HVAC Training Programs in Arizona

Connect With HVAC Schools

In the Arizona desert heat, sometimes an educated and professional HVAC technician is the only person standing between a homeowner and another unbearable summer. It should come as no surprise that the concentration of HVAC technician employment in Arizona (AZ) is considerably higher than the rest of the country. Temperatures can vary widely in Arizona — from the hot and dry heat of the summer to frigid desert nights in the winter. Without a reliable HVAC system, things can get not only uncomfortable, but downright unbearable.

In order to take advantage of this widespread need for HVAC technicians in the Grand Canyon State, interested students should be prepared to dedicate themselves to their education and to finding an approved training program. Those who have not yet mastered HVAC repair and installation may look to the many HVAC schools in Arizona offering thorough training in the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in the field.

Arizona HVAC technicians who have completed an HVAC training program may pursue an HVAC license from the state in order to begin working independently. HVAC technicians in Arizona may be licensed in either Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Commercial Refrigeration, or Comfort Heating, Ventilating, and Evaporative Cooling. Each license has its own requirements, so keep reading to learn how to start down the correct path towards an HVAC career in Arizona.

Featured Online Programs


Take the first step towards your HVAC certification

Online HVACR Technician Career DiplomaRequest Info
Online Automotive HVAC Essentials Certificate Request Info
Online Solar Installation Skills - PV / ThermalRequest Info

Prepare to meet refrigerant handling qualifications. Prepare for the EPA Section 608 exam.

Online HVAC Professional Certification Training.Request Info

How to Become an HVAC Technician in Arizona

Professional HVAC technicians can take different paths to the career, but the following steps are the most common for technicians in Arizona.

  • Step 1: Complete High School (4 years) – While completing high school is not strictly required for becoming an HVAC technician, a high school diploma or GED will be hugely beneficial in applying to HVAC training programs. Students who want to pursue this career should be sure to excel in science and math courses, particularly physics and circuitry. If vocational programs are offered in HVAC repair, this is also highly recommended.

  • Step 2: Enroll in an HVAC Program (1 – 2 years) – A formal training program is not part of the requirements set forth by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, however, aspiring HVAC technicians should not expect to be able to find work experience without some foundational knowledge of HVAC systems. Ideally, students should look for a program that is accredited by HVAC Excellence or the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Depending on whether the student wants to earn a certificate of completion or a degree (typically an Associate of Applied Science or AAS), the timeline for these programs can vary from 1 to 2 years.

  • Step 3: Seek Out On-the-Job Training (2 to 4 years) – In order to be qualified for licensure in Arizona, new HVAC technicians must have a minimum number of verifiable years of experience. Comfort Heating, Ventilating, and Evaporative Cooling requires 2 years of experience while both refrigeration licenses require at least 4 years of experience.

  • Step 4: Apply for Arizona Licensure – With the requisite number of years of supervised professional experience, HVAC technicians can apply for licensure with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Along with proof of experience, technicians must submit official scores from the state approved trade exam.

Outlook for HVAC Jobs in AZ

The demand for HVAC technicians in Arizona is massive. According to CareerOneStop, an employment data site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, demand for HVAC technicians in Arizona is expected to increase by a whopping 43% from 2012 to 2022. Over a similar time span (2014 to 2024), the increase in demand across the U.S. will only be around 14%. In fact, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ metropolitan area is among the top 10 areas with the highest employment levels for this career, with 4,080 professionals employed in that area alone (BLS, 2015).

This kind of demand and employment density means this could be the ideal time to start an HVAC career in the Copper State.

As of May 2015, a total of 6,670 HVAC technicians were employed in Arizona, earning a mean annual salary of $45,280, which is slightly lower than the mean salary in the U.S. overall, which stood at $47,380 for the same period.

To break the data down even further, the range of salaries for HVAC techs in Arizona is:

  • 10th percentile: $29,840
  • 50th percentile (median): $41,680
  • 90th percentile: $64,130

The location where an HVAC technician works can also have an impact on how much he or she is able to make. The top paying regions in Arizona, along with their median annual salaries, are as follows:

  • Tucson, AZ: $49,060
  • Yuma, AZ: $44,850
  • Phoeniz-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: $41,190
  • Flagstaff, AZ: $41,020
  • Prescott, AZ: $37,940

While the median salaries in Arizona are overall a bit lower than the median for the entire country, HVAC technicians working in Arizona can expect a fairly low cost of living, meaning their paychecks can go quite a bit further than they would in another state like California or New York.

In terms of demand for technicians, the following cities in Arizona have the highest number of employed technicians:

  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: 4,080
  • Tucson, AZ: 1140
  • Prescott, AZ: 220
  • Yuma, AZ: 210
  • Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ: 100

It is clear from this data that HVAC technicians in the Phoenix metropolitan area, where approximately 25% of the state’s total population resides, will have the best chance of finding a position quickly.

Arizona HVAC Certification

There are three categories of licenses offered for HVAC technicians in Arizona, all of which are available through the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. The C-39 license, for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration is applicable to those technicians wanting to engage in “Installation, alteration, and repair of refrigeration and evaporative cooling systems.” A C-39 license also allows the recipient to work with solar technology. The class “C” indicates that this is a license for Specialty Residential Contracting.

The C-49 license, indicated solely for Commercial and Industrial Refrigeration, is an appropriate choice for those technicians who will engage in “Installation, alteration, and repair of refrigeration equipment and systems used for processing, storage, and display of food products and other perishable commodities.” This license includes “commercial, industrial, and manufacturing processes requiring refrigeration.”

The final license relevant for HVAC technicians is the C-58 license, indicated for Comfort Heating, Ventilating, and Evaporative Cooling. This license is specific to the “Installation, alteration, and repair of warm air heating systems, gas fired furnaces and space heaters, ventilation and evaporative cooling units, or any combination of these.”

One of these licenses is required to bid on any HVAC repair or installation job with an expected price of $750 or more. That means the majority of full-time HVAC technicians would do well to acquire a license. You must have at least 4 years of experience as an HVAC technician and pass a trade-specific exam in order to obtain either license.

Finding Accredited HVAC Training Programs in Arizona

In order to choose from among the best HVAC schools in Arizona, it is a good idea to evaluate which schools have been accredited, either as an institute of higher education or specifically for their HVAC program. For example, technical schools in Arizona may be evaluated and subsequently accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation, or another similar independent organization.

In addition to accreditation, post-secondary schools in Arizona must be licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education with a regular vocational program license or regular degree granting license. Those institutions that are still in the process of becoming accredited may have a provisional license while accreditation is finalized.

Vocational HVAC schools in AZ may be accredited by such industry specific organizations as the Partnership for Air-conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) or HVAC Excellence, both of which evaluate HVAC programs for their faculty, curriculum, and other factors. Interested parties can find out more about PAHRA’s specific accreditation process by visiting the Accreditation page on their website. It is important to note that while accreditation can be a good indicator of the quality of a program, it does not come with any guarantees of employment. Further, Arizona licensure for HVAC professionals has no accreditation requirements.

Currently, the only HVAC program accredited by PAHRA is GateWay Community College in Phoenix, which has earned its accreditation from PAHRA. GateWay offers the following HVAC programs at its Phoenix campus:

  • Associate in Applied Science Degree in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration/Facilities
  • Certificate of Completion in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Facilities
  • Certificate of Completion in Residential and Light Air Conditioning

The AAS degree requires approximately 75 units to complete and include general education courses while the certificate programs require between 22 and 47.5 credits and do not result in a degree.