HVAC Schools in Daytona Beach, Florida

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Daytona Beach, Florida (FL) bills itself as the “world’s most famous beach.” Miles of sandy beaches draw tourists by the millions. Although tourists are the mainstay of the economy, business and manufacturing companies also contribute significantly to the financial well-being of the city. Daytona Beach is home to NASCAR and the Daytona International Speedway. Air, rail, and water transportation facilities encourage trade in the area.

Recent construction projects have included a Trader Joe’s distribution center, shopping centers, car dealerships, medical facilities, and corporate offices. The growth is expected to continue with the planned expansion of big-box stores, warehouse stores, hotels, and service industry projects such as restaurants and bars. Apartment complexes, condos, and planned communities are also in various stages of planning and construction. One developer commented, “There’s a lot of unique and positive things happening along this corridor, and they’re all completely different uses.”

Not surprisingly, the building boom is fueling the installation of new equipment and systems. Heating, venting, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) services are essential to keep residents comfortable. Specialized technical sectors often require custom climate-controlled facilities. Tourism increases the need for HVAC equipment in restaurants, lodging, and entertainment venues.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2018) reports that 780 HVAC and HVAC/R mechanics and installers were employed in the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach area. Those technicians receive training and support from local industry organizations, such as the Florida Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) and the UA Local Union 295.

Occupational Demand for HVAC/R Technicians in Daytona Beach, FL

Demand for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians is growing nationwide. According to the BLS (2018), openings for technicians is expected to increase by 15 percent nationally between 2016 and 2026. That is much faster than the average 7 percent projected for all occupations in the U.S. What’s more, demand for technicians in Florida is growing at a much faster rate than the national average. Projections Central predicts a 26.8 percent statewide increase in HVAC jobs for the decade ending in 2026.

Several factors contribute to the growth of the HVAC industry. The primary consideration is the increasing sophistication of climate control systems and the need to replace, retrofit, or upgrade older systems. Industries that rely on technology often require specialized climate-controlled facilities. The contemporary emphasis on energy efficiency and reducing pollution also contributes to the increased demand for new installations. Furthermore, the combination of the thriving tourist industry and the construction of new buildings and residences in Daytona Beach creates an even higher need for HVAC and HVAC/R installations.

HVAC Salaries in Daytona Beach

The BLS (2018) reports that HVAC and HVAC/R mechanics and installers nationally receive a median annual salary of $47,080. Technicians in the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach area receive a median yearly wage of $39,390.

Below are the yearly salary comparisons as calculated by the BLS (May 2017):

United States Florida Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach
Number of workers 307,060 29,450 780
Average annual salary $49,530 $42,260 $40,330
10th percentile $29,120 $27,410 $27,000
25th percentile $36,150 $33,030 $31,790
50th percentile $47,080 $40,300 $39,390
75th percentile $60,270 $50,110 $49,530
90th percentile $75,330 $61,070 $56,310

Accredited HVAC Schools in Daytona Beach

Most aspiring HVAC/R workers attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship program.

Florida has a registered apprenticeship system on the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) website. Apprentices who complete the programs earn a certificate of completion and may receive journey-level status in their chosen trade. A list of apprentice sponsors is available on the FLDOE website. Not all trades have participating sponsors at all times.

The Flagler Technical Institute in nearby Palm Coast also offers an HVAC/R apprenticeship program. Students must be employed in the trade before enrolling and complete the coursework in evening classes. Their employer provides on-the-job training. The apprenticeship takes three years to complete, and there is no tuition. Students pay for books, supplies, and minor fees.

Aspiring HVAC and HVAC/R technicians can also find apprenticeship programs through local chapters of national industry associations. These include:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCCA)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)

Details are available on their websites.

When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited and by which organization. Accreditation is a process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of the program, including both the curriculum and the instructors. Two organizations evaluate and certify HVAC programs: HVAC Excellence and Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).

HVAC Excellence has accredited seven Florida schools. The two closest to Daytona Beach are Traviss Technical Center and Withlacoochee Technical College. PAHRA has accredited one Florida school, the Technical Education Center of Osceola. Although enrolling in these schools would require Daytona Beach students to commute, they are included in the schools profiled below because of their accreditation status.

Daytona State College

This school offers two vocational certificate programs. Students enrolled in the beginning program receive an HVAC/R mechanic certificate. Graduates of the certificate program are qualified to enroll in the HVAC/R technology program. Students in both programs attend classroom lectures as well as hands-on training on state-of-the-art equipment during concurrent lab time.

The HVAC/R mechanic program takes 33.33 credit-hours to complete, and the HVAC/R technology program takes 45 credit-hours. The curriculum includes the principles of physical properties, psychometrics, electricity, motors, heat load calculations, and motors and controls. The advanced coursework comprises residential and commercial HVAC/R, heat pumps, wiring, and customer service.

  • Location: Daytona Beach, FL
  • Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $2,741 for HVAC/R mechanic program; $3,700 for HVAC/R technology program
  • Program length: 45 weeks for HVAC/R mechanic program; 51 weeks for HVAC/R technology program

Florida Technical College

FTC offers an HVAC/R with Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) diploma at two of their campuses within commuting distance from Daytona Beach. PLC is a computer skill. Students begin their studies with safety practices, mathematics, strategies for success, and career development. They move on to coursework and hands-on training in labs on subjects such as electricity and instrumentation, principles of HVAC/R, domestic and commercial HVAC/R equipment and systems, heat pumps, digital electronics, and codes and regulations. They finish the required 85.5 credit-hours for graduation with PLC lectures and labs. Coursework is available in Spanish and English.

