HVAC Training Schools in Arkansas

Connect With HVAC Schools

For Arkansas (AR), the nickname Land of Opportunity is especially fitting given its bustling economy for professionals in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R or simply HVAC). Licensed by the AR state government, HVAC workers deal with the design, installation, construction, maintenance, service, repair, alteration, or modification of a product or of equipment that is used for heating, cooling, or ventialtion purposes.

So what specifically do licensed HVAC professionals in Arkansas do? These workers calculate heat loads and losses; maintain detailed customer service records; make efficiency recommendations to clients; read blueprints; troubleshoot components of HVAC systems (e.g., refrigerant controls, hermetic compressors, heat pumps, split systems, ductless splits, water pumps, intake & exhaust fans, unit heaters, electrical circuitry, motors, economizers, humidifiers, etc); use various tools (e.g., manifold gauge set, temperature & pressure charts, multimeters); solder and braze parts; and maintain active licensure through the Arkansas HVAC/R Licensing Board, which must be renewed annually, in addition to any other necessary regional permitting or registration. Also, all workers who deal with the handling or disposal of refrigerants must get a national credential: the EPA Section 608 certification. Some HVAC workers choose to be generalists, while others may specialize in a type of equipment (e.g., commercial refrigeration systems) or technique.

Not only is there a wealth of employment opportunities and a relatively lucrative salary in this field (discussed below), but there is also a supportive working environment within AR. In fact, the Arkansas HVACR Association offers training opportunities, legislative advocacy, benefits such as discounted insurance plans, and other resources to help HVAC professionals in the state.

This guide covers the expected salary for HVAC workers and projected job growth in the industry, as well as accredited schools and license types in AR.

Featured Online Programs

Penn

Take the first step towards your HVAC certification

Online HVACR Technician Career DiplomaRequest Info
Online Automotive HVAC Essentials Certificate Request Info
Online Solar Installation Skills - PV / ThermalRequest Info

Demand for HVAC Workers in AR

As mentioned above, there is excellent news for people looking to enter the HVAC field: it is high-growth and relatively lucrative. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) predicted a 15 percent explosion in HVAC openings across the country between 2016 and 2026, more than double the average growth projected across all occupations during that time period (7 percent). With the expected addition of 48,800 fresh openings nationwide, skilled HVAC professionals are likely to have plenty of opportunities in the coming decade and beyond. In AR, there is evidence that the prospects are even brighter. Projections Central (2017) reported that there would be a 17.7 percent increase in HVAC openings in AR (560 additional jobs) in the coming decade, slightly higher than the national figures.

There are varied forces contributing to this booming employment climate. First, a majority of structures have climate control systems, particularly in areas with seasonal temperature extremes — and the hot, humid summers in Arkansas would certainly qualify. Second, HVAC systems generally need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. Also, with the rise of manufacturer warranties and service contracts, people in this industry may expect regular work throughout the year.

HVAC professionals sometimes work normal business hours, although others may be called upon to work weekends, holidays, or evenings according to the needs of their customers, especially during the high summer season.

Underscoring the healthy demand for HVAC services in AR is the flurry of openings across common job post websites. For example, Indeed (Sept. 2018) had 162 relevant HVAC postings in the state at places such as Baptist Health, Bennett’s Commercial Refrigeration, and Ingersoll Rand. Monster (Sept. 2018) had additional job posts for North Little Rock School District, Bud Anderson Heating & Cooling, and Glen Mechanical, among others.

While the future looks bright in this field, it is important to note that HVAC workers suffer a higher-than-average rate of injury compared to other American occupations. Since these professionals lift heavy equipment, they are at an increased risk for muscle strains and tears; additionally, refrigerants and other chemicals can expose people to burns, and electric systems may deliver shocks. If HVAC workers don the proper safety equipment and are trained adequately in proper procedures, these issues can generally be kept to a minimum.

