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 of 106 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.

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 2020), 7,860 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 (2020) reports that the demand for technicians is expected to increase by 4 percent between 2019 and 2029. That is as fast as the anticipated 4 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 (2021) predicts a 21.4 percent statewide increase between 2018 and 2028.

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 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.

To look at the booming employment climate in Mesa, AZ for HVAC workers, one need not look further than job posting websites such as Indeed and Monster. As proof of point, Indeed (April 2021) had 301 HVAC openings in Mesa, including opportunities at Gilbert Public Schools, Johnson Controls, Clark Heating & Cooling, Trane Technologies, and Arizona Comfort Specialists. Monster (April 2021) boasted 217 positions with employers such as Polaris Refrigeration, Inc, United Rentals, and Arizona State University.

HVAC Salaries in Mesa, AZ

HVAC mechanics and installers nationally received a median salary of $50,590 according to a May 2020 BLS report. Technicians in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ area received an annual median salary of $47,190.

When reviewing any state or local salary data, it is important to consider the cost of living in that area. For instance, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021), Arizona is ranked 32nd in terms of affordability, making it about average, with the cost of utilities and transportation being somewhat higher.

The table below compares national, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals:

United States Arizona Mesa, AZ
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 344,020 10,000 7,860
Average mean wage $53,410 $49,100 $50,070
10th Percentile $31,910 $32,350 $32,910
25th Percentile $39,320 $37,210 $37,830
50th Percentile (Median) $50,590 $46,440 $47,190
75th Percentile $64,350 $58,570 $59,480
90th Percentile $80,820 $68,760 $71,690

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (April 2021), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $32,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,615
  • 90th percentile: $76,000

HVAC and HVAC/R Apprenticeships 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.

Also, 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.

Accredited HVAC and HVAC/R Schools in Mesa, AZ

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.

Gateway Community College

Gateway Community College offers the following HVAC programs:

  • HVAC residential installation and service technician (day/night) certificate: 667 clock-hours
  • HVAC technician (night) certificate: 728 clock-hours
  • Air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities technology certificate: 44-47.5 credits
  • Air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities degree: 66-74.5 credits

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

The HVAC technician (night) certificate includes courses in Computer Foundations, HVAC basics, systems, installations, and troubleshooting. While the HVAC residential installation and service technician certificate includes courses such as foundations of construction safety, construction calculations, construction drawings introduction, electrical systems, and HVAC for residential systems.

The air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities technology certificate include courses in refrigeration applications and components, preparation for EPA Section 608 exam, electricity, load calculation and duct design, industrial and construction safety, computers motors, controls, and wiring diagrams, instrumentation, codes, and air and water balancing.

The degree program includes all of the above, with the addition of coursework in computers, math, and humanities. Graduates complete 66 to 74.5 credits to earn their degree.

Upon completing, graduates will be qualified to pursue a variety of careers such as as an electrician, HVAC tech, plumber, carpenter, project manager, construction site manager, and foreman.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); PAHRA
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificate (six to 18 months); degree (two years)
  • Estimated Tuition: $85 per credit

National Technical Institute

Licensed by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education, the National Technical Institute offers real-world HVAC/R training with a hands-on curriculum. NTI caters to those who are interested in entering the technical trades and also to those who are already employed. It offers an HVAC install technician program and a certified HVAC/R technician program.

The HVAC install technician program consists of 88 hours including coursework in electrical I: basic electrical theory, electrical II: electrical application, air conditioning & refrigeration fundamentals, and EPA certification seminar & exam.

The certified HVAC/R technician program comprises 192 hours and includes all the above courses with the addition of advanced air conditioning, gas heating seminar, heat pump seminar, HVAC troubleshooting, and commercial refrigeration.

Upon completion, graduates will receive a certificate of completion to prepare them for a career in the workforce.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Expected Time to Completion: Three to four months
  • Estimated Tuition: Certified HVAC/R technician ($6,895); HVAC install technician ($3,255)

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 can 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, and advanced troubleshooting.

Graduates may be qualified to seek employment as entry-level technicians. They can take up roles such as HVAC/R service technician, refrigeration service technician, HVAC/R installation technician, refrigeration installation technician, commercial refrigeration technician, restaurant & retail refrigeration technician, and low-temperature field technician.

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Six months
  • Estimated Tuition: $15,485

Pima Community College

An HVAC/R technician certificate program offered by Pima Community College provides students with the skills and knowledge for building a successful career in HVAC. Covering topics such as diagnostic methods and working principles of electricity, mechanics, and electronics this HVAC/R training program provides training in the installing, repairing, maintaining, and servicing of HVAC/R systems.

Comprising 33 credits the curriculum is divided between hands-on training in labs and classroom lectures. The curriculum includes instruction in construction and technical math, service professionalism, soldering and brazing, job safety, basic rigging, using hand and power tools, residential and industrial HVAC, reading blueprints, trade and technical writing, and career planning.

Courses covered in this certificate form the HVAC concentration for the building and construction technology associate of applied science (AAS) degree program. Students complete an additional curriculum that includes soldering and brazing, advanced residential and industrial HVAC, sustainability, science, and humanities. Graduates complete a total of 63 to 65 credits to earn their AAS degree.

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 32 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: In state resident ($87 per credit); non-resident ($308.50 per credit)

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, or on the HVAC certifications guide.

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.

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 the necessary credentialing before beginning work.

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.