  • Location: Deland, FL; Kissimmee, FL
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $22,510
  • Program length: 68 weeks

Seminole State College of Florida

The HVAC/R technology I and HVAC/R technology II vocational certificate programs at Seminole State College include classroom lectures and hands-on training in labs. The 25-credit technology I curriculum includes HVAC/R and electrical concepts, service practices, and technical skills which include hydronics, heat load calculations, duct construction, controls, and project development.

The 20-credit technology II program comprises advanced coursework in combustion theory, gas valves/regulators, steam systems, measuring air quality and distribution loads, pneumatic controls, energy conservation, pipe-sizing, and troubleshooting. Students must complete the technology I module before applying to technology II.

  • Location: Sanford, FL
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Format: On-campus
  • Tuition: $83.70 per credit
  • Program length: 25 weeks for the technology I level; 20 weeks for the technology II level

The following programs are more than 50 miles outside of Daytona.

Orange Technical College

The mid-Florida campus of OTC offers an HVAC/R certificate program. Coursework is divided into two levels—technology I and II. Progress is measured by Occupational Completion Points (OCPs) established by the Florida Department of Education to describe readiness for employment or advanced training. Students progress from helper status to technician status as they learn the principles of HVAC/R design and technology. They also study entry-level engineering and health, safety, and environmental concepts. Graduates are qualified to sit for industry exams. Passing those exams can increase their employability.

  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • Tuition: $3,540 for the technology I level; $3,093 for the technology II level
  • Program length: 26 weeks for the technology I level; 20 weeks for the technology II level

Technical Education Center of Osceola

The HVAC/R technology certificate at the Technical Education Center Osceola includes classroom lectures and hands-on training in the lab. Students learn how to troubleshoot electrical and mechanical systems, maintenance and service of HVAC/R systems and equipment, how to use specialized tools and estimate job costs, code compliance, and environmental issues. They are also taught employability and entrepreneurship skills.

Graduates are prepared to take industry exams, such as NATE, OSHA, EPA Section 608, as well as CPR certification. Students are required to wear uniforms befitting their trade to create a professional atmosphere. HVAC/R students dress in navy polo shirts and blue work pants.

  • Location: Kissimmee, FL
  • Accreditation: PAHRA; Council on Occupational Education; SACS
  • Tuition: $6,387
  • Program length: 12 to 18 months

Traviss Technical College

TTC offers HVAC/R technology I and HVAC/R technology II programs. Students learn the basics of the installation, repair, and maintenance of HVAC/R equipment and systems through classroom lectures and hands-on training in a shop. Coursework includes troubleshooting, reading blueprints, and using technical reference manuals. Passing the EPA Section 608 exam is a requirement for graduation.

  • Location: Lakeland, FL
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Council on Occupational Education; SACS
  • Tuition: $5,182.50 for the technology I level; $4,846 for the technology II level
  • Program length: 25 weeks for the technology I level; 20 weeks for the technology II level

Withlacoochee Technical College

The HVAC/R technology certificate program at Withlacoochee Technical College helps students progress from helper to technician status. Students begin by learning safety procedures, tool use, electricity and electrical components, HVAC/R electronics, trade math, and troubleshooting. They next learn how matter and heat behave, how to analyze fluids and pressures, how to test and maintain commercial equipment, and how to fabricate and service piping, tubing, and fittings.

Advanced coursework includes installation and start-up procedures of residential HVAC systems, hydronics, commercial and industrial HVAC/R systems, pipe sizing, and system design. Hands-on training is designed to mimic the conditions technicians deal with on the job.

  • Location: Inverness, FL
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Council on Occupational Education
  • Tuition: $4,692
  • Program length: 40 weeks

HVAC Certification in Daytona Beach, FL

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires technicians who work with refrigerants to obtain EPA Section 608 Certification, which includes passing an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. There are four types of certifications according to the systems on which technicians work:

  • Type I: servicing small appliances
  • Type II: servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and motor vehicle ACs
  • Type III: servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances
  • Type IV or universal: servicing all types of equipment

Practice exams are available online.

Technicians may obtain additional training and certifications from industry organizations, which also offer Section 608 testing and certification. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES): Their mission is to provide opportunities for enhanced technical competence by offering comprehensive, cutting-edge education and certification to the HVAC/R industry.
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE): Their certification tests represent real world working knowledge of HVAC/R systems.
  • HVAC Excellence: Their exams and certifications are intended to validate that an individual has retained knowledge in a specific area of the HVAC/R industry.

Details are available on each website.

The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation issues three types of contractor licenses to HVAC professionals:

  • Class A licenses are unlimited
  • Class B licenses limit contractors to 25 tons of cooling and 500,000 BTU of heating in any one system
  • Class C licensees are limited to the servicing of HVAC and HVAC/R systems

Obtaining a license requires passing the relevant exams; submitting proof of work experience, financial stability, and liability insurance; and paying the appropriate fees. Licenses must be renewed every two years. Renewal is dependent on obtaining 14 units of continuing education in specific areas.

Several cities, including Daytona Beach, participate in the Volusia County Contractor Licensing Program. Participating contractors must have a valid state license and a certificate of insurance for general liability and workers compensation coverage. The license is renewed annually, and contractors are not required to obtain a Daytona Beach license. Those who opt out of the program are required to submit proof of state licensure and insurance for each permit application. Fees are not disclosed on the website.