HVAC Training Programs in Augusta, GA – Accredited HVAC Schools & Certifications

Connect With HVAC Schools

The thriving city of Augusta, GA, is located near the navigable portion of the Savannah River. The river supported Native Americans for centuries. In the mid-1700s, while Georgia was still a British colony, a fort was established to protect the area from a potential Spanish or French invasion. The settlement grew rapidly, due in big part to cotton.

Today, Augusta is a biotechnology, cybersecurity, and healthcare hub. It’s home to Fort Gordon and dozens of corporate headquarters and facilities. The Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Golf Tournament draw thousands of visitors every year. The Augusta Downtown Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and also attracts tourism. In 1996 the City of Augusta merged with the County of Richmond and is now legally known as Augusta-Richmond County.

The climate in Augusta is hot and muggy during the summer. Temperatures begin soaring into the 80s F as early as March and don’t start dropping until November. The months of May through September experience average highs in the upper 90s, with a spike to 100 degrees in July. Most of those months see rainfall of more than four inches each. The annual rainfall averages more than 44 inches. The winters are short but very cold. Temperatures drop quickly by November, with highs in the upper 50s and low 60s. The nighttimes hover in the 40s and 30s, rarely sinking below freezing. Snowfall averages about half an inch annually. The average relative humidity is seldom below 70 percent.

The summer heat and humidity and the winter cold mean that Augusta residents rely on heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort in their homes and workplaces. Manufacturing and distribution centers, educational institutions, and healthcare facilities often make refrigeration (HVAC/R) part of essential climate control. Entertainment venues and attractions also need refrigeration for the comfort of visitors. The artifacts and displays in the historic district require controlled temperature and humidity levels. The electronics crucial to the high-tech and security industries often need specialized climate-control systems and equipment to operate correctly.

According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2021) statistics, 610 HVAC and HVAC/R technicians were employed in Augusta-Richmond County as of May 2021. The technicians and their employers receive resources and support from national, state, and local industry associations, including:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Associated General Contractors of America of Georgia (AGOGA)
  • Builders Association of Metro Augusta, Inc
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Georgia Hispanic Construction Association (GHCA)
  • Plumbers, Pipefitters & HVACR Technicians Local Union 72
  • Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association of Georgia (PHCCA)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • UA Plumbers & Pipefitters, Local 150 Central Savannah River Area

HVAC industry organizations such as these cooperate with others in the industry, regulatory agencies, and businesses to establish and maintain educational, licensing, and performance standards for the safety of technicians, the public, and the environment.

Featured Online Programs

Penn

Take the first step towards your HVAC certification

Online HVACR Technician Career DiplomaVisit Site

Occupational Demand for HVAC and HVAC/R Technicians in Augusta, GA

The nationwide demand for trained HVAC and HVAC/R technicians is expected to increase by 5 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to BLS (2021) statistics. They expect an average of 38,500 new job openings each year.

The growth of the HVAC industry depends on several factors. The construction of new commercial and residential buildings stimulates the demand for climate control installations. The renovation and remodeling of existing structures is essential to the continued expansion. Old equipment and systems must be repaired, replaced, or updated to meet growing or changing requirements. Climate control systems in newer structures are sometimes replaced due to evolving regulations, technological advances, and the demands of new industries. Additionally, the contemporary emphasis on energy efficiency and pollution reduction is a significant factor driving industry growth.

Homeowners and businesses now expect new or modernized buildings to incorporate high-tech. They want “smart” buildings with sophisticated climate-control systems. HVAC technicians working with those systems must be skilled troubleshooters, proficient with computers, and understand electronics and high-tech. Their training and expertise provide the best job opportunities.

Technicians who specialize in new construction may occasionally experience unemployment if construction declines. Augusta’s economy is growing and attracting new businesses, especially high-tech companies, despite pandemic setbacks. According to the Augusta Economic Development Authority, “so many businesses want to come to the Augusta area that [they’re] running out of space for more.” The Authority “is preparing up to 1,000 acres at the corporate park” and more projects are in the planning stages.

