HVAC Training in Chandler, AZ – Schools & Programs

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The climate of Chandler, Arizona (AZ) is hot and dry. Most months receive less than an inch of rain. The exceptions are August, February, and March, each of which receives slightly more than an inch. Snowfall is extremely rare, even in the coldest months. The highest temperatures are during the summer when the mercury soars above the 100-degree mark, although it is usually less than 110 degrees. July and August have experienced record-setting highs around 120 degrees. Low temperatures in the summers are in the 70s. During December and January, the daytime temperatures hover in the 60s. The average winter low temperatures are in the high 40s to low 50s.

Like most of the other East Valley communities, Chandler’s economy was based on agriculture. It’s now evolved into a center for high-tech industry, earning it the nickname of Silicon Desert. Starting with Intel, Chandler is now home to many companies that manufacture microchips, semiconductors, and other technological components.

Chandler is also an “automotive-tech hub” and is a test site for Waymo. According to the City’s economic development director, “because of the large and growing number of tech and service professionals here, our region is poised to become a hotbed for these firms.” One analyst said that, “Growth in the area is buoyed both by interest from new companies moving to Chandler and expansion by existing businesses.” Companies that are part of the financial technology industry, such as PayPal, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, are well-established in the area. A two-million square foot data center is under construction.

The weather makes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) essential for comfort for Chandlerites whether relaxing at home, working, or participating in leisure activities. Many of the commercial facilities require the addition of refrigeration (HVAC/R) to keep all their electronics functioning correctly. Any building housing a data center needs specialized climate-control systems to prevent equipment failure.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2018) records show that 6,220 HVAC and HVAC/R mechanics and installers were employed in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ, area, which includes Chandler. The technicians and their employers are supported by industry organizations such as the following:

  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
  • American Subcontractors Association of Arizona
  • Arizona Construction Trades
  • Mechanical Trade Contractors of Arizona
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
  • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Arizona Chapter

Organizations such as these network work with regulatory agencies and others in the industry to establish educational and licensing standards. They coordinate safety, performance, promotion, and other guidelines for the HVAC and HVAC/R industry to ensure the safety of technicians and the public.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Chandler, AZ

The data accumulated by the BLS (2019) shows an increasing demand for professional HVAC and HVAC/R technicians. Nationwide, a 13 percent increase in job openings is anticipated between 2018 and 2028. That is much faster than the average of 5 percent expected for all occupations in the US in the same timeframe. Opportunities for technicians in Arizona are even more favorable. Projections Central predicts a 41.7 percent increase statewide, which is more than three times the national rate, in new positions between 2016 and 2026.

Construction of new buildings in Chandler and beyond accounts for most of the job opportunities for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians. Not only is the population of Chandler increasing, creating a need for more housing, but the high-tech industries also require specialized facilities and state-of-the-art climate control systems. Most of the East Valley region is part of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and is home to numerous small communities. That means that Chandler doesn’t have a lot of unused space left in which to expand, so older buildings are being put to new use. Repurposing those structures creates additional demand for HVAC and HVAC technicians to replace, retrofit, or upgrade existing systems to meet current safety codes, energy efficiency goals, and pollution reduction standards.

Trained technicians are required to install, service, and maintain the complex HVAC equipment and systems needed to meet contemporary demands for climate control. Technicians who understand electronics, are proficient in using computerized systems, and are skilled troubleshooters generally have the best job opportunities.

Occasionally, technicians who specialize in new installations may experience seasonal unemployment. The growth of Chandler’s electronic components manufacturing and technology-related industries shows no sign of decreasing. The population also continues to grow, and technicians can expect full-time work in the foreseeable future. Technicians who specialize in maintenance and repair services can also expect year-round employment, as homeowners and businesses need to keep their equipment in good working order regardless of the economy.

HVAC Salaries in Chandler, AZ

BLS (2019) data shows that HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide earned a median salary of $47,610 during the year ended May 2018. Technicians in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ area, which includes Chandler, earned an annual median salary of $43,520. The difference in the pay rate can be significant as the average cost of living in Arizona is greater than the national index.

Details of national, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals are below:

United States Arizona Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 324,310 8,020 6,220
Average Annual Salary $50,160 $46,040 $46,710
10th Percentile $29,460 $26,570 $26,330
25th Percentile $36,520 $34,210 $34,350
50th Percentile (Median) $47,610 $43,190 $43,520
75th Percentile $60,900 $54,490 $55,340
90th Percentile $76,230 $66,710 $69,130

HVAC Apprenticeships in Chandler, AZ

Untrained workers can sometimes find employment as helpers and learn the trade through on-the-job training. Every year, there are fewer opportunities for workers to do so. Those who complete an apprenticeship or obtain formal training continue to have the most employment opportunities. They typically start at higher wages and enjoy greater earnings throughout their career.

In general, apprenticeships include 2,000 hours of on-the-job training combined with 144 classroom hours annually for three to five years. Workers can find training resources and information on registered apprenticeships at the Arizona Department of Economic Security Apprenticeship Office.

HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs also are available from national industry associations that include:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association

Their websites include information on coursework offered, schedules, and fees.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Chandler, AZ

Accreditation is the process of evaluation of a school’s program by an independent agency. The evaluation includes both the curriculum and the instructors. Before selecting a school for training, it is essential to determine if it is accredited and which organization granted accreditation.

Two industry organizations evaluate and accredit HVAC programs: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), which has awarded accreditation to Gateway Community College in Phoenix, AZ; and HVAC Excellence, which has not currently accredited an Arizona program.

East Valley Institute of Technology

EVIT’s HVAC/R certificate students learn via classroom lectures followed by hands-on practice in the lab. The curriculum includes training in electrical wiring and maintenance, air distribution and balancing, electronic controls and circuits, HVAC/R installation, service, and repair, and appliance repair. Graduates are eligible to take the EPA Section 608 and NATE certification exams.

  • Location: Mesa, AZ
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education (COE)
  • Tuition: $5,400
  • Program length: Ten to 12 months

Gateway Community College

Gateway offers two HVAC certificate programs and one HVAC degree program. The curriculum and credit hours required for each follow:

  • Residential and light air conditioning certificate (22-25 credit-hours): The curriculum includes computer use and applications, refrigeration applications and components, electricity, load calculation and duct design, industrial and construction safety, and preparation for the EPA Section 608 exam.
  • Air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities certificate (44-47.5 credit-hours): The curriculum includes the above as well as motors, controls, wiring diagrams, instrumentation, codes, air and water balancing, and facilities HVAC systems.
  • Air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities degree (72-74.5 credit-hours): Students complete all of the above technical coursework with the addition of general education coursework in math, humanities, composition, and communication.

Coursework for all programs is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on training in the school’s labs.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); PAHRA
  • Tuition: $85 per credit hour
  • Program length: Certificate (18 to 24 months); degree (two years)

The Refrigeration School, Inc.

RSI is a private school that offers students an HVAC/R program during day and evening classes. Coursework is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on training in a modern lab. Equipment in the lab allows instructors to program real-life troubleshooting problems for additional practice. The coursework includes the fundamentals of electricity and refrigeration, residential and commercial HVAC systems, refrigeration systems and practices, and advanced troubleshooting.

Graduates are qualified to seek employment as entry-level technicians.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition: $15,950
  • Program length: Six months

UEI College

UEI, which is a private college, offers students an HVAC diploma program that includes classroom lectures and hands-on training in the lab. The coursework includes instruction in electricity, motors, controls, refrigeration theory and application, air conditioning, troubleshooting, heat pumps, heating systems, boilers, duct design, blueprint reading, load calculations, commercial refrigeration and specialized systems, regulations, and building automation. Students must also complete an externship to graduate. Their studies prepare them to take the EPA Section 608 and R-410A certification exams. The cost of taking each exam for the first time is included in the tuition.

Students are expected to wear uniforms and maintain a professional appearance at all times. Graduates are qualified to seek entry-level employment as HVAC and HVAC/R technicians.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training
  • Tuition: $19,900
  • Program length: Nine months

Chandler students who are unable to complete an on-campus program may choose distance-based HVAC training. More information on available programs may be found on the online HVAC training page.

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Chandler, AZ

Technicians are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to obtain EPA Section 608 Certification, which includes passing an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. There are four types of certifications according to the size and kind of systems on which technicians work:

  • Small appliances – Type I
  • High-pressure appliances, except small appliances and motor vehicle air conditioning – Type II
  • Low-pressure appliances – Type III
  • All types of equipment – Universal or Type IV

Certifications, including Section 608, and additional training are available from industry organizations, including:

Their websites contain details on scheduling and fees.

The State of Arizona Registrar of Contractors has ruled that any job exceeding $1,000 for labor and materials must be performed by a licensed contractor. Contractors may obtain residential, commercial, or dual residential/commercial licensing.

For HVAC contractors, these are designated as residential R-39; commercial C-39 or C-58; and dual CR-39 or CR-58. Each designation has guidelines as to the type of work allowed. Applicants for any license must pass a business management exam and an HVAC exam. They are also required to submit proof of experience, pass a background check, and submit an insurance bond. The amount of the bond depends on the type of license and the volume of work performed.

The fee for an HVAC residential license is $720; for an HVAC commercial license, $580; and for an HVAC dual residential/commercial license, $850. Licenses must be renewed every two years. The renewal fees are $540, $480, and $650, respectively.

Maricopa County does not require contractors to obtain additional licensing, although the City of Chandler requires all businesses to register. Candidates must complete an application that details ownership of the company. Depending on how the company is legally organized (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation), applicants may need to submit proof that they are in the US legally. The registration fee is $45 and registrations must be renewed annually. The renewal fee is also $45.

As licensing guidelines are always subject to change, HVAC technicians are encouraged to ensure that they comply with any requirements before starting a project.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.