Accredited HVAC Schools in Tucson, AZ
In the past, HVAC technicians were able to start as helpers and learn the trade through on-the-job training. It is still possible to do so, but most workers now attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship program.
Apprenticeships include around 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom work 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 apprenticeship opportunities are sorted by region. Several are offered in Tucson, including HVAC.
SMART Local 359 offers an apprenticeship program that includes HVAC training. The program takes five years to complete and includes a total od 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.
Sun Mechanical, a Tucson HVAC contractor, offers an apprenticeship program for full-time employees. Trainees learn job safety, how to use computers, project management, how to read blueprints, and soldering and brazing. Costs and employment obligations are not disclosed on the website.
Additionally, 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 students choose to complete an accredited training program. Accreditation involves an evaluation of the quality of an educational institution’s program by an independent agency. The evaluation includes both the curriculum and the instructors, and when choosing a school, 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 (Phoenix, AZ), and HVAC Excellence, which has not currently accredited an Arizona program.
Pima Community College
Pima offers an HVAC/R technician certificate program. The curriculum includes instruction in:
- Service professionalism
- Construction and technical math
- Basic rigging
- Soldering and brazing
- Job safety
- Using hand and power tools
- Reading blueprints
- Residential and industrial HVAC
- Trade and technical writing
- Career planning
Students complete 33 credit-hours divided between hands-on training in labs and classroom lectures. Please note that the certificate coursework forms the HVAC concentration for the building and construction technology associate of applied science (AAS) degree program. Students complete additional curriculum that includes soldering and brazing, advanced residential and industrial HVAC, sustainability, science, and humanities. Graduates complete a total of 63 to 65 credit-hours to earn their degree.
- Location: Tucson, AZ
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Tuition: $82.50 per credit-hour
- Program length: 32 weeks (certificate); self-paced (degree)
Gateway Community College
Gateway offers a pre-apprenticeship construction program designed for beginners. The curriculum includes:
- OSHA-10 certification
- Hand and power tools
- Reading blueprints
- Materials handling
- Green construction
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 is divided between hands-on training in the lab and classroom lectures.
The curriculum for the residential and light air conditioning certificate includes the following:
- Refrigeration applications and components
- Section 608 preparation
- Load calculation and duct design
- Industrial and construction safety
The air conditioning, refrigeration, and facilities technology certificate requires completion of the above and adds the following:
- Motors, controls, and wiring diagrams
- 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 to 71 credit-hours to earn their degree.
- Location: Phoenix, AZ
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC); PAHRA
- Tuition: $85 per credit-hour
- Program length: 18 – 24 months (certificate); two years (degree)