Technicians who choose to maintain, service, and repair equipment and systems can expect continuous employment regardless of the economy, as businesses and homeowners rely on year-round climate control.

HVAC and HVAC/R Salaries in Augusta, GA

The BLS (May 2021) records show that HVAC mechanics and installers nationally received a median salary of $48,630. Their records also show that Augusta technicians earned an annual median salary of $44,520. The wage difference is more favorable than it appears, as the cost of living in Georgia is lower than in other American states.

The table below compares BLS (May 2021) statistics for national, state, and regional earnings of HVAC professionals:

United States Georgia Augusta- Richmond County GA
Number of HVAC professionals employed 356,960 10,450 610
Average annual salary $54,690 $49,110 $43,780
10th percentile $34,320 $29,160 $28,940
25th percentile $38,450 $37,140 $36,320
50th percentile $48,630 $47,270 $44,520
75th percentile $62,000 $59,840 $48,420
90th percentile $78,210 $75,940 $60,010

HVAC Apprenticeships in Augusta, GA

Untrained workers have few opportunities for employment. Most aspiring HVAC technicians attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships typically average 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom work annually for three to five years.

The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association Georgia (PHCCA) sponsors an apprenticeship program. Their program includes workforce readiness and pre-apprentice training. The coursework is taught online. Apprentices arrange for their on-the-job training with a participating employer.

UA Plumbers & Pipefitters, Local 150, offers journeyman and apprentice training at their Augusta campus. Applicants must be 18 years old or older, have a high school diploma or GED, and have a driver’s license. They must apply in person. Plumbers, Pipefitters & HVACR Technicians Local Union 72 offers a five-year apprenticeship program through the Mechanical Trades Institute. The main campus is in Atlanta. Apprentices complete a minimum of 8,500 hours of on-the-job training and more than 1,200 hours of classroom training.

Aspiring technicians can also attend HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs from industry associations such as the following:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

Details regarding available courses, scheduling, and fees are on each organization’s website.

Accredited HVAC and HVAC/R Schools in Augusta, GA

Students should select an accredited institution when choosing a school. Accreditation means that an independent agency has evaluated the quality of the school’s program, including both the curriculum and the instructors. HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) accredit HVAC programs.

HVAC Excellence has accredited the following Georgia schools:

  • Coastal Pines Technical College, Waycross, GA; Brunswick, GA; Jesup, GA
  • Lanier Technical College, Gainesville, GA
  • North Georgia Technical College, Clarkesville, GA
  • Southern Crescent Technical College, Griffin, GA
  • Southern Regional Technical College, Thomasville, GA; Moultrie, GA

PAHRA has accredited the following Georgia schools:

  • Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Clarkston, GA; Covington, GA
  • Gwinnett Technical College, Lawrenceville, GA
  • West Central Technical College, Carrollton, GA

Although all the accredited schools require a commute for Augusta students, Coastal Pines and Georgia Piedmont are profiled below due to their accreditation.

Note: The information in this article was compiled in May 2022, when pandemic restrictions were in a state of flux. The profiled schools may have temporarily suspended classes or are offering online options. Please direct questions about timing and format to the school administration.

Technical College System of Georgia

The Technical College System of Georgia includes 22 colleges with 88 campuses throughout the state. Augusta Technical College is located in Augusta. The nearest colleges in the system that offer an HVAC curriculum are:

  • Athens, Athens, GA
  • Oconee Fall Line, Dublin, GA; Sandersville, GA
  • Ogeechee, Statesboro, GA
  • Southeastern, Vidalia, GA

Specific colleges in the system offer a degree or a diploma in air conditioning technology. Most campuses offer one or more of the following certificate programs:

  • Advanced Commercial Air Conditioning
  • Advanced Residential Systems Design
  • Air Conditioning Technician Assistant
  • Air Conditioning Electrical Technician
  • Air Conditioning Repair Specialist
  • Air Conditioning System Maintenance Technician
  • Basic Residential Air Conditioning Design
  • Heating and Air Conditioning Installation Technician
  • Industrial – Commercial Air
  • Light Commercial Air Conditioning Specialization
  • Residential Air Conditioning Residential Technician

Not all programs are available at all colleges at all times.

