Top HVAC Apprenticeship Programs (2020) – Eligibility, Location & Duration

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Becoming an experienced and successful HVAC technician means committing yourself to the occupation from day one. While classroom instruction from a highly rated HVAC school is a huge step in the right direction, there is no substitute for hands-on training in the field and one of the best ways to obtain this type of experience is through an apprenticeship. In some states, an apprenticeship can act in place of an HVAC degree when it comes time to apply for a license. However, many states have a combined requirement for apprentice hours and classroom hours, so any prospective apprentice should be sure to review the requirements for their particular state before proceeding down a certain path.

HVAC apprentices may be able to find work with one of a number of different organizations. Some apprentices may work through a local union or may choose to find an independent technician that is willing to train them. Most HVAC apprenticeships last between three and five years, but again different states have requirements for how many years (usually measured in hours worked) an apprentice must work before becoming licensed and able to work on his or her own.

The following list includes a variety of HVAC apprenticeships across the country, including those programs that are offered through local colleges. These programs pair up new HVAC technicians who are eager to learn with experienced technicians who can teach them. With a variety of programs all around the country, there is likely to be a nearby HVAC apprenticeship somewhere on this list.

Los-Angeles-and-Orange-Counties-Air-Conditioning-and-Refrigeration-JATC

JJATC Air Conditioning and Refrigeration training program is offered in several locations including San Diego, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Colton and Orange. It provides members and students with the experience and knowledge for becoming successful leaders.

 

This HVAC/R apprentice training includes topics such as electrical theory, mechanical systems, brazing and soldering, electrical controls, customer relations, installation, thermodynamics, compressors, market applications, HVAC systems, heat loads and air distribution, hydronics, and advanced troubleshooting, among others.

 

Applicants in this apprenticeship program are selected on the basis of character, physical fitness, and education. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. Education requirements include a high school diploma or GED and official transcripts. Also, the applicant must be at least 18 years of age.

 

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Duration: Five years
Sheet-Metal-Workers-Local-104

Sheet Metal Workers Local 104 and Bay Area Training Fund is a Labor-Management Trust that provides training to men and women of the sheet metal industry. The following apprentice training programs are offered by this joint labor-management trust:

 

  • Building trades sheet metal - The type of work performed can range from layout, detailing, installation or fabrication of duct systems to metal roofing, architectural sheet metal, as well as other shop or field sheet metal work, including supervision and job coordination.
  • Air conditioning mechanic (building trades) - The type of work performed includes repair, maintenance, startups, refrigeration, installation, and controls on HVAC equipment, primarily larger commercial systems.
  • Test, adjusting, and balancing technician - Students can expect to perform pressure testing, balancing of duct systems for energy efficiency, as well as completing documentation of HVAC systems in commercial buildings.

All these apprenticeships are five-year programs consisting of 216 hours per year. These may include evening or day classroom instruction and on-the-job training where the apprentice will work full time for a sheet metal contractor. A high school diploma or GED is required for apprenticeship programs.

 

  • Location: San Leandro, California
  • Duration: Five years
Air-Conditioning-Contractors-Association-of-Central-Florida

Committed to the betterment of the HVAC/R industry, this organization has been active since 1966. The demand for well-trained HVAC technicians in Florida is high, which is why the Air Conditioning Contractors Association of Central Florida offers an apprenticeship program. The ACCACF program is certified through the Florida Bureau of Apprenticeship and consists of three years of hands-on training.

 

In order to apply for this apprenticeship program, students must be at least 18 years old, have the physical capability for performing work, possess an active Florida Drivers License, and have the ability to write and read in English.

 

Each year consists of 162 class hours, covering topics such as air conditioning fundamentals, basic electricity, basic blueprint reading, basic system components, principles of air conditioning, electric heat, oil and gas heat, control circuits, control devices, and electric control valves, among others.

 

  • Location: Altamonte Springs, Florida
  • Duration: 36 months
American-River-College

Located in Sacramento, California, American River College offers an innovative apprenticeship program for many different career tracks, including HVAC technicians. The HVAC apprenticeship, which includes instruction in other electrical systems as well, ultimately results in an associate of arts degree if completed alongside general education requirements.

