HVAC Training Schools in Phoenix, AZ – Degrees, Certifications & Salary

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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. 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.

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, AZ

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 (2019) reported that 342,040 HVAC jobs currently exist nationwide, and workers in this industry earned an average of $51,420 per year.

Also, the BLS (Sep. 2019) predicted that 46,300 HVAC jobs would be added to the workforce between 2018 and 2028. This 13 percent growth is more than 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 3,330 jobs would be added to the HVAC industry in Arizona alone between 2016 and 2026—an expansion of 41.7 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 (2020) yielded 437 results with companies and organizations such as Tungsten Mechanical, REEIS, Delta Home Services, United Rentals, Inc, Grand Canyon Air and Heating, Mesa Energy, Parker and Sons, and DISH, among others. A similar search on Monster (2020) produced 823 results with organizations, including Arizona State University, Hackney, Inc., KBR Technology Solutions, Alliance Comfort Systems, Cyber Coders, EMCOR Group, Knight Transportation, and more.

HVAC Worker Salary in Phoenix, AZ

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019), 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 $48,730 per year, or $23.43 per hour.

In more detailed terms, here were the salary data for HVAC mechanics and installers across the U.S., as well as in Arizona and the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area:

United States Arizona Phoenix, AZ
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 342,040 9,600 7,540
Average $51,420 $47,580 $48,420
10th Percentile $30,610 $31,260 $31,760
25th Percentile $37,660 $36,200 $36,850
50th Percentile $48,730 $45,280 $46,100
75th Percentile $62,070 $57,090 $58,000
90th Percentile $77,920 $67,930 $69,690

Accredited HVAC Schools in Phoenix, AZ

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 44 and 48 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.

For those looking to finish their education in a shorter time frame, 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, AZ 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.

Becca Brewer

Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by healing herself into wholeness, divesting from separation, and walking the path of the loving heart. Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.