Arkansas HVAC Technician Salary Data

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017), the salary prospects are very promising in the HVAC field, particularly among occupations requiring only one to two years of postsecondary training. As proof of point, the BLS reported that the 307,060 HVAC workers nationwide earned an average annual salary of $49,530 and enjoyed the following salary percentiles:

United States (307,060 HVAC professionals): $49,530 mean salary

  • 10th percentile: $29,120
  • 25th percentile: $36,150
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,080
  • 75th percentile: $60,270
  • 90th percentile: $75,330

In hourly figures, these salaries became:

United States: $23.81/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $14.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.38/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.64/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.98/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $36.22/hr.

Interestingly, these figures varied slightly by source of data. Payscale (Sept. 2018)—a site which relies on self-reported salaries and has a  notably smaller sample size—found the following salary percentiles among its 882 HVAC workers around the country:

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $36,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $44,410
  • 75th percentile: $56,000
  • 90th percentile: $71,000

Another 4,822 HVAC workers chose to give Payscale (Sept. 2018) their salaries in hourly terms, and had the following percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.24/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.00/hr.

Indeed (Sept. 2018)—another source of online salary data—found that HVAC workers in AR made an average salary of $17.19 per hour. Again, these figures are considered somewhat less reliable than the BLS report due to the smaller sample size and methods of data collection.

The BLS (2017) stated that there were 2,680 HVAC workers in Arkansas with an annual average salary of $38,720. While this is somewhat lower than the national mean, the cost of living in AR is also substantially lower. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2018) reported that AR was the fourth most affordable state in the country, boasting savings in housing, transportation, and healthcare relative to other states.

The BLS (2017) found the following figures for AR-based HVAC workers:

Arkansas (2,680 HVAC workers): $38,720 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $23,100
  • 25th percentile: $29,550
  • 50th percentile (median): $36,850
  • 75th percentile: $46,980
  • 90th percentile: $58,350

Translated into hourly wages, these percentiles became:

Arkansas: $18.62/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $11.11/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $14.21/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $17.72/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $22.59/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $28.05/hr.

Not surprisingly, these salaries also varied by region within AR as well, with the highest salaries paid in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers region ($47,990 average). Here were the numbers of HVAC workers employed, the average salaries, and the wage percentiles among the nine BLS-designated regions in AR (BLS 2017):

East Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area (230 HVAC workers): $36,720 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $21,430
  • 25th percentile: $23,930
  • 50th percentile (median): $33,840
  • 75th percentile: $45,650
  • 90th percentile: $60,100

Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO (450 employed): $47,990 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,040
  • 25th percentile: $37,330
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,400
  • 75th percentile: $58,220
  • 90th percentile: $66,220

Fort Smith, AR-OK (170 employed): $36,590 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $22,000
  • 25th percentile: $26,180
  • 50th percentile (median): $33,340
  • 75th percentile: $44,710
  • 90th percentile: $59,280

Jonesboro, AR (140 employed): $37,010 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $26,670
  • 25th percentile: $30,870
  • 50th percentile (median): $37,090
  • 75th percentile: $44,010
  • 90th percentile: $48,890

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR (1,070 employed): $38,330 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $24,420
  • 25th percentile: $30,780
  • 50th percentile (median): $36,950
  • 75th percentile: $46,030
  • 90th percentile: $55,540

North Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area (340 employed): $31,780 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $19,990
  • 25th percentile: $23,240
  • 50th percentile (median): $31,400
  • 75th percentile: $36,680
  • 90th percentile: $42,140

Pine Bluff, AR(60 employed): $42,860 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $22,520
  • 25th percentile: $30,460
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,970
  • 75th percentile: $53,590
  • 90th percentile: $60,900

South Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area (160 employed): $35,180 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,190
  • 25th percentile: $27,890
  • 50th percentile (median): $33,050
  • 75th percentile: $42,010
  • 90th percentile: $48,630

West Arkansas Nonmetropolitan Area (50 employed): $43,190 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,680
  • 25th percentile: $35,090
  • 50th percentile (median): $39,180
  • 75th percentile: $48,390
  • 90th percentile: $59,640

Accredited HVAC Schools in Arkansas

For aspiring HVAC professionals in Arkansas, there are a couple of accredited training schools available. The two main accreditation agencies nationally are HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). This program-approval process is important in order to establish a baseline standard of preparation and training for the HVAC career. To learn about how programs are evaluated, please visit either of the above websites or the HVAC programs page.

