Mesa, AZ HVAC Training Schools & Certification

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The Mesa, Arizona (AZ) city fathers have designated healthcare, education, aerospace, and tourism as the primary industries with the greatest growth opportunities. Companies that already have a presence in Mesa include Apple, Boeing, Infineon, Bridgestone, Mitsubishi, Textron, and Dexcom. Overall, opportunities in healthcare, manufacturing, and bioscience are skyrocketing.

Also, downtown Mesa is home to several sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and numerous other historic properties that draw tourists. The city continues with redevelopment and preservation projects. Championship golf courses are another big tourist attraction.

Its location in the Sonoran Desert means that Mesa has hot and dry summers. July is usually the hottest month, with temperatures that reach an average 106 F. Record highs bump 120 F. Summer nights cool to the mid-to-high 70s. Winter gives residents relief from the heat, with daytime temperatures in the 60s and the nighttime temps dropping into the 40s. Although freezing temperatures are a rarity, the record low is 15 F.

Not surprisingly, Mesa residents rely on heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) year round for comfort in their workplaces, leisure venues, and homes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2017), 6,140 HVAC mechanics and installers were employed in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ, area. State and local chapters of industry organizations also provide training and support to the technicians, including:

  • American Subcontractors Association of Arizona (ASA-AZ)
  • Arizona Construction Trades (ACT)
  • Home Builders Association of Central Arizona (HBACA)
  • Mechanical Trade Contractors of Arizona (MTCAZ)
  • National Association of State Contractors – Arizona Members (NASCLA)
  • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Arizona Chapter (SMACNA AZ)

Explore how to become an HVAC professional in Mesa, AZ, including information about accredited training schools and local credentialing.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Mesa, AZ

Demand for HVAC technicians is growing nationwide. The BLS (2018) reports that the demand for technicians is expected to increase by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. That is more than twice than the anticipated 7 percent average increase projected for all occupations in the U.S. Also, the demand for technicians in Arizona is growing much faster than the national average. Projections Central predicts a 41.6 percent statewide increase for the same decade.

The complexity of modern climate control equipment and systems is one of the primary reasons behind the growth of the HVAC and HVAC/R industry. Older equipment and systems must be replaced, retrofitted, or upgraded to meet industry standards. The sophisticated technology driving the economy in Mesa requires extensive and modern systems. The contemporary emphasis on energy efficiency and reducing pollution is another reason for the increased installation of new equipment and systems.

Technicians with superior troubleshooting skills as well as those who are computer and electronics literate typically have the best job prospects. Technicians who specialize in new installations may experience seasonal unemployment if construction declines, although the expanding economy and technology-based industry in Mesa make that unlikely in the near future. Maintenance and repair work doesn’t depend on new construction, as businesses and homeowners depend on keeping their climate control systems in good operating condition regardless of the economy.

HVAC Salaries in Mesa, AZ

The BLS reports that HVAC and HVAC/R mechanics and installers nationally receive a median salary of $47,080 annually. Technicians in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area receive an annual median salary of $44,650.

Here is a detailed breakdown of national, statewide, and local salary percentiles in HVAC:

United States Arizona Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale AZ
Number of HVAC Workers Employed 307,060 8,020 6,140
Average Annual Salary $49,530 $46,440 $47,440
10th Percentile $29,120 $26,280 $26,490
25th Percentile $36,150 $34,200 $34,270
50th Percentile (Median) $47,080 $44,080 $44,650
75th Percentile $60,270 $56,710 $57,880
90th Percentile $75,330 $67,160 $70,450

Accredited HVAC and HVAC/R Schools in Mesa, AZ

In the past, HVAC professionals in Mesa were able to start as helpers and learn the trade through on-the-job training. A few still do so, but opportunities for untrained workers are rare. Most workers now attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship program. Formal training and apprenticeships can open up more employment opportunities.

Apprenticeships include approximately 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and around 144 classroom hours annually for three to five years. The Arizona Department of Economic Security Apprenticeship Office provides information for workers seeking to obtain job skills. Employers and associations offering HVAC and other apprenticeship opportunities are sorted by region. Programs and positions for Mesa are listed in the Phoenix Metropolitan region.

