Moreno Valley, CA HVAC Training Schools

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The region in which Moreno Valley, CA is located has been occupied for thousands of years. The area has numerous locations of archeological importance. Trails made by Spanish explorers in the 1700s still exist. After California achieved statehood in 1850, American farmers began settling in the area. Frank Brown was one of the founders of the city of Moreno. The town was named after him, Moreno being Spanish for Brown, as he declined the honor of using his name. The city quickly grew. In 1984, the cities of Moreno, Edgemont, and Sunnymead, along with several smaller communities, were incorporated as the city of Moreno Valley.

Moreno Valley is now the second-largest city in Riverside County and the 21st-largest in the state. It’s part of the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area, making it part of the Inland Empire, a major shipping and manufacturing distribution center. It’s also part of the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. People escaping the high cost of living in Los Angeles and Orange counties have fueled growth in Moreno Valley. Its access to vehicle, air, and rail transportation has helped make it “the right location for establishing, relocating, maintaining and/or expanding a business.” The mainstays of the diverse and growing economy are healthcare, retail trade, transportation, and warehousing.

Moreno Valley summers are hot and dry. Temperatures during July, August, and September soar into the 90s F, spiking to more than 100 degrees in some years. The days begin cooling slightly in October, and from December through February, the average high drops into the 60s. The winters are cold, but the temperature rarely sinks to freezing. Average lows from October through March hover in the upper 40s and lower 50s. The months of December and January have the most rainfall, averaging more than two inches each month. February receives slightly less than two inches. The other months experience much less precipitation, with none falling in July and August. The total average rainfall for the year is less than ten inches.

Residents of Moreno Valley depend on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort in their workplaces and homes. The distribution and logistics centers and the manufacturing and industrial facilities add refrigeration (HVAC/R) to their systems to protect their products. Healthcare complexes and educational institutions often require specialized climate-control systems. Climate control is also necessary at historic sites and museums to preserve fragile artifacts. As businesses increase their reliance on technology, additional climate-control systems and equipment are needed to keep the electronics operating correctly.

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2021), 5,310 HVAC and HVAC/R technicians were employed in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA area. National, state, and local industry associations provide resources and support to the technicians and their employers. These include, among others:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Associated General Contractors of California Riverside-San Bernardino District
  • Association of Building Contractors – San Bernardino Mountains
  • Building Industry Association of Southern California (BIASC)
  • Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling Contractors Association of Orange County, Riverside, And San Bernardino (PHCC ORSB)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • UA Local Union 364 of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Refrigeration

These organizations cooperate with others in the industry, regulatory agencies, and businesses to establish and maintain educational, licensing, and performance standards for the safety of technicians, the public, and the environment.

Occupational Demand for HVAC and HVAC/R Technicians in Moreno Valley, CA

The BLS (2022) reports that trained HVAC and HVAC/R technicians can expect an annual increase of 5 percent in available positions nationwide between 2021 and 2031. That’s 20,200 new job openings. State data from Projections Central (2022), which draws from several sources, is even more optimistic than the BLS projections. They anticipate that HVAC openings in California will swell 13.8 percent between 2020 and 2030.

Ongoing construction of new commercial and residential structures drives the growth of the HVAC industry. In older cities like Moreno Valley, the renovation and remodeling of existing structures contribute significantly to industry growth. The obsolete and aging climate control systems and equipment must be repaired, replaced, or retrofitted to operate efficiently. On occasion, systems in new structures are replaced to meet technological advances and contemporary climate-control regulations or to meet the unique demands of new businesses. The emphasis in California on energy efficiency and pollution reduction also drives HVAC industry growth.

Contemporary homeowners and businesses want sophisticated climate-control equipment and systems installed in their “smart” buildings. Those complex systems require HVAC technicians who are skilled troubleshooters, proficient with computers, and understand electronics and high-tech to install, maintain, or service them. The expertise of trained technicians provides them with the best job opportunities.

Technicians specializing in new construction may occasionally experience unemployment if construction declines. As “The City of Moreno Valley is among the fastest-growing cities in the Inland Empire with exciting new projects and services offered,” a decline doesn’t seem likely in the foreseeable future. Additionally, Moreno Valley maximizes its strategic location in Southern California through its “pro-business and development atmosphere,” further making any slowdown in construction unlikely.

Technicians specializing in maintenance and service can expect continuous employment as businesses and homeowners rely on year-round climate control regardless of the economy.

