HVAC Schools in Miami, Florida

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In Miami, Florida (FL), the future looks bright for aspiring professionals in heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration (HVAC or HVAC/R). Summer temperatures in Miami can exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit and winter lows rarely dip below 60 degrees. Precipitation is a regular occurrence, with each month from June through September receiving more than eight inches. And the climate is only one factor driving the skyrocketing growth of the local HVAC industry.

Another factor is Miami’s economy, which is rapidly expanding and increasing demand for climate control installation and maintenance in buildings. The trade, transportation, utilities, education, and health services industries are experiencing the highest rate of growth, and the efforts of the state’s workforce boards have led to a large increase in workers entering the job market—four times higher than the national growth rate. Additionally, Florida utilities have set aside millions of dollars for energy efficiency programs and created specific rebates for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC and HVAC/R) upgrades in existing and new buildings, making the HVAC industry a white-hot field for Miami residents.

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

  • Install, clean, and maintain equipment and systems
  • Install electrical components and wiring
  • Inspect and test systems and components
  • Repair or replace defective parts
  • Discuss maintenance to improve system efficiency
  • Keep records of work performed

Technicians receive training and support from the many Florida-based industry organizations, including:

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

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Miami, Florida

Demand for HVAC technicians continues to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2018), 9,430 HVAC maintenance and installation technicians work in the Miami metropolitan area, and the number is only expected to increase both within Miami and nationally in coming years.

By illustration, the number of openings for HVAC technicians is expected to increase 15 percent nationally between 2016 and 2026, more than double the average rate for all occupations in the U.S. during the same decade (7 percent). Furthermore, the job growth for technicians in Florida is projected to be more than double that rate. Projections Central (2018) predicted a 33 percent increase in HVAC openings in Florida between 2014 and 2024.

As noted earlier, the incentives and rebates offered by Florida utilities companies continue to stimulate the demand for climate control technicians. Several other factors contribute to the growth of the HVAC and HVAC/R industry in Miami, such as new building construction; the increasing complexity of climate control systems; the recent emphasis on energy efficiency; and the continuous need to replace, retrofit, or upgrade older systems.

Salaries for HVAC Technicians in Miami, Florida

The BLS (May 2017) reported the following salary figures in the Miami area:

Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall

The Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall metropolitan region has 2,050 HVAC workers, who had an average annual salary of $39,550 with the following percentile breakdowns:

  • 10th percentile: $25,900
  • 25th percentile: $28,660
  • 50th percentile (median): $35,070
  • 75th percentile: $47,830
  • 90th percentile: $63,660

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan region has 7,380 HVAC workers, who had an average annual salary of $43,920 with the following percentile breakdowns:

  • 10th percentile: $27,130
  • 25th percentile: $32,770
  • 50th percentile (median): $41,560
  • 75th percentile: $53,440
  • 90th percentile: $64,960

Accredited HVAC Schools in Miami, Florida

Many aspiring HVAC workers in Miami either attend training programs or participate in an apprenticeship program.

Florida’s registered apprenticeship system provides those who complete the programs with a certificate and experienced apprentices may receive journey-level status in their chosen trade. A list of qualifying apprentice sponsors is available, which includes several HVAC companies.

Atlantic Technical College offers an apprenticeship program that includes HVAC training. Students are paid for a 40-hour workweek while receiving training from a journey-level supervisor. They must also complete a minimum of 144 hours per year of classroom instruction. The classes are taught in the evenings and on weekends. The apprenticeship takes up to five years to complete. Students receive wage increases as they progress through the program. They are not required to pay tuition, but they must pay for books, supplies, and other fees.

Miami Dade College offers several apprenticeship programs, including HVAC training. The programs are presented in partnership with Florida-registered and approved sponsor companies. Students receive classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Graduates are awarded a certificate and can be qualified to seek journey-level jobs. The program takes a minimum of four years to complete. Estimated tuition is $26,231; books, supplies, and other fees not included.

Industry associations are another source of apprenticeship programs. These include the local chapters of:

  • The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCCA)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

Alternatively, aspiring HVAC professionals can enroll in accredited training schools to learn the skills of the trade. When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited, and if so, what agency approved it. Accreditation is a process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of the curriculum and the instructors. Specific standards must be met before this approval is granted.

Two main organizations evaluate and accredit HVAC programs: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Although both organizations have accredited programs in Florida, neither has approved programs available in the Miami metropolitan area. That said, the following HVAC training schools are regionally accredited and within 100 miles of Miami.

Atlantic Technical College

ATC offers an air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating technology program that emphasizes electrical systems. Coursework and lab sections prepare students to install, repair, and maintain domestic and commercial HVAC and HVAC/R systems. Graduates receive a certificate of completion and may be qualified to seek entry-level jobs.

The curriculum includes classes in the layout and design of electrical systems, reading blueprints, building codes, troubleshooting, how different systems operate, compressors, and metering devices and controls. Students receive a certificate of achievement at the end of each 250-hour section. All HVAC courses are available only on campus, with come available in the evenings. Notably, graduates may also be awarded credits toward an associate degree from Broward College or the Florida College System if they meet specified criteria.

  • Location: Coconut Creek and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education
  • Tuition: $3,780
  • Program length: One year full-time

The College of Business and Technology

CBT College offers air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating technology programs in English and Spanish. Students may earn a diploma or an associate’s degree, which take 24 and 60 credits, respectively. Both on-campus programs combine classroom instruction with hands-on training.

