HVAC Programs in Orlando

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Those people who have only visited Orlando on vacation – perhaps to a prominent theme park – may think of the city and Florida as a whole as only a vacationer’s paradise. The truth is that nearly 20 million people live in Florida full-time and the majority of them thrive on climate control (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). Of those 20 million, more than 10% live in the Orlando metropolitan area. That is why the HVAC business is truly booming in the state and is only expected to grow.

HVAC technicians in Orlando can expect to find high demand for their skills in the coming years at both the residential and commercial level. After all, someone has to keep those theme parks cool. In fact, growth for the HVAC profession in Florida overall is expected to hit a whopping 45% from 2014 through 2024, according to CareerOneStop (which is sponsored by the US Department of Labor). With such a population concentration in Orlando, it stands to reason that a huge amount of growth will occur there.

Choosing a career is not one to be take lightly, but those who live in or around Orlando should consider seeking out an HVAC education. With a solid background in HVAC technology, there will be plenty of opportunities for jobs and advancement in Orlando.

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Demand for HVAC Technicians in Orlando, Florida

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida has the second highest employment rate for HVAC technicians in the country, second only to Texas (BLS, 2012). It would take a severe change in climate for HVAC technician demand in Florida to decrease since air conditioning is essential in the hot and humid summers. Due to high demand and relatively high wages, Emerson Climate Technologies named Florida one of the top 10 best states to work as an HVAC technician. No specific data is available for the Orlando job market, but job listings on indeed.com and simplyhired.com indicate that there is a sustained demand in the Orlando area, both in a residential and commercial capacity.

While data at the city and municipal level is more difficult to find than that for larger areas, there is still quite a bit of information that is possible to glean from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources.

According to BLS, HVAC technicians in Orlando can expect to earn somewhere within the following salary ranges:

  • 10th percentile: $23,460
  • 50th percentile: $38,890
  • 90th percentile: $62,720

The sheer number of HVAC technicians in Orlando is impressive, with more than 3 out of every 1000 jobs in the city being HVAC technicians.

Of course, there are also specializations within the HVAC field which can mean different demand and salary possibilities.

For instance, solar energy installers work within the same purview as HVAC technicians, but their expected salaries are a bit different. According to SimplyHired.com, solar installation technicians can expect a median salary of $31,367. This salary is somewhat lower than that of an HVAC technician.

Commercial refrigeration technicians in Orlando may also have somewhat different salary expectations. According to Indeed.com, the median salary for commercial refrigeration technicians in Orlando is $40,000. This slightly higher salary may reflect the higher experience requirements for commercial level refrigeration work.

In terms of HVAC training, Orlando residents can take advantage of Florida’s Career and Professional Education Act of 2007 (CAPE) which aims to train and retrain unemployed professionals for work in fields such as HVAC. Those who may qualify should visit floridajobs.org for more information.

HVAC Schools in Orlando

There are a number of HVAC programs in and around Orlando that offer thorough foundational education for students who want to pursue this rewarding career. Following are just a few of the options available to Orlando residents who are ready to invest in their HVAC education.

Florida Technical College

Florida Technical College offers an HVAC/R program that culminates in a certificate for new technicians. The program is designed to be completed in just 17 months. Unlike some HVAC schools, the FTC program has a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) component, which means graduates will be prepared to work with this type of equipment, making them that much more marketable.

Traviss Technical College

Located about an hour outside of Orlando in Lakeland, FL, Traviss Technical College is one of the few HVAC programs in the state that has earned accreditation from HVAC Excellence. The Traviss Technical College program offers two tracks in Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology, which are available to both high school and adult students.

Technical Education Center Osceola

Technical Education Center Osceola (TECO) is the only HVAC program in Florida accredited by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Located just outside of Orlando, in Kissimmee, TECO’s Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology program is offered as both full-time and evening class options. Students completing the program will also earn their EPA Certification as well as a NATE Core & Heat Pump Certification.

Southern Technical College

With a campus in Orlando proper, Southern Technical College offers an HVAC Diploma program that is extremely convenient for Orlando residents. Designed to be completed in just 9 to 12 months, the STC program is a quick way to jumpstart an HVAC career.

HVAC Certification Orlando

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) provides certification for HVAC technicians in Florida, including Orlando. In Florida, HVAC technician licenses are known as Air Conditioning licenses, but are applicable to all segments of the industry.

In order to work as an HVAC technician in Orlando, one must either become a Certified Technician or a Registered Technician. The difference is that certified technicians in Florida are allowed to work throughout the state while registered technicians are only permitted to work in the region where they are registered. Therefore an Orlando HVAC technician who is registered in Orlando would only be able to work there, unless they subsequently obtained certified status.

Florida also distinguishes because Class A and Class B certificates and registration. Class A licenses are unrestricted while Class B licenses only allow the technician to work on those systems with less than 25 tons of cooling and less than 500,000 BTU of heating.

Specialty Contractors, including HVAC technicians, must register with the City of Orlando before beginning work. The registration application must include details about the contractor’s license as well as insurance and tax information.

HVAC Accreditation in Orlando

Specific educational requirements are not a part of the HVAC licensing process in Orlando or in Florida as a whole. Instead, prospective HVAC students should look for programs that are accredited by recognized accreditation agencies.

The two most prominent accreditation organizations for HVAC training are HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Some training programs are accredited by both of these institutions, but most HVAC programs choose only one. Both HVAC Excellence and PAHRA use an evaluation system that includes self-evaluation, peer review, and specialty site visits in order to determine a program’s efficacy and value to its students. Interested parties can visit the organizations’ websites for details of their accreditation process and standards.