HVAC and HVAC/R Salaries in Moreno Valley, CA

According to BLS (May 2021) data, HVAC mechanics and installers nationally received a median salary of $48,630. Their data also shows that Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA, area technicians earned an annual median salary of $46,730. The cost of living in California is much higher than in other American states; however, it is lower in Moreno Valley than in other parts of the state. The lower wages in that region aren’t as significant as they seem at first glance.

The national, state, and regional earnings of HVAC professionals, as per the BLS (May 2021), are as follows:

United States California Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
Number of HVAC professionals employed 356,960 32,640 5,310
Average annual salary $54,690 $61,670 $51,310
10th percentile $34,320 $37,200 $30,090
25th percentile $38,450 $46,640 $37,120
50th percentile $48,630 $59,750 $46,730
75th percentile $62,000 $75,170 $60,010
90th percentile $78,210 $94,740 $75,220

HVAC Apprenticeships in Moreno Valley, CA

Traditionally, workers sought employment as helpers and learned their skills as HVAC technicians through on-the-job training. Now, most untrained workers attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship program, as few opportunities exist until they are trained. Trained technicians have better job prospects and can potentially start at higher wages and earn more throughout their professional careers. Time spent in classrooms varies according to the expertise sought. Apprenticeships typically include specified hours of on-the-job training, usually 2,000 hours, and classroom work, usually 144 hours, annually for three to five years.

Aspiring apprentices will find a database of HVAC apprenticeship programs maintained by the State of California Department of Industrial Relations. As of November 2022, the closest to Moreno Valley is the 48-month sheet metal technician apprenticeship at the J.A.T.C. facility, in Basset, CA.

UA Local 364 of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Refrigeration offers an apprenticeship program that teaches all aspects of plumbing and steamfitting for commercial, industrial, and residential construction. It’s conducted at the Colton, CA training center. Contact them directly for details.

Workers who are unable to attend local programs may select HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs sponsored by industry associations such as the following:

  • 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)

Each organization includes details of classes offered, fees, and times on its website.

Accredited HVAC and HVAC/R Schools in Moreno Valley, CA

When choosing a school to attend, students should select an accredited institution. An accredited school has undergone an evaluation by an independent agency of the quality of its curriculum and instructors. HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) accredit HVAC programs.

HVAC Excellence has accredited the following California schools:

  • Brownson Technical School, Anaheim, CA
  • Cypress College, Cypress, CA
  • North American Training Center, Redlands, CA

PAHRA has accredited Mount San Antonio College, Walnut, CA.

Due to their accreditation, North American Training Center and Mount San Antonio College are included in the profiles, as they are within commuting distance of Moreno Valley. Other reputable agencies have accredited the remaining schools.

Center for Employment Training

CET offers HVAC and green technology training at three California locations. The closest program to Moreno Valley is in Colton. Students may attend during the day or evenings. The coursework is presented via classroom lectures and hands-on training in fully-equipped labs. The curriculum includes HVAC safety, mathematics, pipefitting, brazing, soldering, green HVAC technology, tools, electricity, refrigeration and recovery, heating, duct work, basic computers, job preparation, and customer service. Students are prepared to take industry certification exams, such as EPA 608 and ESCO green technology. CET assists graduates with job placement.

  • Location: Colton, CA
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education
  • Tuition: $14,500
  • Program length: Eight to nine months

InterCoast College

ICC, a private institution, offers an HVAC technician certification program at several campuses, including ones within commuting distance of Moreno Valley in Riverside, Santa Ana, and West Covina. Students learn through a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on training in the lab. The curriculum includes an introduction to trades, construction math, OSHA safety and NEC, electrical theory and conductors, practical applications of electrical theory, refrigeration components and applications, EPA 608 transition and recovery, heating systems, air conditioning, heat pump systems, and air distribution and installation. Graduates are qualified to seek entry-level positions as residential or commercial HVAC technicians.

  • Location: Riverside, CA; Santa Ana, CA; West Covina, CA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training
  • Tuition: $16,680
  • Program length: 40 weeks

Moreno Valley College

MVC is part of the Riverside Community College District. All HVAC and HVAC/R programs are taught at the Riverside Campus (profiled below) and are not currently available at the Moreno Valley campus.

Mount San Antonio College

Mt. SAC offers students an HVAC certificate program and an HVAC degree program. They may attend during the day or the evening. Both programs present coursework in classroom lectures followed by hands-on training in the lab. Graduates are prepared to seek entry-level positions as technicians.

