HVAC Schools & Technical Training in Anaheim, CA

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Disneyland opened in 1955 in Anaheim, California. Since then, the Disney-related tourist facilities and Anaheim itself have undergone tremendous changes and growth. Thousands of motels, hotels, and other hospitality venues have been added, with no slowdown in growth anticipated.

Although tourism remains the mainstay of the economy, Anaheim is also home to thousands of diverse companies that include AT&T, General Dynamics, Hewlett-Packard, Kaiser, and Raytheon. Dozens of manufacturing centers produce items such as aircraft parts, electronic components, chemicals, and communications equipment. The city’s “Powerful Partnership for Business” offers loans, subsidies, and new construction and energy efficiency incentives to keep the economy growing.

Anaheim, California (CA) is close enough to the Pacific Ocean that residents enjoy generally mild weather, especially during the winter months. Temperatures from December through March are in the low 70s F during the day. Evenings cool down into the high 40s. It’s extremely rare for temperatures to drop below freezing; however, the winter months receive the heaviest rainfall, with more than three inches of rain in February alone. The weather begins heating up in April, and by June, the temperature reaches the 80s. It climbs to nearly 90 degrees during August, before starting to drop back into the 70s in November. Summer evenings bring relief from the daytime heat, with temperatures in the upper 50s and low 60s. Rainfall during the summer months is scant.

Residents of Anaheim rely on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort in their homes and workplaces when temperature or humidity keeps them indoors. Hospitality venues and industrial facilities require the addition of refrigeration (HVAC/R), with many buildings needing specialized climate-control equipment and systems.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019), 8,100 HVAC mechanics and installers were employed in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA area as of May 2018. Technicians and their employers benefit from training and support services provided by industry organizations that include the following:

  • Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Association/Mechanical Contractors Association of America – ARCA/MCA Southern California
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc Southern California Chapter
  • Orange County – Associated General Contractors of California
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California (PHCCA)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association
  • UA Steam-Refrigeration-Air Conditioning-Pipefitters Local 582 and 250

These and similar industry groups cooperate with regulatory agencies and others to set educational guidelines and establish performance standards for the safety of technicians and the public.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Anaheim, CA

The BLS (2019) expects a 13 percent increase in employment opportunities for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians nationwide between 2018 and 2028. That’s much faster than the 5 percent increase they expect for all occupations during the same decade. The outlook in California for technicians is even brighter. Projections Central anticipates a 19.6 percent statewide increase in new positions between 2016 and 2026.

New construction drives most of the growth in the HVAC industry, and that is especially true in Anaheim. The continued growth, coupled with the city’s construction incentives, means new structures are being built at a rapid pace. Modern environmental standards, combined with the energy efficiency incentives and the need to reduce pollution, lead to the replacement, retrofitting, or upgrading of climate control equipment in existing buildings. “Smart” buildings, industrial centers, and businesses that depend on electronics create an additional need for complex HVAC systems.

The sophisticated climate-control equipment used in contemporary buildings requires trained technicians for installation, maintenance, and service. Technicians should be skilled troubleshooters, electronics-savvy, and proficient in using computers. Those who specialize in new installations may occasionally experience unemployment. Anaheim is predicted to continue growing, and technicians can expect full-time employment in the foreseeable future.

Technicians who focus on maintenance and service can also expect year-round employment as businesses and homeowners need to keep their systems in good operating condition regardless of the economy.

HVAC Salaries in Anaheim, CA

BLS data show that HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide were paid a median salary of $47,610 as of May 2018. Technicians in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA area were paid an annual median salary of $58,650 that same year. The difference in earnings isn’t as dramatic as it appears, as the cost of living in California is higher than in most U.S. states.

For a comparison of national, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals, see the table below:

United States California Los Angeles- Long Beach- Anaheim, CA
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 324,310 27,720 8,100
Average Annual Salary $50,160 $58,130 $61,060
10th Percentile $29,460 $32,900 $32,760
25th Percentile $36,520 $39,610 $43,000
50th Percentile (Median) $47,610 $55,140 $58,650
75th Percentile $60,900 $70,020 $76,770
90th Percentile $76,230 $94,380 $97,120

HVAC Apprenticeships in Anaheim, CA

Traditionally, workers who wanted to become HVAC technicians took entry-level jobs as assistants. This gave them the opportunity to learn the trade through on-the-job training. Such opportunities have decreased significantly, and workers seeking employment now need to be trained, either by participating in an apprenticeship program or by attending formal classes. They not only will have more job opportunities, but also can potentially start at higher wages and earn more during their career.

Apprenticeship programs vary but usually require a commitment of three to five years. Apprentices receive an average of 2,000 hours of supervised on-the-job training and must complete an average of 144 hours of classroom work each year. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations maintains a database of HVAC apprenticeship programs.