SMART Local 359 offers an apprenticeship program that includes HVAC training. The program takes five years to complete and includes 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 720 hours of coursework through the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS). Classes are taught in the evenings at the Phoenix facility. The cost is $855 annually.

The adult education department at East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) in Mesa has formed a partnership with the Arizona Builders Alliance to offer paid apprenticeships. HVAC/R is among the programs available. Details are available on their website.

In addition, workers seeking HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs can find several available through national industry associations such as:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

Information as to coursework offered and the cost is available on their websites.

Other aspiring HVAC professionals in Mesa choose to enroll in accredited formal diploma, certificate, or degree programs. Accreditation is an evaluation of the quality of an educational institution’s program by an independent agency. The evaluation includes both the curriculum and the instructors. When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited and which organization granted accreditation.

Two main 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.

Please note that all of the following programs have been accredited by a regional authority.

East Valley Institute of Technology

In addition to the above-noted partnership for apprenticeship training, EVIT offers an HVAC/R certificate program. Students receive training in the following:

  • Electrical maintenance
  • Residential, commercial, and industrial wiring
  • Air distribution and balancing
  • Electronic controls and circuits
  • How to install, service, and repair air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating equipment
  • Appliance repair

Graduates are eligible to sit for the EPA Section 608 exam 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 a newcomers pre-apprenticeship construction program. The curriculum includes instruction in:

  • OSHA-10 certification
  • Using hand and power tools
  • Reading blueprints
  • Rigging
  • Materials handling
  • Green construction
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Computers

The tuition is $1,062, and graduates are awarded a certificate of completion. Gateway also offers the following HVAC programs:

  • Residential and light air conditioning certificate: 22-25 credit-hours
  • Air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities technology certificate: 44-47 credit-hours
  • Air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities degree: 72-74 credit-hours

Coursework for all three programs is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on training in the school’s labs. The residential and light air conditioning certificate includes the following curriculum:

  • Refrigeration applications and components
  • Preparation for EPA Section 608 exam
  • Electricity
  • Load calculation and duct design
  • Industrial and construction safety
  • Computers

The air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities technology certificate adds the following coursework to the above:

  • Motors, controls, and wiring diagrams
  • Instrumentation
  • Codes
  • Air and water balancing

The degree program includes all of the above, with the addition of coursework in computers, math, and humanities. Graduates complete 65-71 credit-hours to earn their degree.

  • 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, a private school, offers HVAC/R training in day and evening classes. Students learn through classroom lectures and hands-on training in a modern lab. Instructors are able to program real-life troubleshooting problems using electronic equipment. The curriculum includes coursework in:

  • Fundamentals of electricity
  • Fundamentals of refrigeration
  • Residential and commercial comfort systems
  • Refrigeration systems and practices
  • Advanced troubleshooting

Graduates may be qualified to seek employment as entry-level technicians.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Tuition: $15,710
  • Program length: Six months

HVAC Certification & Licensing in Mesa, AZ

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires technicians who work with refrigerants 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 systems on which technicians work:

  • Servicing small appliances – Type I
  • Servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and motor vehicle air conditioning – Type II
  • Servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances – Type III
  • Servicing all types of equipment – Universal or Type IV

Technicians may obtain additional training and certifications from industry organizations, which also offer Section 608 testing and certification. These include the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and HVAC Excellence. Details are available on each website.

The State of Arizona Registrar of Contractors has three classifications of licensing: residential, commercial, and dual residential/commercial. Any job that exceeds $1,000 for labor and materials must be performed by a licensed contractor.

There are several types of HVAC contractor licenses available: residential R-39; commercial C-39 or C-58; and dual CR-39 or CR-58. Each license has a specific definition as to the type of work allowed or restricted. All applicants must pass a business management exam and an HVAC exam. They must also submit proof of experience, pass a background check, and submit an insurance bond. The amount of the bond is calculated based 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. Biennial renewal fees are $540, $480, and $650, respectively.

As a final note, Maricopa County does not require additional contractor licensure. However, the City of Mesa requires contractors to complete a form verifying state licensing. All HVAC professionals in the area are encouraged to verify that they have all necessary credentialing prior to beginning work.

Barry Franklin

Barry is the Editor in Chief of, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures, which he joined as partner in 2013 after almost 20 years in the financial software industry.