HVAC Schools in Georgia – Accredited Programs & Certifications

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There is excellent news for Georgia residents interested in HVAC careers: it is expected to be a high-growth industry into the future. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2020) anticipates a 13 percent increase in HVAC openings nationwide between 2018 and 2028; this is much more robust than the 5 percent average growth anticipated across all occupations during that time. Furthermore, CareerOneStop (2019) — a data affiliate of the US Department of Labor — reported that the projected growth for HVAC workers in Georgia is expecting slightly faster growth than the rest of the country with 1,160 jobs expected to be added at a rate of 15 percent between 2016 and 2026.

HVAC workers and air conditioning specialists in Georgia work in a wide range of environments, including residences, business buildings, schools, hospitals, and more. Particularly during the humid, hot summers in Georgia, these professionals may see the demand for their services spike and may be called upon to work evenings, weekends, or holidays during this busy season.

It is important to note that HVAC technicians, mechanics, and installers do incur one of the highest rates of work-related injuries and illnesses in the country. This is due to the physical nature of the work which carries a risk of electrical shock, burns, and muscular strains. Also, common refrigerants can pose health hazards as well. Given these risks, it is very important to receive the proper training in safety and handling of sensitive materials, an area covered by the accredited HVAC training programs discussed below.

As evidence of the thriving demand for these skilled professionals, a survey of common job post sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, and others boasted hundreds of openings in this field. Indeed.com (2020) advertised more than 300 opportunities in Georgia at companies including the TSAY/Ferguson Williams, Absolute Heating and Air LLC, Absolute Climate Control, Total Comfort Cooling and Heating, Etheridge Heating and Air, and Grady Health System.

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Accredited HVAC Schools in Georgia (GA)

For aspiring HVAC mechanics, installers, and technicians in Georgia, appropriate training and preparation for the career is essential. Although it is not required for licensure, HVAC professionals in GA are encouraged to seek out accredited programs. There are two predominant accreditation agencies in this field: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence.

These organizations weigh several factors in the program accreditation process, such as program mission, quality of facilities and faculty, and comprehensiveness of curricula. For an in-depth examination of each of these factors, check out the PAHRA and HVAC Excellence websites. Luckily for Georgia residents, there are four PAHRA-accredited programs in the state.

West Central Technical College provides PAHRA-accredited career diplomas and certificates in air conditioning technology with sub-specializations for A/C electrical technicians, repairers, technician assistants, and installers. The 51-credit-hour air conditioning technology diploma program is the most robust of all West Central’s offerings, and prepares students for job acquisition, retention and advancement.

Coursework in the diploma program and the 12- to 20-credit-hour certificate programs include; system components; HVACR electrical fundamentals; electrical motors; air conditioning systems application and installation; gas heat; heat pumps and related systems; and troubleshooting air conditioning systems.

  • Location: Carrollton, Georgia; LaGrange, Georgia
  • Accreditation: PAHRA
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour (in-state); $200 per credit-hour (out-of-state)

Georgia Piedmont Technical College provides two 12-credit-hour certificates (air conditioning technician’s assistant and air conditioning electrical technician) along with a 51-credit-hour diploma program and a 66-credit-hour associate of applied science degree program in air conditioning technology.

In the school’s degree program, students take general education coursework in addition to classes. Georgia Piedmont’s programs include coursework such as refrigeration principles and practices; refrigeration system components; HVAC-R electrical motors; HVAC-R electrical components and controls; air conditioning systems application and installation; gas heat; heat pumps and related systems; and residential systems designs.

  • Location: Clarkston, Georgia; Decatur, Georgia
  • Accreditation: PAHRA
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour (resident); $200 per credit-hour (non-resident)

Gwinnett Technical College provides several 12-credit-hour certificates (A/C electrical technician, A/C maintenance technician, and refrigeration system service technician); a 51-credit-hour diploma (air conditioning technology); and a 65-credit-hour associate of applied science (AAS) degree program in air conditioning technology.