 

In order to be enrolled in this program, students must be registered Refrigeration Service Technician apprentices. They will delve into topics such as introduction to the refrigeration fitter apprenticeship, supermarket refrigeration, gas welding and brazing, air conditioning pneumatic and process controls, refrigeration and hydronics piping, and electrical and direct digital controls.

 

Through this program, students will be able to identify job site hazards, explain electrical principles that are necessary for startup and testing, conduct testing of fluid flow in piping systems, and learn how to maximize the energy efficiency of existing HVAC/R equipment.

 

  • Location: Sacramento, California
  • Duration: One to five years
Anne-Arundel-Community-College

Located in Arnold, Maryland, Anne Arundel Community College sponsors a four-year HVAC apprenticeship. In conjunction with Associated Builders and Contractors, apprentices complete 144 hours of classroom training at the college, in addition to 2000 hours of fieldwork over the course of the program. Classroom hours are taught by certified and experienced instructors.

 

ABC Apprentices are registered with Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council (MATC), National Center for Construction, Education and Research (NCCER), and their local community college.

 

In order to apply for this apprentice, students must be at least 18 years of age and submit a high school diploma or GED.

 

  • Location: Arnold, Maryland
  • Duration: Four years
Arizona-Sheet-Metal-Joint-Apprenticeship-Training-Committee

The Arizona Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee offers a five-year apprenticeship program to train sheet metal workers. Although the program is not specifically focused on HVAC technicians, learning HVAC installation and repair is an integral part of the apprenticeship. Apprentices earn college credit during the program through Gateway Community College in Phoenix.

 

This apprenticeship consists of hands-on training and college-accredited classes through NCCRS (National College Credit Recommendation Service). Students are prepared to take up jobs in the sheet metal industry, including installation and fabrication of architectural sheet metal, ducts for heating and air conditioning systems, and kitchen equipment in residential and commercial buildings.

 

To complete this program, apprentices must have a minimum of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 720 hours of college-accredited related training in a classroom setting.

 

  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Duration: Five years
Associated-Building-and-Contractors

Associated Builders and Contractors (@ABCNational), often referred to as ABC, has HVAC apprenticeship programs in place throughout the country. The ABC program has been recognized by North American Technician Excellence and includes 8000 hours of on-the-job training with experienced HVAC professionals.

CalApprenticeship

CalApprenticeship offers a variety of apprenticeships throughout the state of California, including an HVAC apprenticeship program. Air conditioning/refrigeration mechanic apprentices in this program work under refrigeration contractors.

 

Applicants must be residents of California and have a high school diploma or GED, but do not need any prior HVAC training to qualify. They should be at least 18 years of age, and must pass an aptitude exam as well as an oral interview. They should also be able to read and write in English, and possess a valid California Driver's License.

 

For reaching journeyman status, apprentices are required to work a total of 8000 hours. They must also attend instruction classes for 216 hours each year.

 

  • Location: Various locations in California
  • Duration: Varies
Chemeketa-Community-College

With seven locations throughout Oregon, including Salem and McMinnville, Chemeketa Community College is a great place for Oregon locals to seek out an HVAC apprenticeship. Apprentices will take home a paycheck while earning credits that apply to an associate of applied science HVAC degree or even a bachelor's degree in operations management should they choose to pursue further education.

 

Courses in this registered apprenticeship program are provided under the guidance of the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). Required qualifications for this apprenticeship include high school diploma or GED, at least 18 years of age, minimum of one year of high school algebra, and high school math equivalent.

 

This program involves 8,000 hours of on-the-job training combining electrical and sheet metal work involving – wiring, installation, service and repair of environmental control systems, repair and brazing, refrigeration installation, and fabrication and installation of ductwork.

 

  • Location: Salem, Oregon
  • Duration: Four years
Delaware-County-Technical-High-School

Delaware County Technical High School offers an HVAC apprenticeship program that is particularly well-suited to recent high school students who want to pursue an HVAC career. Apprentices complete the first year of their apprenticeship at the school, then after the successful completion of year one, will be offered employment with a local contractor in order to finish the apprenticeship.

 

Students in the program can earn industry certifications such as OSHA-10, EPA-608, National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core and National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)-HVAC Levels 1-3.