Students in the diploma program take classes on the fundamentals of refrigeration, the fundamentals and principles of electricity, air-conditioning systems, and blueprints and codes. Graduates are qualified entry-level jobs on residential and commercial systems. The associate’s degree curriculum builds on diploma curriculum and includes additional courses in advanced automatic controls, heating systems, chilled water systems, alternative energy and sustainable practices, construction estimating, and trade math. Graduates of this program may be qualified to seek mid-level HVAC/R jobs or apply for the journey-level certification after meeting the work experience criteria.

  • Location: Miami and Hialeah, Florida
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges & Schools
  • Tuition: $1,423 for diploma; $2,515 for degree
  • Program length: One year for the diploma; two years for the degree

Florida Career College

This school offers a career-focused heating, ventilation, and air conditioning training program. The on-campus program provides theoretical knowledge coupled with hands-on experience. Students learn to install and maintain residential and commercial equipment. They also learn basic design of HVAC and HVAC/R systems, how systems operate, and troubleshooting. The focus is on servicing systems and equipment. Graduates receive a diploma and may be qualified for entry-level jobs as HVAC technicians.

  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges & Schools
  • Tuition: $20,400
  • Program length: Nine months

Florida Education Institute

This lab-based HVAC/R program teaches students in a learn-by-doing environment. Students learn how to install, maintain, and troubleshoot residential and commercial equipment and systems. The on-campus curriculum includes the basics of air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration, reading and using blueprints and design specifications, connecting system components, connecting and testing electrical wiring and controls, and evaluating energy efficiency of equipment and systems. Graduates may be qualified for entry-level jobs. The school only offers on-campus courses; however, evening classes are available to accommodate students who are working.

  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education
  • Tuition: $13,950
  • Program length: Nine months

Lindsey Hopkins Technical College

This level-one and level-two air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating program is designed to develop competency in servicing HVAC systems and refrigeration piping. The school does not offer online coursework, but students learn about the theory and fundamentals of HVAC and receive hands-on training in the on-campus lab. The lab includes a variety of commercial and residential HVAC and HVAC/R equipment. The curriculum includes instruction in the use and care of hand tools, power tools, and specialized tools. Students also learn record-keeping, industry standards and practices, and basic supervisory skills.

  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education
  • Tuition: Contact school for tuition costs
  • Program length: 15 to 27 months

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College offers an associate degree in air conditioning, refrigeration and heating systems technology. Coursework is designed to prepare graduates for careers in environmental control systems. Graduates may apply their degree toward obtaining a State of Florida mechanical contractor’s license. The curriculum includes general education requirements (e.g., communication, humanities, math) as well as courses in technical drawing and structural drafting, technical mathematics, air conditioning fundamentals, air distribution, air conditioning systems design, and air conditioning controls and motors. Students complete the required 64 credit-hours with a selection of electives. The certificate program courses can be applied to the associate’s degree.

  • Location: Doral, Hialeah, Homestead, and Miami, Florida
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $7,566.08 for the full on-campus program; $15 per credit-hour for the online program
  • Program length: Two years minimum

Miami Lakes Educational Center & Technical College

This school offers an air conditioning, refrigeration and heating technology program. Students learn through a combination of classwork and practical experience. Program applicants must demonstrate proficiency in basic math, reading, and language skills. The curriculum takes 750 on-campus hours to complete. Coursework includes the fundamentals of refrigeration, tool use and safety, components, basic electricity, circuits and wiring, electric motors, heat pumps, and air conditioning basics. Graduates receive a certificate of completion.

  • Location: Miami Lakes and Miami Gardens, Florida
  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education
  • Tuition: $1,920 for the full-time, on-campus program
  • Program length: Eight months

South Florida Institute of Technology

This skill-oriented refrigeration and air conditioning repair technician program teaches students about the fundamentals of design, installation, maintenance, and repair of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and systems. Students must complete 28 on-campus credits divided between lectures and hands-on labs. They must also complete 60 hours of outside work.

Students take classes in the fundamentals and principles of electricity, commercial and domestic refrigeration, air conditioning systems, reading blueprints and project estimating, and domestic appliances. Graduates of this program may be qualified for entry-level HVAC and commercial refrigeration jobs.

  • Location: Miami and Hialeah, Florida
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career School and Colleges
  • Tuition: $7,650 for the full on-campus program
  • Program length: 42 weeks

The English Center

For this level-one air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating technology program, applicants must pass the Test of Basic Adult Education (TABE) to be accepted. Students learn how to design, test, and repair HVAC systems through over 750 hours of training. Students receive a certificate of achievement at the end of each 250-hour section.

The curriculum includes on-campus coursework and hands-on-training in labs in subjects such as the maintenance and safe use of tools, basic electricity, troubleshooting, control systems, fabricating fittings, and installing and starting up systems. Students also learn about job safety. Graduates receive a certificate of completion.

  • Location: Miami, Florida
  • Accreditation: Commission of the Council on Occupational Education
  • Tuition: $2.56 per credit-hour
  • Program length: Eight months

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Miami, Florida

Federal law requires all HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants to obtain the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 certification. Certification requires passing an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. Four levels of certifications are available based on the size and type of equipment, and the universal (type IV) certification allows technicians to work on all equipment. Various organizations offer classes and administer the exam. Technicians may obtain additional training and certifications from industry organizations. These include, but are not limited to:

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

Details of certifications available, qualifications, and fees are available on their websites.

As a final note, all contractors who perform HVAC work in Florida must have a state-issued license. The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation issues two types of contractor licenses: Class A and Class B. However, HVAC contractors are subject to a third category, called Class C. 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; and 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.

Contractors and tradesmen working in Miami must also be licensed. There are 14 classifications of HVAC/R licensing. Most require passing an exam and require paying the appropriate fees. Licenses must be renewed every two years and renewal is dependent on obtaining 16 units of continuing education.