HVAC Schools in Phoenix, AZ

Connect With HVAC Schools

Phoenix, Arizona is one of the best locations in the United States to begin a career in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Virtually all Phoenix residents rely on some form of climate-control throughout the year in this arid city, where the maximum temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the minimum winter temperatures can dip into the 40s, according to the National Weather Service. Furthermore, the city recently made international headlines for cancelling flights due to soaring temperatures. In sum, the HVAC industry is thriving in Arizona’s capital.

To support these skilled workers, there’s a wealth of professional HVAC organizations, which provide benefits, educational resources, and other support to members. The Mechanical Trade Contractors of Arizona (MTCAZ) is a non-profit trade association for HVAC contractors (among others) in Arizona. This organization provides innovative and hands-on education; networking opportunities throughout the year; business discounts and tools to improve bottom-line performance; and advocacy efforts to state and local governments that protect the HVAC industry and promote quality contracting. This organization also hosts an annual trade show to bring together HVAC contractors from across the country.

Phoenix is also home to the Arizona branch of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), which is part of a system of 2,000 affiliates nationwide. The SMACNA provides education, training, and marketing in a professional manner, and offers an apprenticeship program for aspiring HVAC professionals. Furthermore, SMACNA has published technical manuals that are now the accepted standards for sheet metal and air conditioning, and is continuously updating these publications to help the industry progress.

So what do HVAC workers in Phoenix do? In general, these skilled professionals are tasked with:

  • Verifying compliance with all local and federal regulations
  • Traveling to job sites
  • Keeping service records
  • Testing circuitry and components of HVAC equipment
  • Reading and interpreting blueprints
  • Performing heat load and loss calculations
  • Maintaining all necessary credentialing
  • Soldering and brazing parts
  • Calibrating all controls to manufacturer specifications
  • Offering education to customers on how to conserve energy

Additionally, all prospective HVAC professionals in Phoenix should know that anyone who works with refrigerants needs to maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification, as failing to do so is a violation of the law.

Beginning a new career as an HVAC worker requires a detailed understanding of the industry, an interest in the work of climate control, and some form of hands-on education or training to develop the necessary skills. For aspiring HVAC professionals, the following provides information on salary prospects, licensure and certification requirements, and a handful of accredited programs and schools that offer education and training in the Phoenix area.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Phoenix

The HVAC industry as a whole is slated to grow over the coming years, which should come as promising news to anyone interested in beginning a career in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016) reported that 294,730 HVAC jobs currently exist nationwide, and workers in this industry earned an average of $48,320 per year. Also, the BLS (Dec. 2015) predicted that 39,600 HVAC jobs would be added to the workforce between 2014 and 2024. This 14 percent growth is double the average percentage increase projected across all U.S. occupations. And the future is even brighter for professionals in Arizona. Projections Central found that a total of 3,260 jobs would be added to the HVAC industry in Arizona alone in that same decade—an expansion of 51.4 percent. Many of these jobs will be added in Phoenix.

A number of driving forces are to thank for the rapidly growing HVAC industry in Phoenix. For one, the regulations and laws governing the HVAC industry are constantly in flux, which requires educated and trained workers who can keep up with these changes. In addition, virtually all new construction is built with some form of climate-control system, which demands the help of an HVAC professional. Finally, HVAC systems must generally be replaced every 10 to 15 years, creating the need for additional HVAC workers who can shoulder this burden. These reasons, among a number of others, are helping to ensure the HVAC industry will continue to grow into the future.

To develop a better understanding of the strength of the HVAC industry statewide, a simple online job search demonstrates the abundance of opportunities. For example, a search for “HVAC jobs in Phoenix” on Indeed (Sept. 2017) yielded 335 results with companies and organizations such as JLL, Sears Home Improvement Products, Inc., Grand Canyon University, Emcor, Source Refrigeration and HVAC, and Park Electrochemical Corp., among others. A similar search on Monster (Sept. 2017) produced over 1,000 results with organizations, including Arizona State University, Parker & Sons, Howard Air, PeopleReady, Advanced Comfort Solutions, Inc., Ducts, Inc., and Randstad Engineering.

HVAC Worker Salary in Phoenix

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016), HVAC professionals can earn a fairly high salary throughout their career, particularly relative to jobs at the same education level. The median salary for HVAC workers nationwide was approximately $45,910 per year, or $22.07 per hour. In more detailed terms, here were the salary data for HVAC mechanics and installers across the U.S.:

United States (294,730 HVAC workers): $48,320 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $28,440
  • 25th percentile: $35,440
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,910
  • 75th percentile: $58,960
  • 90th percentile: $73,350

In hourly figures, these salaries amounted to:

United States: $23.23/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $13.67/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.04/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.07/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.35/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $35.26/hr.