As is the case with other programs, the main difference between the AAS and diploma program is breadth of education—those in the AAS program will receive a wider breadth of general education in addition to HVAC offerings. Coursework across Gwinnett’s offerings include refrigeration fundamentals; HVAC-R electrical components and controls; air conditioning systems application and installation, and troubleshooting air conditioning systems.

  • Location: Lawrencevill, Georgia; Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Accreditation: PAHRA
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour (resident); $200 per credit-hour (non-resident)

In addition to the programs listed above, as of April 2020 there were nine HVAC Excellence accredited programs offered by 6 institutions in Georgia.

Coastal Pines Technical College offers a 51-credit-hour air conditioning technology diploma program and four air conditioning certificates which prepare students to become air conditioning repair specialists (20 credit-hours), air conditioning electrical technicians (12 credit-hours), air conditioning technician assistants (12 credit-hours), or residential air conditioning technicians (16 credit-hours).

Coursework varies between each program, and may include refrigerations systems components, air conditioning systems application and installation, HVAC/R electrical motors, and heat pumps and related systems.

  • Location: Golden Isles, Jesup, and Waycross, Georgia
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour (in-state); $200 per credit-hour (out-of-state)

Lanier Technical College offers a 51-credit-hour air conditioning technology diploma program, a 16 credit hour basic residential air conditioning system design certificate, and a 16 credit hour basic residential gas heat design certificate.

Coursework in each program varies, but programs include coursework such as refrigeration principles and practices, air conditioning system application/installation, HVACR electrical motors, and gas heat. To complete these programs, students must pass HVAC Excellence industry certification test (testing price not included in tuition).

  • Location: Gainesville, Georgia
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour (in-state); $200 per credit-hour (out-of-state)

North Georgia Technical College offers a 70-credit-hour associate of applied science (AAS) and a 53-credit-hour diploma in air conditioning technology. NGTC also offers several 12- to 16-credit-hour certificates that prepare students to become heating and air conditioning installation technicians, air conditioning technician assistants, air conditioning electrical technicians, and also prepare students to work in advanced commercial refrigeration.

Similar to other programs in Georgia, the AAS program is the most robust, preparing students for job acquisition, retention, and advancement through a blend of HVAC-specific and general education coursework. Coursework across the programs includes HVAC electrical components and controls, air conditioning systems application and installation, troubleshooting air conditioning systems, and heat pumps and related systems.

  • Location: Clarksville, Georgia
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour (in-state); $200 per credit-hour (out-of-state)

Oconee Fall Line Technical College offers a 61-credit-hour associate of applied science (AAS) in interdisciplinary studies in air conditioning technology and a 51-credit-hour air conditioning technology diploma program. Oconee also offers four 12- to 20-credit-hour certificate programs that, upon completion, prepare students to work as air conditioning electrical technicians, air conditioning repair specialists, air conditioning technician assistants, and heating and air conditioning installation technicians.

Coursework in Oconne’s diverse programming includes refrigeration fundamentals, HVAC/R electrical fundamentals, heat pumps and related systems, and troubleshooting air conditioning systems. All programs except the heating and A/C installation technician and electrical technician programs prepare students to sit for the EPA Section 608 certification exam (cost not included in programming).

  • Location: Dublin, Georgia
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $1531.00 to $7,093.00 for the full program

Southern Crescent Technical College offers a 66-credit-hour associate of applied technology in air conditioning technology, and a 51-credit-hour diploma program in air conditioning technology. For those who are interested in shorter, more specialized programs, SCTC also offers 12- 30-credit-hour technical certificates that prepare students to become heating and air conditioning installations technicians, air conditioning repair specialists, air conditioning system maintenance technicians, and air conditioning technician assistants.

All of SCTC’s programs prepare students to sit for the EPA Section 608 certification exams, and all programs except for the heating and A/C installation technician and air conditioning technician assistant programs prepare students to sit for one or more HVAC Excellence professional certification exams. Coursework in the programs include gas heat, troubleshooting for air conditioning systems, HVAC/R electrical components and controls, and air conditioning systems application and installation.

