Glendale, CA HVAC Training Schools – Programs & Training

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Glendale, California (CA) is the fourth-largest city in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. It’s also part of the San Fernando Valley urban area. Glendale has grown from a suburb of Los Angeles to a thriving community based on its own merits. The city has a pro-business reputation. New businesses, including Dunkin’ Donuts and Five Guys restaurant, have recently moved to Glendale, joining companies such as International House of Pancakes and the label maker Avery Dennison.

Cities in the San Fernando Valley, including Glendale, are home to the entertainment industry and related businesses. Companies like Disney, Warner Bros., Universal Studios, and Dreamworks Animation contribute significantly to the economy. The diversified economy also includes aviation and defense-related businesses. Healthcare and professional services round out the economic base.

The area is characterized by short and hot summers followed by winters that are longer, cooler, and wetter. Summer temperatures average the upper 80s to low 90s during the day, cooling to the low 60s in the evening. It can get much hotter, and Glendale has experienced record-setting temperatures of 110 degrees in June and July. Very little rain falls during the summer, with July receiving barely measurable amounts and the other warm months averaging less than half-an-inch each. December and January are typically the coldest months, averaging temperatures in the upper 60s. Daytime temperatures in the remaining winter months hover in the low 70s. Lows all winter are in the 40s and rarely drop below freezing. February can be colder some years, and the record-setting coldest day on record was a brutal 17 degrees. February is also the wettest month, receiving an average of five inches of rain. January and March average about four-and-a-half-inches each month. Snow coats the mountains and hillsides near Glendale, but seldom falls in the city.

The climate allows residents of Glendale to enjoy many outdoor activities. However, they depend on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort in their homes and workplaces. Many businesses require customized climate control systems not only for the comfort of workers, but also to keep their electronics operating efficiently. Entertainment and hospitality venues typically require the addition of refrigeration (HVAC/R).

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, which includes Glendale, as of May 2018. The following industry organizations provided training and support to the workers:

  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Association/Mechanical Contractors Association of America – ARCA/MCA Southern California
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc Southern California Chapter
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers
  • Institute of Heating and Air Conditioning Industries, Inc
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of the Greater Los Angeles Area
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association
  • The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association
  • UA Steam-Refrigeration-Air Conditioning-Pipefitters Local 250

These and similar industry groups coordinate with other groups and government agencies to establish educational, licensing, and performance standards. They serve all aspects of the HVAC and refrigeration industry to ensure the safety of technicians and the public.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Glendale, CA

HVAC and HVAC/R technicians can expect a 13 percent increase in new job openings nationwide between 2018 and 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019). The data also indicates that new positions for all US occupations are expected to increase by 5 percent during that same decade. California HVAC technicians can expect even more job opportunities than the national predictions. Projections Central anticipated a 19.6 percent statewide increase in the demand for new technicians between 2016 and 2026.

The HVAC and HVAC/R industry is growing for several reasons. The primary factor is new construction, followed by the need to replace, retrofit, or upgrade older systems. New or old, climate control systems must meet contemporary standards of pollution reduction and energy efficiency.

Also, areas like Glendale that are attracting new businesses have ongoing construction projects, all of which require HVAC. Often, the new facilities are “smart” buildings that create a need for specialized equipment and electronics. Companies that rely on technology, as well as healthcare and university research facilities, demand climate control systems that provide specific levels of humidity, air quality, and temperature.

HVAC Worker Salaries in Glendale, CA

Nationwide, HVAC mechanics and installers received a median salary of $47,610 as of May 2018, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. Technicians in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA area, which includes Glendale, received a median salary of $58,650 during the same year. The higher earnings in the area compensate for the cost of living in California, which is higher than in most US states.

Following is a comparison of national, state, and regional salaries:

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 Glendale, CA

Traditionally, HVAC and HVAC/R technicians found employment as helpers and learned their skills through on-the-job training. Few opportunities for doing so exist today. Workers who attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship program will have the best job opportunities. They typically start at higher wages and potentially earn more throughout their career.

Apprenticeships typically include 2,000 hours of on-the-job experience combined with 144 hours of classroom instruction per year for three to five years. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations maintains a database of apprenticeship programs. As of December 2019, six programs are available, two of which are close to Glendale.

The Los Angeles and Orange Counties Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee offers a 60-month HVAC Service Technician apprenticeship program at the Los Angeles Training Center, and the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc Southern California Chapter offers a 48-month HVAC workers apprenticeship program in Anaheim.

Glendale workers who are unable to attend local programs can obtain their training from industry associations that offer HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association

Details as to schedules and fees are available on their websites.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Glendale, CA

Workers choosing to attend a school should first confirm that it is accredited. Accreditation is a process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of the curriculum and instructors of a program.

Two industry organizations are responsible for accrediting HVAC programs. 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 School

BTS, a private school, offers the following programs:

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

A master commercial/domestic program has been available in the past but is not currently accepting students.

HVAC/R coursework is a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on training in a fully equipped shop. Coursework may be completed during the day or in the evening. Students also have the option of completing portions of the classroom work online in the blended program.

The curriculum in all the programs 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 to take the exams for industry certifications, including EPA Section 608 and 410A.

