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 include the future headquarters for Brown & Brown Insurance and new apartment communities. 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.

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.

So what do HVAC professionals do? Their primary responsibility is to work on systems that control the air quality and temperature in buildings. HVAC technicians work in homes, offices, schools, stores, and all other types of buildings that require (HVAC/R) heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. Most of these workers work full-time and might even work overtime during peak seasons. They typically travel between job sites for:

  • Installing, cleaning, and maintaining equipment and systems
  • Installing electrical components and wiring
  • Inspecting and testing components and systems
  • Repairing or replacing defective parts
  • Discussing maintenance for improving system efficiency
  • Keeping records of work performed

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) reports that 600 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.

Read on to discover the thriving demand for HVAC professionals in Daytona Beach, FL, and the many accredited training programs in the area.

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

Demand for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians is growing nationwide. According to the BLS (2020), openings for technicians are expected to increase by 4 percent nationally between 2019 and 2029. That is as fast as the average 4 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 (2021) predicts a 16.2 percent statewide increase in HVAC jobs for the decade ending in 2028.

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.

One of the most direct ways to observe the strength of the HVAC industry in Daytona Beach is by performing an online search for available jobs through various search engines. For example, Monster (2021) yielded 108 jobs in HVAC with companies such as the Miller-Leaman, Inc., Jacob Heating & A/C, Daytona State College, Comprehensive Energy, and Tradesmen International, among many others. A similar search on Indeed (2021) yielded 66 job openings, including opportunities with Stetson University, Daytona State College, Service Experts, Cardinal Health, Tropic Supply, Inc., and many more.

HVAC Salaries in Daytona Beach, FL

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020), HVAC professionals earn relatively competitive salaries, particularly for positions that may require just two years of post-secondary training. The BLS (May 2020) reported that there were 344,020 HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide with an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $53,410 and 33,210 HVAC mechanics and installers—the highest most among all states in the nation—in Florida with an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $45,450. Daytona Beach had 600 HVAC mechanics and installers with an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $38,990.

The table below is a comparison of national, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals.

The BLS (May 2020) reported the following salary figures in the Daytona Beach area:

United States Florida Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach, Florida
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 344,020 33,210 680
Annual mean wage $53,410 $45,450 $38,990
10th percentile $31,910 $29,210 $19,480
25th percentile $39,320 $35,670 $30,710
50th Percentile (Median) $50,590 $43,890 $39,810
75th percentile $64,350 $53,160 $47,310
90th percentile $80,820 $64,930 $52,270

Another source, Indeed (2021), stated that HVAC workers in Daytona Beach, FL made $73,417 per year on average. Also, Salary.com found that HVAC mechanics made an average of $38,919 annually as of April 2021.

The national figures were a bit different according to another source of data, Payscale (2021), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles for the United States:

  • 10th percentile: $32,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,615
  • 90th percentile: $76,000

That said, the BLS projections are generally considered more reliable due to the higher sample size and systematized data collection methods.

It is important to note that the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) reported that Florida had the 30th lowest cost of living in the United States for 2020.

HVAC Apprenticeships in Daytona Beach, FL

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.

Apprenticeships generally include around 2,000 hours of hands-on job training and 144 classroom hours annually for three to five years.

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

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

Details are available on their websites.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Daytona Beach, FL

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 credits to complete, and the HVAC/R technology program takes 45 credits. 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.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities such as HVAC/R technician, HVAC/R mechanics, and installers, and HVAC/R helper. They will be able to use appropriate equipment, tools, electrical products, and materials found in the industry, and follow the safety rules and regulations for installing and maintaining a residential HVAC project.

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

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. Students in this program will be provided with the practical and technical skills and knowledge for performing HVAC/R installations, repairs, and maintenance. They will also learn about the basics of programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

For admission to the program, students will require a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent.

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 71 credits for graduation with PLC lectures and labs. Coursework is available in Spanish and English.

On successful completion of the program, graduates will be able to take up positions such as HVAC mechanic, HVAC installer, A/C tech, HVAC service technician, and systems maintenance mechanic at construction firms, as well as commercial and residential HVAC/R companies.

  • Location: Deland, FL; Kissimmee, FL
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 65 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the college for details

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. These programs provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to install and service HVAC equipment and troubleshoot mechanical and electrical components. The faculty of the program include scholar-practitioners who have years of industry experience.

The 750 clock-hour technology I curriculum includes introduction and safety practices, electrical, refrigeration, components, electrical motors, refrigerant recovery and reclaim, career planning and professional success, and heating.

The 600 clock-hour technology II program comprises advanced coursework in advanced commercial refrigeration, industry service practices, methods, measurement, design, and application, chilled water systems, building management systems, and mechanically advanced service practices. Students must complete the technology I module before applying to technology II.

These certificates will prepare students for a career as HVACR technicians and installers.

  • Location: Sanford, FL
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Technology I level (25 weeks); Technology II level (20 weeks)
  • Estimated Tuition: $84 per credit

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. The mission of these programs is to prepare students for employment as HVAC/R technicians and provide them with advanced training in the industry.

The HVAC/R I certificate comprises 750 program hours including courses in introduction to HVAC/R, HVAC/R fundamentals, and HVAC/R service practices. The HVAC/R II certificate is made up of 600 clock hours including courses such as HVAC/R intermediate service practices and HVAC/R advanced commercial and industrial service practices.

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)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Technology I level (39 weeks full-time); Technology II level (26 weeks full-time)
  • Estimated Tuition: Technology I level ($5,099.59); Technology II level ($3,098.93)

Osceola Technical College

The HVAC/R technology certificate at the Osceola Technical College 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. This HVAC/R technology program is offered as both full-time and part-time class options.

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.

The program consists of 1,350 contact hours including courses such as HVAC/R fundamentals, introduction to HVAC/R, HVAC/R intermediate service practices, HVAC/R service practices, HVAC/R advanced service practices, or HVAC/R advanced commercial and industrial service practices.

  • Location: Kissimmee, FL
  • Accreditation: PAHRA; Council on Occupational Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: 60 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: $5,050

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. They will also learn to repair and troubleshoot compressors, electromechanical controls, and valves.

The HVAC/R technology I program consists of 750 total contact hours, while the HVAC/R technology II program is made up of 600 total contact hours. The first program is a prerequisite for taking up the second program. Coursework includes an introduction to HVAC/R, HVAC/R fundamentals, HVAC/R service practices, HVAC/R intermediate service practices, and HVAC/R advanced commercial and industrial service practices. Passing the EPA Section 608 exam is a requirement for graduation.

These programs prepare students for employment as HVAC/R mechanics. Through the course of the program, they will learn about the basics of installing, repairing, and maintaining HVAC/R systems as well as the basic principles involved in air-conditioning. They will also study the various cooling and heating parts and units and will learn to use technical reference manuals and how to read blueprints.

  • Location: Lakeland, FL
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Council on Occupational Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: HVAC/R Technology 1 (750 hours); HVAC/R Technology 2 (600 hours)
  • Estimated Tuition: Florida residents ($2.88 per clock-hour); out-of-state residents ($11.52 per clock-hour)

Withlacoochee Technical College

The HVAC/R technology certificate program at Withlacoochee Technical College helps students progress from helper to technician status. Students IN THIS 1,350-hour 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
  • Expected Time to Completion: 1,350 hours
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,971 per session

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.

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.