  • Location: Griffin, Georgia
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour (in-state); $200 per credit-hour (out-of-state)

Southern Regional Technical College offers a 54-credit-hour diploma in air conditioning technology, a 20-credit-hour technical certificate of credit that prepares students to become an air conditioning repair specialist, and a 12-credit-hour technical certificate of credit that prepares students for work as an air conditioning system maintenance technician.

Coursework across SRTC’s programmatic offerings includes refrigeration fundamentals, HVAC/R electrical motors, heat pumps and related systems, and refrigeration principles and practices. The diploma program prepares graduates to sit for the HVAC Excellence competency work ready/exit exam in HVAC electrical.

  • Location: Thomasville and Moultrie Georgia
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Duration: Up to two years
  • Tuition: $7,100 (diploma); $3,339 (20-credit-hour certificate); $2,001 (12-credit-hour certificate)

Please note that there are also some accredited distance-based programs for people living in more rural regions of GA or who have commitments that make it impossible to travel to a school campus. To learn about these options, check out the online HVAC programs page.

HVAC Worker Salaries in Georgia (GA)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019) reported that there were 342,040 HVAC workers around the country with an annual average salary of $51,420. Here is how annual salaries and hourly wages for the 9,970 HVAC technicians working in Georgia compare to national averages.

United States Georgia
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 9,970
Average annual salary $51,420 $43,970
10th percentile $30,610 $26,240
25th percentile $37,660 $32,900
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $42,980
75th percentile $62,070 $54,460
90th percentile $77,920 $63,000

Interestingly, the HVAC mechanics, technicians, and installers in Georgia made only slightly less money than national averages despite enjoying a relatively low cost of living. By illustration, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) found that Georgia was the ninth most affordable state in the country, boasting particular savings in housing.

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Georgia (GA)

Prior to securing employment as an HVAC-R or air conditioning professional in Georgia, it’s important to have the proper credentialing. There is one mandatory national certification for people who work with refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 certification of which there are four kinds varying by type of equipment:

  • type I (small appliances)
  • type II (high-pressure refrigerants)
  • type III (low-pressure refrigerants)
  • type IV (universal)

Type II or higher is required for all GA conditioned air contractors seeking state licensure.
Some HVAC professionals in GA seek certifications from the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), North American Technician Excellence (NATE), or HVAC Excellence as well. For a detailed overview of these options, check out the HVAC certifications page.

Finally, there is a required state-specific credential to consider. A contractor’s license from the Georgia Board of Conditioned Air Contractors is necessary for anyone who completes residential or commercial projects costing more than $2,500. There are two levels of conditioned air contractor licenses available:

  • Class 1 – Restricted (open to people with four years of qualifying experience)
  • Class 2 – Unrestricted (open to those with five years of experience, including proof of having installed systems with at least 175,000 BTU [net] of heating and 60,000 BTU of cooling)

For those who have completed a certificate, diploma, or degree program, two years of this formal training can be applied to qualify for a state contractor license. Additionally, candidates must do the following to qualify for credentialing:

  • Submit three notarized references from professionally credentialed people
  • Show proof of at least a type II (high-pressure refrigerants) EPA Section 608 certification
  • Pass a comprehensive examination in conditioned air with at least a 70 percent score

The open-book exam comprises 100 questions, covering business and law as well as the technical aspects of the profession (e.g., system design, maintenance and repair). The Georgia Board has reciprocal agreements with Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas so candidates who are licensed in those states may be exempt from the exam. Georgia licenses are valid for two years and licensees must complete at least eight hours of continued education (CE) per renewal period in order to maintain their credential in good standing.

Becca Brewer

Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by fostering healing, human wholeness, and next-world building through storytelling help, one-on-one self-awareness workshops, and customized team-alignment sessions. She offers these services at a rate of $0.00 to anyone interested (contact her at rkbrewer@gmail.com for more information). Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.