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

Capstone College

An HVAC technician certificate program is available at Capstone, which is a private school. The program is taught in modules, and students may start with the module of their choice. They may attend classes during the day or in the evening. The coursework is divided between classroom lectures on theory and hands-on practice in the lab. The curriculum includes HVAC trade orientation, human relations, safety, first aid, construction math, fundamentals and theory of HVAC, tools, materials, electricity, schematics, codes and regulations, HVAC systems, brazing and soldering, sheet metal installation, and refrigerants and preparation for the Section 608 test.

Students must complete all modules to receive their certificate, and graduates are qualified to seek employment as residential or light commercial HVAC/R technicians.

  • Location: Pasadena, CA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuous Education and Training
  • Tuition: $14,800
  • Format: On-campus
  • Program Length: Day 30 weeks; evening 48 weeks

Cypress College

Enrollees at Cypress can choose an HVAC/R degree program or one of an extensive selection of certificate programs. The programs include the following:

  • 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 – 38.5-39

Students learn about 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 60 units, which includes all the technical curriculum as well as general education coursework that includes humanities, social sciences, mathematics, oral and written communication, problem solving, professional development, physical sciences, and cultural diversity.

With prior approval, students may enroll in more than one certificate program at a time. They select technical coursework relevant to the certificate they are seeking. They do not have a general education requirement to earn certificates.

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

El Camino College

El Camino students are offered an HVAC degree program and certificate programs from which to choose. Currently available certificate programs include:

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

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

Degree-seeking students add customer service, commercial refrigeration, and automation systems to the basic technical coursework. They also select from technical electives that include cooperative work experience, computer information systems, construction technology, and business, as well as general education coursework. They complete a total of 60 units to earn their degree.

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

Los Angeles Trade Technical College

LATTC is a community college that offers a refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics certificate and a degree program. Although the coursework for both programs is available during the day or in the evening, students must choose either the day or the evening track. Combining tracks is not permitted, as there are slight differences in the curriculum. Required technical curriculum for both programs 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 the fundamentals of electricity.

Technical electives for both programs 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 select 42 units of coursework. Degree-seeking students complete 48 units of technical coursework and add a minimum of 12 units of general education electives to earn a total of 60 units required 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
  • Tuition: $46 per unit
  • Format: On-campus
  • Program Length: Certificate one year; degree two years

Mount San Antonio Community College

Mt. SAC students may earn an HVAC/R technology certificate or an HVAC/R technology degree. Credits in either program may be transferred to a bachelor’s degree program if they first consult with an academic advisor. Both programs present coursework through classroom lectures followed by hands-on training in the lab.

Students earn their certificate at the completion of 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.

Students in the degree program complete 60 units that include all the technical curriculum in addition to general education coursework that includes communication, critical thinking, science, art and humanities, social science, and electives. A work-study option is available for students seeking on-the-job experience.

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

UEI College

UEI is a private trade school with several campuses that offer HVAC training. Three that are close to Glendale are Anaheim, Encino, and Huntington Park. Students are taught via a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on practice in a modern lab.

The curriculum includes instruction in electricity, motors, and controls; refrigeration theory and application; HVAC; troubleshooting; heat pump systems; heating systems and boilers; duct design, reading blueprints, load calculation; commercial and specialized refrigeration systems, green awareness; regulations; and building automation.

The coursework also includes preparation for the Section 608 and R-410 certification exams. An externship completes their studies. Passing the Section 608 exam is required for graduation. Passing the R-410 exam is advised but not required for graduation. Graduates receive a diploma and are prepared to seek entry-level employment as HVAC and HVAC/R technicians.

  • Location: Anaheim, Encino, and Huntington Park, CA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuous Education and Training
  • Tuition: $19,900
  • Format: On-campus
  • Program Length: 36 weeks

Aspiring technicians in Glendale who are unable to attend one of the above schools may find that online HVAC training at an accredited online school may enable them to complete their HVAC studies.

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Glendale, CA

Part of the coursework at most schools is preparation for industry certification exams. The most important certification is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608, which Federal law requires all technicians who handle refrigerants to obtain. The certification exam tests the technician’s ability to handle refrigerants safely. Four levels of certification are available based on the type and size of equipment the technician on which the technician works. Technicians who work on all HVAC and HVAC/R equipment should take the exam for Universal certification. Practice exams are available.

Industry certifications, including Section 608, that improve a technician’s employability and potentially increase their pay are available from organizations such as the following:

  • HVAC Excellence
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)

There is also more information on the HVAC certifications page, as well as on each organization’s web page.

As a final note, the California Contractors State Licensing Board does not require an employed HVAC or HVAC/R technician to obtain licensing. Employed technicians are not allowed to advertise their services, as that reclassifies them as self-employed. Self-employed technicians are required to be licensed as specialty contractors. HVAC contractors need a C-20 license, and HVAC/R contractors need a C-38 license.

Applicants must pass exams in business, trade, and law. Those with proof of five years of journey-level experience with a licensed contractor may obtain an exam waiver. All applicants must also submit proof of the following:

  • 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. The initial license and renewals require a fee.

The City of Glendale requires all companies doing business within the city to register and obtain a business registration certificate. The initial registration fee is $265.42, and the annual renewal fee is $59.48.

Licensing agencies can always modify their guidelines. HVAC technicians are, therefore, encouraged to ensure that they comply with state, county, and city licensing agencies before working on any project.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.