Several apprenticeships are currently available in the Anaheim area. As of October 2019, the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) sponsors a 60-month HVAC service technician apprenticeship program at the Los Angeles Training Center, and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc Southern California Chapter sponsors a 48-month HVAC apprenticeship program in Anaheim.

The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California also offers a 60-month residential and commercial HVAC/R service and repair apprenticeship in Sacramento. Additionally, Kern & Northern Los Angeles Counties Air Conditioning & Sheet Metal Workers JATC have two sheet metal apprentice programs.

Long Beach City College also offers a free Construction Apprenticeship Readiness Program that includes HVAC. The curriculum is based on the Los Angeles County/Orange Counties Buildings & Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO’s nationally-recognized Multi-Craft Curriculum (MC3). Subjects include blueprint reading, industry awareness, hand and power tools, and tool safety among others. Students can also earn certificates in CPR, First Aid, and OSHA 10. Graduates are prepared to enter union apprenticeship programs or seek entry-level employment.

Apprenticeship programs for workers who are unable to attend local programs may be available from national industry associations such as the following:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc (ABC)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)

Details about curriculum, fees, and requirements are available on their websites.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Anaheim, CA

Accreditation is a process through which an institution’s curriculum and instructors are evaluated by an independent agency. Before choosing a school, workers should ensure that it is accredited.

HVAC programs are accredited by two industry organizations. The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) has awarded accreditation to Mount San Antonio Community College in Walnut, CA. HVAC Excellence has accredited the following programs:

  • Brownson Technical School, Anaheim CA
  • Cypress College, Cypress, CA
  • El Camino College, Torrance, CA
  • Mount San Antonio Community College, Walnut, CA
  • North American Training Center, Redlands, CA

Brownson Technical College

Brownson, a private school, offers the following programs:

  • HVAC/R technology 40-week on-campus program
  • HVAC/R technology 88-week on-campus program
  • HVAC/R technology blended, online/on-campus 40-week program

Although not currently available, a master commercial/domestic refrigeration program has been taught in the past and may be presented again in the future.

The coursework includes classroom lectures and hands-on training in a fully-equipped shop. Students may attend lectures during the day or in the evening, or they may opt to complete portions of the classroom work online in the blended program.

The curriculum includes the following coursework: thermodynamics, refrigeration, copper works, electrical, HVAC system components, installation and servicing, customer service, light commercial HVAC, gas heating, direct digital and other controls, heat pumps, ice machines, and building performance. Students are also prepared for industry certifications including EPA Section 608 and 410A.

  • Location: Anaheim, CA
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Tuition: $17,220
  • Format: On-campus and online
  • Program Length: As noted above

Cypress College

Cypress offers students an HVAC/R degree program and an extensive selection of certificate programs:

  • Mechanical systems core – 12 units
  • A/C building commissioning – 24 units
  • A/C codes and estimating – 23 units
  • Commercial air conditioning – 25 units
  • Commercial refrigeration – 21.5 to 22 units
  • Heat pumps – 24 units
  • HVAC/R project management – 21 units
  • A/C environmental controls – 25.5 to 26 units
  • HVAC/R – 38.5 to 39 units

The technical curriculum includes: thermodynamics and heat transfer; air conditioning; piping, tools, and safety; blueprint reading and dimension analysis; refrigerants; customer relations; electricity; gas heating and carbon monoxide; boilers and hydronic heating; commercial refrigeration; A/C controls and energy management; heat pumps; building commissioning; load calculations; commercial A/C; codes and estimating; and HVAC special products.

Degree-seeking students complete all of the technical curriculum as well as general education coursework in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, oral and written communication, problem solving, professional development, physical sciences, and cultural diversity. It takes 60 units to earn their degree.

Students in the certificate programs select technical coursework relevant to the certificate they are seeking. They may enroll in more than one certificate program at a time with approval from their academic advisor. The certificate programs do not have a general education requirement.

  • Location: Cypress, CA
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
  • Tuition: $46 per unit
  • Format: On-campus
  • Program Length: Certificates vary; degree two years

El Camino College

Students at El Camino College can enroll in an HVAC degree program or select a certificate program, such as:

  • Air conditioning – 17 units
  • Air conditioning and refrigeration electric controls – 13 units
  • HVAC/R – 39 units
  • Refrigeration – 13 units

Certificate programs include basic HVAC coursework, with the addition of coursework relevant to the kind of certificate sought: electricity, heating technology, A/C fundamentals, energy control and system optimization, and electronics and controls.