 

Students will learn about system design, installation, repair and maintenance of commercial, industrial and residential HVAC systems. The courses are taught in compliance with the NATE and ACCA.

 

  • Location: Aston, Pennsylvania
  • Duration: Three years
Johnson-Controls

One of the few independent companies on this list, Johnson Controls offers HVAC apprenticeships at their offices around the country, when the need arises. To qualify for the apprenticeship, applicants need only a high school diploma (or GED) and a desire to learn the HVAC trade, although some familiarity with HVAC equipment is highly desirable.

 

One of the apprenticeships the company recently offered is the HVAC Truck Base Mechanic Apprentice (Union). This apprenticeship will help applicants increase their HVAC knowledge and learn firsthand from some of the top HVAC teams. To qualify, the applicant must have at least three years of HVAC systems service experience.

 

  • Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Duration: Varies
Lane-Community-College

Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon offers their students the ability to connect easily to local apprenticeship opportunities. The HVAC apprenticeship program at LCC is integrated with the school's curriculum, so that students can earn credits towards an Associate of Applied Science degree while working in the field as an apprentice.

 

In order to qualify for an apprenticeship, students must have a high school diploma or GED, minimum of a 'C' grade in high school algebra (or equivalent Math 60/65, or Math 70), and the applicant must be at least 18 years.

 

The HVAC technicians/installers apprenticeship program combines both classroom and on-the-job experience related training instruction where apprentices must complete a minimum of 144 related classroom hours per year and 8,000 on-the-job training hours.

 

  • Location : Eugene, Oregon
  • Duration : Four years
Lanier-Technical-College

Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, Georgia offers a unique HVAC apprenticeship program that is integrated with the school's academic offerings. Apprentices earn a Technical Certificate of Credit (TCC) while completing a curriculum devised with the help of the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

Local-392-Training-Center

The Joint Apprentice Training Committee at the Local 392 Training Center in Cincinnati, Ohio offers a state-approved HVAC apprenticeship program, as well as programs for plumbers and pipefitters. The apprenticeship lasts five years, at the end of which apprentices are eligible to work and earn journeyman's wages.

 

An applicant for this apprenticeship must be at least 18 years of age and submit the following:

 

  • A copy of their valid state-issued driver’s license
  • High school diploma with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA on official transcripts
  • Birth certificate

The HVAC/R service technician apprenticeship will require students to maintain numerous pieces of equipment, diagnose problems, and take corrective action when necessary.

 

  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Duration: Five years
Local-420

The Steamfitters Local 420 Union Association, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a mechanical equipment apprenticeship training program that includes instruction in HVAC skills. The trade also includes repairing, overhauling and replacement of refrigeration condensers, compressors, metering devices, cooling towers, and evaporators.

 

Prior experience in HVAC or mechanics is not required to apply to the program. Upon completion of the five-year apprenticeship, technicians will be members of the local union and able to take up union jobs.

 

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and have a valid state-issued driver's license. Applicants should also be highly interested in performing physical work that the trade entails, as well as prepare to work in remote areas, sometimes alone.

 

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Duration: Five years
Local-Union-#58

In Southeastern Colorado, plumbers, pipefitters, and service journeymen including HVAC technicians are represented by Local Union #58. This union offers apprenticeship training for all the occupations they represent. The HVAC apprenticeship lasts five years and consists of fieldwork, in addition to class instruction two nights per week for the duration of the five-year term. The JATC (Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee) facilitates this apprenticeship program.

 

Comprising of both classroom instruction and on-the-job training, the curriculum of this apprenticeship program includes isometric drawing, trade-related math, plan reading, OSHA classes, welding and cutting, soldering and brazing, black flow prevention, medical gas installation, steam, air conditioning, and hydronics.

 

Minimum age for qualification is 18 years and applicants are required to submit a high school diploma or GED with scores along with a transcript of courses, birth certificate, records of previous work experience, a valid driver’s license, and social security card.

 

  • Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Duration: Five years
Local-Union-#25

Local Union #25 in Rock Island, Illinois offers apprenticeship training for HVAC technicians. The program at Local #25 is intensive, consisting of at least 10,000 hours of on-the-job work and more than 1,000 hours of required classroom training, and is taught by certified journey people.