The technical curriculum in the certificate program includes HVAC/R technical mathematics, HVAC/R welding, A/C codes and standards, refrigeration fundamentals, HVAC/R electricity, gas heating, heat load calculations and design, commercial HVAC/R, air properties and measurement, and commercial systems. They are awarded their certificate after 31.5 units.

Degree-seeking students complete the same technical coursework as those in the certificate program. They also complete a minimum of 24 units of general education coursework that includes English composition, public speaking, arts and humanities, lifelong understanding, social, political, and economic institutions, physical education, and the physical universe. They receive their degree after 65.5 to 68.5 units.

  • Location: Walnut, CA
  • Accreditation: PAHRA, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Tuition: $46 per unit
  • Program length: Certificate one year, degree two years

North American Training Center

NATC is a privately-supported technology training center. It offers a certificate of applied technology in HVAC/R. Students are prepared to take the EPA certification exam, which they may take on campus. The coursework is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on training in the lab. Students may attend classes during the day or in the evening.

The curriculum includes electricity, air conditioning, refrigeration, gas, electric, and hydronic heating, heat pumps, HVAC/R controls, on-the-job problem-solving skills, electronic technology, HVAC/R directed study, and service and maintenance of commercial and industrial buildings. Graduates are qualified to take various industry certification exams and seek entry-level employment.

  • Location: Redlands, CA
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Tuition: $9,500
  • Program length: Day schedule 24 weeks; evening schedule 39 weeks

Riverside City College

RCC offers certificate and degree HVAC/R programs. All programs encompass lectures and hands-on practice in the lab.

The certificate programs include:

  • Building automation control – 21 units
  • HVAC commercial technology – 36 units
  • HVAC residential technology – 27 units
  • Residential installation – 12 units

The degree programs include:

  • Building energy systems – 60 units
  • HVAC commercial technology – 60 units
  • HVAC residential technology – 60 units

Students in the building automation control certificate program complete coursework that includes HVAC/R, electricity, facilities management, chillers, building automation, building control networks, and building automation networks and programming. Coursework for students enrolled in the residential installation program includes residential installation, HVAC/R, and refrigerant handling and maintenance.

The HVAC commercial technology certificate program curriculum includes HVAC/R, electricity, HVAC/R system design, facilities maintenance, chillers, energy conservation measures, refrigerant handling and maintenance, all-weather heating and cooling systems, boiler and hydronic heating, building automation, and California mechanical codes. Coursework for students in the HVAC residential technology program includes HVAC/R, electricity, HVAC/R system design, HVAC/R energy conservation, refrigerant handling and maintenance, and all-weather heating and cooling systems.

Students enrolled in the HVAC commercial technology and HVAC residential degree programs complete the technical coursework required for the certificate programs. They also complete general education electives from natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, English, and self-development coursework. Students seeking a degree in building energy systems complete coursework that includes industrial calculations, zero net energy building science, California energy codes, architectural blueprint reading, professional office procedures, and energy systems technology work experience. They also choose five technical electives from any of the other programs and complete the same general education electives as the other degree programs.

Graduates will have the technical knowledge and skills to seek employment as technicians qualified to install, maintain, repair, and service HVAC/R systems.

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

San Bernardino Valley College

“Valley College” offers students three HVAC programs: an HVAC/R certificate that prepares students for entry-level employment, a refrigeration service engineer society (HVAC) certificate that prepares students for advanced positions, and an HVAC/R degree.

The HVAC/R certificate program curriculum includes HVAC/R fundamentals, domestic and commercial mechanical refrigeration, HVAC/R electricity, air distribution systems, welding, and math. The coursework takes 27-32 units to complete. Students are encouraged to complete an elective in automotive A/C for an additional four units.

Students in the advanced refrigeration certificate program complete the following technical coursework: compressors, condensers, and cooling towers, heating fundamentals, heating transfer and distribution, gas and hot water heating, tools, controls, and troubleshooting, RSES electricity, RSES heat pump training, and RSES technical training. Students are awarded their certificate after 40 units. The courses meet the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) industry standards, and as each course is completed, students may apply for credit toward their NATE certification renewal.

Students seeking a degree complete the technical curriculum required for the certificate program. Additionally, they need to complete general education coursework. The coursework will vary according to whether they intend to transfer their credits to another institution toward a higher degree. They complete 60 units in total to earn their Valley College degree.

