program require students to work full-time for a union contract four days per week and attend school for one full day per week for a total of 1,100 classroom hours. In their fifth year, the apprentice works for a union contractor for the full year, and all training happens on the job. Students are eligible for health, dental, and vision coverage and a pension and can enter into a voluntary 401(K) plan. Applications are available every first Wednesday of each month between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm.

  • Location: Mokena, Illinois
  • Duration: Five years

Gateway Technical College

Gateway Technical College’s HVAC apprenticeship allows students to begin rewarding careers in installing, repairing, and maintaining HVAC systems. Candidates will work with commercial refrigerators, furnaces, and more to understand the operating principles of different systems and specializing within the trade.

Lasting five years, this apprenticeship includes 8,000 hours of blended on-the-job and classroom training providing students with a solid foundation for their HVAC careers. Students can earn up to $24 per hour as established HVAC technicians.

As part of the apprenticeship, students will delve into topics such as cooling fundamentals; mechanical refrigeration circuits; ductwork construction & airside basics; venting & introduction to hydronics; hydronics & steam systems; heat pumps; and heating & cooling design.

  • Location: Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Duration: Five years

Howard Community College

Howard Community College’s HVAC/R apprenticeship program is designed to prepare technicians to work in the HVAC/R industry in residential and commercial environments. Apprentices in this program acquire a diverse skill set and learn about insulating refrigerant lines, cleaning furnaces, cutting and soldering pipes, and maintaining and repairing electrical circuits.

Working in partnership with Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors of Maryland (HACCMD), students in this four-year apprenticeship complete a total of 8,000 hours of paid fieldwork in addition to the required coursework at HCC. Also, apprentices can pursue Maryland State HVAC/R journeyman licensure through the State of Maryland’s Apprenticeship and Training Council.

After being selected for this apprenticeship, students can offset several costs associated with pursuing a college education. Employers typically cover tuition and fees, in addition to hiring students as full-time employees within their companies.

  • Location: Columbia, Maryland
  • Duration: Four years

Anthony Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric

One of the fastest-growing plumbing & HVAC companies in the Kansas City area, Anthony Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling is looking for full-time HVAC Apprentices to join their apprenticeship training classes. Apprentices in this program can choose between service and installation and will work with experienced technicians in all facets of light commercial and residential HVAC services.

Candidates in this program will earn $12 per hour during the apprentice program with increased earnings once job ready of up to 40k in the first year.

  • Location: Lenexa, Kansas
  • Duration: Four years

Apprenticeship Training: Earning a Wage While Creating a Stable Future

While entering into an apprenticeship program extends the length of training to years beyond diploma or certificate programs, the benefits of making money as you learn are considerable. After graduation, HVAC apprentices can connect to local HVAC professional networks, prepare for state and national certifications, and begin their solo HVAC contractor career at the journeyman level.

While the examples above are an excellent sampling of what is available in earn-as-you-learn style HVAC programs, many more apprenticeship programs are available across the United States. Aspiring HVAC workers can find apprenticeship opportunities nearby by researching local trade unions, nearby community colleges and trade schools, state workforce development websites, and local HVAC businesses.

Becca Brewer

Becca Brewer, MEd

Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by healing herself into wholeness, divesting from separation, and walking the path of the loving heart. Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.

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