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (Sept. 2017), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

United States: 481 HVAC workers responding

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,990
  • 75th percentile: $55,000
  • 90th percentile: $69,000

An additional 2,573 HVAC workers gave Payscale their hourly salary figures, resulting in these percentile wages:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.26/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.00/hr.

The average salary data for Arizona was similar to that of the rest of the United States. The BLS (May 2016) reported that the 6,590 HVAC workers across AZ earned an average annual salary of $45,920 and the following percentiles:

Arizona (6,590 HVAC workers): $45,920 average

  • 10th percentile: $26,840
  • 25th percentile: $34,370
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,720
  • 75th percentile: $55,060
  • 90th percentile: $64,440

In hourly figures, these equated to:

Arizona: $22.08/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $12.90/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $16.52/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $20.54/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $26.47/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.98/hr.

The BLS provides regional data, as well. There are two BLS-designated geographical regions within 100 miles of Phoenix with the following salary figures:

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (4,740 HVAC workers): $47,370 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $27,210
  • 25th percentile: $34,610
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,520
  • 75th percentile: $56,590
  • 90th percentile: $69,120

Prescott (250 HVAC workers): $38,750 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $22,510
  • 25th percentile: $32,480
  • 50th percentile (median): $38,000
  • 75th percentile: $46,890
  • 90th percentile: $54,260

Accredited HVAC Schools in Phoenix

People interested in starting a career in Phoenix’s thriving HVAC industry should know that there are multiple pathways to complete the education or training required. In general, this includes completing a formal degree or an apprenticeship, or otherwise receiving on-the-job training.

Aspiring HVAC workers can complete an associate degree in HVAC at Phoenix’s GateWay Community College, a program that has been accredited by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). To obtain the associate degree, students must complete between 46 and 49 credits on subjects such as refrigeration applications and components, electricity for industry, electro-mechanical devices, commercial air and water test balances, and mathematics for industrial applications, among others. Students also complete hands-on training at the Building Environmental Laboratory at the Johnson Controls Phoenix Institute, located at GateWay Community College. The estimated tuition for the associate degree is $6,518, excluding the cost of books.

For those looking to finish their education in a shorter timeframe, the Refrigeration School, Inc. offers a certificate program in refrigeration technologies. This program can be completed in as few as six months through day and evening classes with a hands-on curriculum. Courses covered include fundamentals of electricity, fundamentals of refrigeration, comfort systems (both residential and commercial), refrigeration systems and practices, and advanced troubleshooting. Those interested in this program are advised to contact the school for more information regarding tuition.

Finally, aspiring HVAC workers also have the option of completing an apprenticeship program, which can be secured with the help of the Arizona Department of Economic Security through one of the many participating organizations in Phoenix. In this program, an apprentice generally completes one to six years of hands-on training, although most last three or four years, during which the apprentice assists a professional team while earning a salary at a percentage of their supervisor. Apprenticeships are highly competitive, largely because they offer education and compensation simultaneously. Apprentices are generally required to complete coursework during the program, as well.

It’s important to keep in mind that it is becoming more common for future HVAC workers to pursue a certificate or degree from an accredited program, which often takes between six months and two years. Currently, two main organizations offer accreditation for local HVAC programs: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence.

Phoenix HVAC Certification and Licensing

As mentioned in the introduction, anyone who handles refrigerants in Phoenix must have the EPA Section 608 Certification. There are four subtypes of this certification are available: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). Virtually all formal training or education programs ensure that graduates are prepared to pass these examinations.

Additionally, there are other skill-specific certifications in Arizona through HVAC Excellence (e.g., Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology Plus); North American Technician Excellence (e.g., Industry Competency Exams or ICE); and the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (e.g., entry-level Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator), among others. These certifications demonstrate that the holder possesses a specific set of skills that may prove beneficial when searching for a job. For more information about the national certifications offered for HVAC professionals, check out the main HVAC certification page.

As a final note, Phoenix’s future HVAC workers should recognize that it is necessary to obtain a license through the AZ government before beginning work. Specifically, contractors need to apply for a C-39 license, an R-39 license, or a CR-39 license for commercial and residential air conditioning and refrigeration, which allow for the installation, alteration, and repair of refrigeration and evaporative cooling systems and related tasks. In order to apply for licensure, applicants must complete the following:

  • Pass the relevant examinations
  • Register a legal entity that will be conducting business
  • Get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS
  • Receive a license bond
  • Obtain workers’ compensation insurance (for a business that has employees)
  • Complete the registrar’s application forms
  • Gather all supporting documents for the application forms
  • Submit the required application fee

Overall, aspiring HVAC workers should make sure to thoroughly research local licensure requirements before undertaking any work. By remaining informed, HVAC professionals can ensure they stay within the bounds of the law as they continue on their career.