 

Union HVAC technicians can specialize in commercial or industrial instrumentation, commercial construction, commercial or industrial maintenance, energy management systems, digital control instrumentation, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and refrigeration.

 

Applicants for this apprenticeship must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. The actual supervision and selection of this apprenticeship program is done by a joint apprenticeship committee, consisting of experienced labor and management professionals.

 

This apprenticeship program is registered through the Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, U.S. Department of Labor. After completing this program, students reach journeyperson status.

 

  • Location: Rock Island, Illinois
  • Duration: Five years
Mechanical-Trades-Institute

The Mechanical Trades Institute in Atlanta, Georgia offers an HVAC apprenticeship program, open to any student with at least two years of experience in commercial construction. Students without the requisite experience must first apply for the plumber and pipefitters apprenticeship. After two years, they will be eligible to apply for the HVAC program.

 

This apprenticeship training program consists of a five-year program with a minimum of 1200 classroom hours and 8,500 minimum on the job training hours. UA Local 72 has service technicians who can service any size or type of HVAC/R system. These technicians are extensively trained for not only repairing systems but also tackling failures and maintenance issues.

 

  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Duration: Five years
Minneapolis-Pipefitters-Joint-Apprentice-Training-Committee

The Minneapolis Pipefitters Joint Apprentice Training Committee out of Local Union #539 has apprenticeship opportunities for aspiring HVAC service technicians as well as pipefitters. Apprentices earn credits towards an associate degree while completing the five-year program and earning a paycheck and union benefits.

 

This HVAC/R service technician job will require technicians to troubleshoot, diagnose, repair, install, service and maintain HVAC/R systems and equipment found in hospitals, commercial buildings, supermarkets, manufacturing and industrial plants. They will also be required to climb, bend, stoop, crawl, kneel, lift and work in extreme temperature ranges.

 

Technicians for this apprenticeship must have a good understanding of science, electricity, refrigeration, temperature control, and heat transfer. Applicants must successfully complete a two-year day school course in residential and commercial HVAC/R service prior to applying for the service apprenticeship program.

 

The apprenticeship program is 8,750 hours of on the job training and a minimum of 1080 hours of related classroom training in a five-year period.

 

  • Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Duration: Five years
Northeast-Wisconsin-Technical-College

At Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, Wisconsin, HVAC apprentices will complete at least 7500 hours of training over the course of four years. In addition to on-the-job instruction, apprentices spend more than 500 hours in the classroom at NWTC for HVAC training and attend night classes for training in job safety, first aid, and CPR.

 

To qualify for this apprenticeship program, students must have a high school diploma or GED, be at least 18 years of age, have a valid driver's license, and submit a copy of their birth certificate.

 

Apprentices in this apprenticeship complete work experience in the following areas:

 

air balance, start-up, combustion controls, and certification of comfort systems; the installation of heating and cooling systems; and maintaining equipment connections.

 

  • Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Duration: Four years
Pipe-Fitters-Local-Union-#211

The Pipe Fitters Local Union #211 in Houston, Texas offers apprenticeship programs for pipefitters, welders,and HVAC service technicians. The program lasts for five years and consists mainly of on-the-job hours and classroom training. At the end of the program, the apprentice will have established him or herself as a member of the union and can begin to earn journeyman level wages.

 

Pipefitting, welding, and HVAC service apprentices are paid for on-the-job training, and they also attend night classes twice a week or over the weekend.

 

  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Duration: Five years
Refrigeration-and-Air-Conditioning-Contractors-Association

The Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association was founded in the Tampa Bay region in Florida. The RACCA apprenticeship program trains HVAC technicians over the course of four years, with on-the-job training year-round and classroom instruction in the air conditioning off-season from September to March.

 

The following two apprenticeship programs are offered:

 

  • Residential/Light Commercial HVAC Installer/Servicer
  • Commercial Refrigeration Mechanic

This apprenticeship program is registered with Florida’s Department of Education, following standards set by the US Department of Labor.