Degree-seeking students complete all technical coursework included in the certificate programs with the addition of customer service, commercial refrigeration, and automation systems. They also select from technical electives that include cooperative work experience, computer information systems, construction technology, and business. They are also required to complete general education coursework for a total of 60 units to earn their degree.

  • Location: Torrance, CA
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
  • Tuition: $46 per unit
  • Format: On-campus
  • Program Length: Certificates vary; degree two years

Los Angeles Trade Technical College

The LATTC offers refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics certificate and degree programs. Coursework for both programs is offered during the day or evening schedules. Students must choose either the day or evening track and are not permitted to combine scheduling, as there are slight differences in the curriculum.

The required technical curriculum includes the following: the fundamentals of refrigeration; HVAC/R principles; calculations and measurements; pipe and tube joining processes; electrical circuits and controls; refrigeration system components; refrigeration service; indoor air quality; compression systems of refrigeration; and fundamentals of electricity.

Technical electives include OSHA safety standards; the fundamentals of physics; HVAC project management; piping principles and practice; gas heating systems; ice storage air conditioning; mechanical codes; EPA Section 608 certification; refrigeration system efficiency factors, and cooperative education.

Students in the certificate program complete a total of 42 units. Degree-seeking students complete 48 units of technical coursework and at least 12 units of general education electives for a total of 60 units to earn their degree. Graduates are qualified to seek employment as residential, commercial, and industrial HVAC/R technicians.

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
  • Tuition: $46 per unit
  • Format: On-campus
  • Program Length: Certificate one year; degree two years

Mount San Antonio Community College

Students may earn an HVAC/R technology certificate or an HVAC/R technology degree at Mt. SAC. Coursework for both programs is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on training in the lab. Credits earned in either program may be transferred to a bachelor’s degree program if students first consult with an academic advisor.

Students seeking a certificate complete 31.5 units in the following: technical math; welding; codes and standards; refrigeration fundamentals; electrical fundamentals; gas heating; heat load calculations and design; air properties and management; and mechanical refrigeration.

Degree-seeking students complete the technical curriculum as well as general education coursework that includes communication, critical thinking, science, art and humanities, social science, and electives, for a total of 60 units to earn their degree. Students who desire on-the-job experience may select a work-study option.

  • Location: Walnut, CA
  • Accreditation: PAHRA; HVAC Excellence; Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
  • Tuition: $46 per unit
  • Format: On-campus
  • Program Length: Certificate one year; degree two years

Summit College

Summit offers HVAC/R training at three campuses, including the one closest to Anaheim in Santa Ana. Coursework is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on practice in the lab. The curriculum is scheduled for both day and evening attendance and includes the principles of heat, energy, and pressure; electrical systems and components; brazing; commercial refrigeration and environmental systems; HVAC system design; residential and commercial HVAC/R; refrigerants; and green job training.

Students will also complete an externship. Graduates are qualified to take the EPA Section 608 exam and seek employment as entry-level commercial, industrial, and residential HVAC technicians.

  • Location: Santa Ana, CA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
  • Tuition: $12,845.00
  • Format: On-campus
  • Program Length: Nine months

Anaheim students who are unable to attend a local school may find that online HVAC training at an accredited online school may best meet their needs.

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Anaheim, CA

Technicians who work with refrigerants are required by federal law to obtain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 certification. Certification requires passing an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. The four levels of certification are based on the size and type of equipment installed, maintained, or serviced. Technicians who work on all equipment should obtain Universal certification. Further information and practice exams are available on the EPA website.

Industry organizations, including the following, offer additional training, Section 608 certification, and other certifications for technicians wishing to improve their employability:

Further information may be found on each website. There is also more information on the HVAC certifications page.

State licenses are not required for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians who are employed. Self-employed technicians are required to obtain a contractor’s license from the California Contractors State Licensing Board. HVAC contractors are classified as specialty contractors. HVAC contractors obtain C-20 licenses, and HVAC/R contractors obtain C-38 licenses.

Applicants must pay the relevant fees, pass exams in business, trade, and law, and then submit proof of the following to obtain a license:

  • Four years of journey-level experience
  • At least $2,500 in working capital
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • General liability insurance
  • A bond

Licenses are renewed every two years. Applicants who can submit proof of five years of journey-level experience with a licensed contractor may obtain an exam waiver.

Finally, the City of Anaheim requires any company doing business in the city to obtain a business license. Fees are based on information such as the number of employees and gross receipts.

As licensing agencies always have the option of changing their guidelines, HVAC technicians are encouraged to ensure they comply with state, county, and city licensing agencies before working on any project.

Barry Franklin

Barry is the Editor in Chief of HVACClasses.org, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures, which he joined as partner in 2013 after almost 20 years in the financial software industry.