Accredited HVAC Training in Los Angeles
For prospective HVAC technicians in the City of Angels, there are a variety of accredited HVAC programs to get a person prepared for the career.
Although graduating from an accredited program is not essential to qualify for a C-20 contractor license or other essential certifications (e.g., EPA Section 608), the accreditation status of a program can be an indicator of the quality of instruction and indicate to potential employers the rigorousness of preparation in the field. The two main accrediting agencies for these programs are the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence.
Additionally, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits institutions as a whole and is one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Finally, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) accredits distance-based programs. For more information about HVAC program accreditation, please visit the HVACClasses homepage.
So how much education do HVAC techs in LA typically have prior to seeking employment? According to CareerOneStop (2020), here is the distribution of the highest level of educational attainment among HVAC techs nationally aged 25 to 44:
- Less than a high school diploma: 10 percent
- High school diploma or GED: 42 percent
- Some college, no degree: 28 percent
- Associate’s degree: 14 percent
- Bachelor’s degree: 5 percent
- Master’s degree or above: 1 percent
The bulk of respondents have at least a high school diploma, and many have some post-secondary training. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2020) adds that many HVAC professionals are educated in vocational and technical schools over a period of six months to two years, often achieving a certificate or associate degree. While many HVAC techs in the past typically learned their skills on-the-job through apprenticeships and other mentoring programs, these days it’s increasingly common for people in this field to have some formal education before entering the workforce.
Mount San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) in Walnut, California provides an associate of science (AS) degree in air conditioning and refrigeration technology. It is the only California program to have both PAHRA and HVAC Excellence accreditation. Mt. SAC has a work-study component for interested students in addition to training in refrigerant handling, welding, and mechanical and electrical operation. Classes are available days and evenings. A certificate program is also offered in air conditioning and refrigeration.
- Location: Walnut, CA
- Accreditation: HVAC Excellence and PAHRA
- Tuition: AS degree $2,760 (in-state), $20,040 (out-of-state); certificate $1,449 (in-state), $10,521 (out-of-state)
- Program length: AS degree, two years; certificate, one year
Capstone College in Pasadena provides an HVAC technician training program to prepare techs for entry-level employment. Coursework can be completed in 30 weeks for full-time students and 48 weeks for students attending part-time during the evenings.
Capstone College seeks to instruct students in areas such as common HVACR systems, electrical components, how to test equipment, safety procedures, compliance with the law, sheet metal work, schematics, and more. In this school’s state-of-the-art lab, students get the opportunity to use the same equipment as top-notch industry professionals. Some courses in this program include HVAC theory, brazing and soldering, refrigerants and charging techniques (EPA refrigerant certification), and heating fundamentals.
- Location: Pasadena, CA
- Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, and the United States partment of Veterans Affairs
- Tuition: $14,800
- Program length: Seven to 12 months
Los Angeles Trade-Tech College (LATTC) offers an associate of science (AS) degree program in refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics. Requiring a time commitment of 21 hours weekly, this program features courses such as electrical mathematics, refrigeration component instruction, fundamentals of refrigeration, and pipe and tube joining processes. As part of the program, students also receive their EPA Section 608 certification, a mandatory credential for people who work with refrigerants. Please note that LATTC also offers certificate and associate of arts (AA) options in this field.
- Location: Los Angeles, California
- Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
- Tuition: $46 per unit
- Program length: Two years
El Camino College, one of the five California schools with HVAC Excellence accreditation, in Torrance, California also has a 60-unit associate of science (AS) degree program with coursework in electrical applications, refrigeration and air conditioning control systems, solar basics, heating technologies, commercial refrigeration applications, HVAC customer service, and fundamentals of pneumatic (i.e., pressurized air or gas) controls.
This school offers four unique tracks for specialized instruction: air conditioning (17 units), air conditioning and refrigeration electric controls (13 units), HVAC/R (39 units), and refrigeration (13 units).
- Location: Torrance, CA
- Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
- Tuition: No cost for in-state residents; out-of-state residents ($331 per credit)
- Program length: AA degree, two years; certificate, one to two years