 

  • Location: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
  • Duration: Four years
Sheet-Metal-Workers-International-Association-Local-#17

The Joint Apprentice and Training Committee at the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local #17 in Boston, Massachusetts offers an apprenticeship program that covers a wide variety of sheet metal work including HVAC service. Training includes drafting, math, sheet metal layout, service work, architectural sheet metal, field installation, welding, sheet metal sketching, blueprint reading, plastic, residential heating, CAD, testing, adjusting and balancing of air and water systems and HVAC.

 

Apprentices must be at least 18 years of age and submit three letters of recommendation, a copy of their high school transcripts, and a copy of a diploma or GED with the grades for admission to the program.

 

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Duration: Five years
Sheet-Metal-Worker-International-Association-Local-#206

In San Diego, California the Sheet Metal Worker International Association Local #206 represents and trains sheet metal workers including HVAC technicians. The Local 206 apprenticeship program consists of a state-certified 8000 hours of on-the-job training plus 960 hours of classroom instruction over the course of the five-year program.

 

All apprentices will receive safety training and also be required to take CPR, first aid, fall protection, and safety training. Training includes specification and blueprint reading, CAD (computer-aided drafting), sketching and drafting, welding, HVAC service work, testing and balancing of air systems, and green technologies.

 

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma or GED certificate, and provide a copy of a photo ID and a proof of age document such as birth certificate or passport. Applicants must also pass a drug test, physical exam, and physical abilities test.

 

  • Location: San Diego, California
  • Duration: Five years
UA-Local-21

UA Local 21 represents plumbers, steamfitters, and HVAC technicians across Westchester, Putnam, Duchess, and Ulster counties in New York. The Local 21 HVAC apprenticeship consists of 8500 hours of fieldwork as well as 246 hours of classroom instruction. At the end of the five-year program, apprentices can apply their work towards an associate's degree in construction supervision. This apprenticeship program is registered with the New York State Department of Labor.

 

The related training subjects include math, science, plan reading and drawing interpretation, applicable shop labs, and building codes. Apprentices have the option to specialize in the following:

 

  • Plumbing or Steamfitting
  • Mechanical Equipment Service (HVAC)

In addition to the technical instruction, apprentices also receive training in customer relations, OSHA safety courses, and sexual harassment awareness.

 

  • Location: Peekskill, New York
  • Duration: Five years
Western-Washington-Sheet-Metal-Joint-Apprentice-Training-Committee

The Western Washington Sheet Metal Joint Apprentice Training Committee (JATC) offers HVAC apprentices the chance to learn the trade in a state-certified, five-year program. The JATC offers the following apprenticeships:

 

  • Sheet metal worker - Includes 9,000 hours of on-the-job training where apprentices attend 200 hours per year of related classroom instruction.
  • HVAC service technician - This also includes 9,000 hours of on-the-job training where apprentices attend the same number of hours as that of sheet metal workers
  • HVAC testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) technician - This program includes 9,000 hours of on-the-job training, 160 hours per year of classroom instruction.
  • Residential sheet metal worker - This includes 5,400 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of coursework in the classroom.

Applicants for admission must be at least 18 years of age and upload copies of their driver’s license, high school transcript or GED scores and proof of auto insurance to the application.

 

  • Location: DuPont, Washington
  • Duration: Sheet metal worker, HVAC service technician, HVAC TAB technician programs (five years); Residential sheet metal worker program (three years)

Methodology

As you can see from this list, there are HVAC apprenticeship programs located in every corner of the country and there is no way this list could include all of them. Instead, we have culled available apprenticeships according to some basic criteria, which we outline below.

  1. State Approval - The US Department of Labor regulates apprenticeship programs throughout the country with a specific set of standards. The apprenticeships on this list all adhere to the US and local state requirements for an approved apprenticeship, which means they include a minimum number of on-the-job hours and classroom training activities.

  2. Geographic Variety - While there are generally more apprenticeship opportunities available in larger states, we wanted to be sure to include programs throughout the country. Most prospective apprentices will not be willing to uproot themselves for this type of opportunity so for the sake of usefulness, it was important to create a list with geographic variety apparent.

  3. Union Diversity - A number of the apprenticeship programs listed here are affiliated with local unions that maintain a Joint Apprentice Training Committee (JATC). While these programs are generally thorough and offer some of the best wages available, we wanted to be sure to also include those programs for which joining a union was not required.

Farheen Gani

Farheen is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).

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