  • Location: San Bernardino, CA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Tuition: $46 per unit
  • Program length: Certificates vary, degree two years

San Joaquin Valley College

SJVC is a private, for-profit career college with eight California campuses. The nearest one to Moreno Valley is in Temecula. Students may choose an HVAC/R certificate program or an HVAC/R degree program. Both programs provide an opportunity to earn OSHA 10-Hour Construction and EPA 608 certification.

Students enrolled in the certificate program complete coursework that includes theory and application of HVAC/R systems, electricity, advanced HVAC/R systems, advanced electricity, and air distribution, for a total of 40 units. They must also attend the career services seminar.

Degree-seeking students complete the technical curriculum required for the certificate program. They also complete 24 general education coursework units, including composition, reading, algebra, natural sciences, ethics, psychology, and sociology.

Graduates of either program are qualified to seek employment as HVAC/R technicians.

  • Location: Temecula, CA
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Tuition: Certificate $24,862.50, degree $37,292.50
  • Program length: Certificates 40 weeks, degree 60 weeks

Summit College

Summit College, a private institution, has three locations, including one in San Bernardino. HVAC coursework may be presented in the auxiliary classroom in Colton. The college offers an HVAC technician diploma program. Students learn through a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on practice in the lab. Students are required to dress in appropriate workplace attire, and their general appearance should be professional.

The HVAC technician diploma program curriculum includes principles of heat, energy, and pressure; electrical systems and components; brazing; green job training; commercial environmental systems; commercial refrigeration; HVAC system design; residential and commercial HVAC; and refrigerant and refrigeration systems. The coursework may be completed during the days or evenings. Graduates are qualified to take the EPA Section 608 exam and seek entry-level employment.

  • Location: San Bernardino, CA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training
  • Tuition: $17,495
  • Program length: 36 weeks

UEI College

UEI, a private school, offers an HVAC technician training program at its Riverside and West Covina campuses. The training includes basic electricity, motors, and HVAC controls, refrigeration theory and application, HVAC troubleshooting, heat pump systems, heating systems, duct design, reading blueprints, load calculation, commercial refrigeration systems, specialized commercial equipment, green awareness, regulations, building automation, and electrical and mechanical troubleshooting.

Students are prepared to take the EPA Section 608 exam and the R-410-A certification exam. Graduates are qualified to seek employment as HVAC/R technicians.

  • Location: Riverside, CA; West Covina, CA
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition: $21,500
  • Program length: Ten months

Moreno Valley students who cannot attend one of the above schools may find that online institutions can better meet their needs. More information on accredited programs is available at online HVAC training.

HVAC and HVAC/R Certification and Licensing in Moreno Valley, CA

HVAC and HVAC/R technicians who handle refrigerants are required by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to obtain Section 608 certification. Four certification levels, each with a specific exam based on the type and size of equipment on which a technician works, are available, as described below:

  • Type I – for servicing small appliances
  • Type II – for servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and automotive air conditioning
  • Type III – for servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances
  • Universal – for servicing all types of equipment

The EPA has details of the criteria for each certification on its website.

Certifications such as Section 608 increase a technician’s employability. Industry organizations offer study materials and exams for various certifications. These include:

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

Check each organization’s website for availability, scheduling, and fees. There is also more information on the HVAC certifications page.

HVAC and HVAC/R technicians employed by a contractor are not required to obtain a state license. Technicians who advertise their services are regarded by the California Contractors State Licensing Board as contractors. Any construction project priced at $500 or more must be performed by a licensed contractor. HVAC contractors need the C-20 specialty license, and HVAC/R contractors need the C-38 specialty license. Most applicants must pass exams in law, business, and trade. All applicants must then submit proof of the following to obtain their license:

  • Minimum of four years of journey-level experience, or completion of an apprenticeship or technical training at an accredited school and one year of journey-level experience
  • At least $2,500 in working capital
  • Workers compensation insurance or documents for exemption from workers compensation
  • General liability insurance
  • A $15,000 bond

All applicants must be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal background check. Licenses are renewed every two years. The initial license and renewals require payment of a fee.

The City of Moreno Valley requires all individuals and businesses operating within the city to obtain a business license. An application is required and payment of a fee is based on gross receipts. The license must be renewed annually. A certificate of occupancy is required in a retail or commercial establishment. If the business is located in a residence, including online operations, a home occupation permit is necessary.

As licensing regulations may change, HVAC professionals are encouraged to confirm that they comply with current guidelines before starting a 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.