HVAC Training Programs in Arizona

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In the Arizona (AZ) 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 is considerably higher than the rest of the country with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) reporting that the Phoenix metropolitan area has the third highest concentration of HVAC technicians in 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 dangerous.

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 a professional 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 about occupational demand, salary predictions and training oppportunities in the state of Arizona.

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Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in AZ

The demand for HVAC technicians in Arizona is massive. In the US as a whole, the BLS predicts that demand for HVAC technicians will grow by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026 (2017). However, according to Projections Central, that same span of time is expected to see an incredible 41.6 percent growth in demand for HVAC professionals in Arizona (2017). This growth rate means more than 3,300 more jobs in the field over just 10 years.

As alluded two above, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ metropolitan area is among the top five areas with the highest employment levels for this career, with 6,140 professionals employed in that area alone (BLS, 2017).

HVAC professionals may work in a range of environments monitoring the performance of existing HVAC systems, performing routine maintenance, troubleshooting issues, and installing new systems in new or renovated buildings. HVAC jobs in Arizona may call for knowledge of various types of heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems such as geothermal, oil-burning, and electric. Certifications from national credentialing organizations such as North American Technician Excellence (NATE) or HVAC Excellence can also enhance an HVAC technician’s job candidacy.

Since many HVAC contracting companies perform regular maintenance on equipment for customers in Arizona and systems generally need to be replaced every ten years, there is a steady stream of employment. Furthermore, there are seasonal spikes in activity for Arizona HVAC workers during the sweltering summers so these professionals may be called upon to work evenings, weekends, or holidays to meet client demand.

There are HVAC opportunities available across all of the main job-hunting websites such as CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, and others. As proof of point, Indeed (Oct. 2018) posted more than 600 openings for HVAC workers at Phoenix Air Dynamics, Arizona State University, AccuTemp, and Orion Home Services, to name a few.

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

Arizona HVAC Technician Salary Data

As of May 2017, a total of 8,020 HVAC technicians were employed in Arizona, earning a mean annual salary of $46,440, which is somewhat lower than the mean salary in the U.S. overall, which stood at $49,530 for the same period.

To break the data down even further, the range of salaries for HVAC techs in Arizona as compared to the country at large is as follows:

United States (307,060 HVAC workers): $49,530 annual average salary

Arizona (8,020 HVAC workers): $46,440 annual average salary

Annual salary Hourly salary
United States Arizona United States Arizona
Average $49,530 $46,440 $23.81 $22.33
10th percentile $29,120 $26,280 $14.00 $12.64
25th percentile $36,150 $34,200 $17.38 $16.44
50th percentile $47,080 $44,080 $22.64 $21.19
75th percentile $60,270 $56,710 $28.98 $27.27
90th percentile $75,330 $67,160 $36.22 $32.29

When reviewing any state or local salary data, is important to consider the cost of living in that area. For instance, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2018) Arizona is ranked 27th in terms of affordability, making it about average, with the cost of utilities being somewhat higher (likely due to the aforementioned summer months).

Not surprisingly, salaries also vary by region of employment. Phoenix and Tucson enjoy the highest salaries in the state. Following is a breakdown of the number of HVAC workers employed, average salaries, and percentile figures among the 8 BLS-designated regions of Arizona (BLS 2017):

Arizona nonmetropolitan area (110 HVAC workers employed): $36,030 annual average salary

Arizona nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $36,030 $17.32
10th percentile $24,320 $11.69
25th percentile $30,330 $14.58
50th percentile $35,250 $16.95
75th percentile $39,230 $18.86
90th percentile $53,490 $25.72

Flagstaff, AZ (60 HVAC workers): $40,490 annual average salary

Flagstaff, AZ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $40,490/td>

$19.47
10th percentile $27,170 $13.06
25th percentile $30,030 $14.44
50th percentile $41,310 $19.86
75th percentile $48,770 $23.45
90th percentile $57,440 $27.62

Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ (180 HVAC workers): $40,740 annual average salary

Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $40,740 $19.59
10th percentile $20,810 $10.00
25th percentile $20,820 $10.01
50th percentile $38,370 $18.45
75th percentile $57,010 $27.41
90th percentile $70,530 $33.91

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ (6,140 HVAC workers): $47,440 annual average salary

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $47,440 $22.81
10th percentile $26,490 $12.74
25th percentile $34,270 $16.48
50th percentile $44,650 $21.47
75th percentile $57,880 $27.83
90th percentile $70,450 $33.87

Prescott, AZ (210 HVAC workers): $39,560 annual average salary

Prescott, AZ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $39,560 $19.02
10th percentile $23,210 $11.16
25th percentile $33,360 $16.04
50th percentile $39,960 $19.21
75th percentile $47,350 $22.77
90th percentile $55,330 $26.60

Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ (100 HVAC workers): $35,920 annual average salary

Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $35,920 $17.27
10th percentile $25,930 $12.47
25th percentile $30,330 $14.58
50th percentile $35,410 $17.02
75th percentile $40,070 $19.26
90th percentile $48,580 $23.36

Tucson, AZ (1,050 HVAC workers): $46,450 annual average salary

Tucson, AZ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $46,450 $22.33
10th percentile $31,960 $15.37
25th percentile $37,840 $18.19
50th percentile $46,130 $22.18
75th percentile $55,810 $26.83
90th percentile $63,130 $30.35

Yuma, AZ (160 HVAC workers): $39,800 annual average salary

Yuma, AZ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $39,800 $19.13
10th percentile $21,790 $10.48
25th percentile $28,520 $13.71
50th percentile $37,230 $17.90
75th percentile $53,970 $25.95
90th percentile $60,830 $29.25

Finding Accredited HVAC Training Programs in Arizona

To become an HVAC technician, proper training is required. Some technicians choose to pursue an appreticeship with a local labor union, such as the UA Local 469, based in Phoenix. An apprenticeship allows for aspiring HVAC technicians to earn a salary (typically a percentage of their eventual union wage) while learning in a hands-on environment. HVAC apprenticeships are coupled with classroom learning for a well-rounded experience and excellent employment prospects upon completion.

Those that would perfer a more traditional classroom route also have options in Arizona. 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 (AAS) 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 65 to 71 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.

Mohave Community College, offers an HVAC training program at its Bullhead and Lake Havasu campuses. While MCC does not offer a degree program in HVAC, they do offer certificates for both residential HVAC and commercial refrigeration. Both programs require just 17 credits to complete and those credits may be eligible to transfer to a degree program for those students who wish to continue their education.

Those Arizona students who are unable to complete an on-campus program may want to consider online HVAC training. For more information on programs available in an online format, visit the online HVAC training page on this site.

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.

In addition to state specific licensing as well as any licensing that a municipality may require, all HVAc technicians working with refrigerants must obtain the EPA Section 608 certification. Most HVAC training programs prepare students to sit for this exam during the course of their training but some individuals may need to obtain this on their own. Four types of Section 608 certification are available so new technicians should choose the one that is most applicable to the work they will do:

  • Type I: For servicing small appliances
  • Type II: For servicing or disposing of high- or very high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and MVACs
  • Type III: For servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances
  • Type IV: Universal

Anyone interested in becoming an HVAC technician in Arizona should be sure to verify which credentials specifically are required for the region where they want to work.