As of September 2018, there were two HVAC Excellence-accredited programs in AR. Arkansas State University—Beebe provides several programs and certificates for HVAC workers, including a 34-hour technical certificate in air conditioning technology. This program features instruction in electrical motors & components; air distribution; materials; gas heating systems; technical mathematics; air conditioning & refrigeration systems; and career communications. For residents, all HVAC programs costs $100 per credit hour while the non-resident cost is $172 per credit hour.

Arkansas Tech University—Ozark also offers several certificate and degree programs such as a 36-hour technical certificate in air conditioning & refrigeration and a 60-hour associate of applied science (AAS) degree in general technology with an HVAC option. The four-semester AAS program has classes such as tubing & piping; industrial safety in air conditioning & refrigeration; basic compression & refrigeration; electronic components; schematics; technical mathematics; residential systems; heat gain & loss; industrial controls; sheet metal; and an internship. This school also has a technical certificate and a certificate of proficiency in facilities maintenance. For residents, the program costs $226 per credit hour, and for non-residents, $452. Note that students from a state contiguous to Arkansas (specifically Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas) are able to enroll at resident rates.

While there are no PAHRA-accredited programs in AR, there are other options available at institutions such as Arkansas Northeastern College of Blytheville, which provides an AAS in general technology with an air conditioning & refrigeration option. Courses include tubing, piping & welding; electrical components & motors; schematics; fundamentals of gas & electric heat; and residential systems. For in-county tuition, students pay only $67 per credit hour, although tuition differs for out-of-county ($77) and out-of-state students ($127).

Finally, University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College (UA-PTC) of North Little Rock also has an AAS program with instruction in HVAC-R principles; computer concepts; fundamentals of electricity; heating systems; unitary refrigeration; systems design; and EPA Section 608 certification preparation. This school also provides a technical certificate, and reported that its tuition for the fall 2018 semester was $132.73 per credit hour (in-state) or $172.55 (out-of-state).

For residents of more rural regions of AR or those with commitments preventing them from attending a traditional, on-campus HVAC program, there are also distance-based programs available. To learn about these schools, please visit the online HVAC programs page.

Arkansas HVAC Licensing

Prior to securing work as an HVAC installer or mechanic, workers in Arkansas are strongly advised to check that they have all necessary credentialing. As mentioned previously, there is one mandatory credential for all people nationally who handle refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 certification. There are four types of this specific certification:

  • Type 1 (small appliance)
  • Type 2 (high-pressure appliances)
  • Type 3 (low-pressure appliances)
  • Type 4 (universal)

A majority of HVAC certificate and degree programs in AR provide preparation for this mandatory certification.

There are other national certifications available from organizations such as North American Technician Excellence (e.g., Industry Competency Exams); HVAC Excellence; and the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association. To discover how to pursue any of these competency-based credentials, please visit the HVAC certifications page.

Lastly, all AR HVAC professionals must have a license from the Arkansas HVAC/R Licensing Board which is affiliated with the Department of Health. Entry-level HVAC professionals in AR must register (at a cost of $25) and gain at least two years of experience before applying for one of the many contractor licenses available. Following is a summary of the types of licenses available in AR and how much they cost:

  • Class A – unrestricted ($200)
  • Class B – restricted to less than 15 tons of cooling capacity or one million BTUs (heating), and less than 15 horsepower ($150)
  • Class C – restricted to repair and servicing only (not installation); systems with less than 15 tons of cooling capacity or one million BTUs (heating), and less than 15 horsepower ($100)
  • Class D – allows licensee to perform sheet metal work on HVAC/R ducts ($150)
  • Class E – unrestricted refrigeration-specific license ($150)
  • Class L – unrestricted license for those 65 and older (free)

These licenses are valid for one year, and while the state currently does not require any continuing education (CE) hours to renew, this may change in coming years as the AR HVACR Association has advocated for the adoption of ongoing training requirements for license renewal.

Finally, HVAC professionals in AR may require additional credentials based on the city or county in which they are performing work, and they are encouraged to verify all necessary credentialing with local administrative authorities prior to beginning any work.