It should be noted that each college in the system offers the same curricula for each of its programs. Students will complete the same coursework regardless of which college they attend.

All the certificate programs start with HVAC/R fundamentals and electrical motors, components, and controls. Additional coursework that matches the title of the certificate builds on that basic knowledge. Students planning to earn a diploma may transfer the credits from a certificate program to the credits needed for the diploma. They should always consult with their class advisor or department head when planning. The certificates prepare graduates for entry-level positions.

The technical curriculum for the air conditioning technology diploma program offered by specific colleges includes refrigeration fundamentals, principles, and practices, refrigeration systems components, HVAC/R electrical fundamentals and motors, electrical components and controls, air conditioning systems applications and installation, gas heat, heat pumps and related systems, troubleshooting air conditioning systems, and introduction to computers.

Students will also complete core education coursework in fundamentals of English, foundations of mathematics, and interpersonal relations and professional development, for a total of 51 credits to earn their diploma. Graduates are qualified to seek positions as air conditioning technicians.

Students enrolled in the air conditioning technology degree program offered at specific colleges complete the technical curriculum included in the diploma program, including residential system design, commercial refrigeration design, and a technical elective. They must also take general education coursework that includes electives from language arts/communication, natural sciences/mathematics, and humanities/fine arts.

They are awarded their degree after of 66 credits. Graduates are qualified to take the EPA Section 608 exam and seek employment as HVAC technicians.

Augusta Technical College

Students at Augusta can earn an air conditioning technology diploma during the fall and summer terms. The coursework is offered in day or evening pathways.

  • Location: Augusta, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $100 per credit
  • Program length: 12 to 18 months

Athens Technical College

Athens offers an air conditioning technology diploma program, an air conditioning electrical technician certificate, and an air conditioning maintenance technician certificate. Both certificates take 12 credits to complete.

  • Location: Athens, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $100 per credit
  • Program length: Certificate (varies); diploma (12 to 18 months)

Coastal Pines Technical College

Coastal Pines offers an air conditioning technology diploma and the following certificate programs:

  • Air conditioning electrical technician – 12 credits
  • Air conditioning repair specialist – 20 credits
  • Air conditioning technician assistant – 12 credits
  • Residential air conditioning technician – 16 credits

All of the programs are currently available at all three campuses.

  • Location: Waycross, GA; Brunswick, GA; Jesup, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); HVAC Excellence
  • Tuition: $100 per credit
  • Program length: Certificate (varies); diploma (12 to 18 months)

Georgia Piedmont Technical College

Georgia Piedmont offers an air conditioning technology degree program, a commercial refrigeration diploma program, and two certificate programs at the Clarkston campus. The certificate programs are air conditioning electrical technician and air conditioning technician assistant. Both require 12 credits to complete.

The commercial refrigeration diploma program differs from the air conditioning technology diploma described above. The curriculum includes refrigeration fundamentals, principles, and practices, refrigeration systems components, HVAC/R electrical fundamentals and motors, electrical components and controls, thermodynamics of refrigeration, commercial refrigeration design and application, troubleshooting and servicing commercial refrigeration, direct currents and introduction to computers.

Students also complete core education requirements that include fundamentals of English, foundations of mathematics, and interpersonal relations and professional development. They earn their diploma after 55 credits.

The air conditioning technology degree program is the same as described for all the colleges in the system.

  • Location: Clarkston, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); PAHRA
  • Tuition: $100 per credit
  • Program length: Certificate (varies); diploma (12 to 18 months); degree (two years)

Oconee Fall Line

Oconee students can choose to enroll in an air conditioning technology degree program, an air conditioning technology diploma program, or the following certificate programs:

  • Air conditioning electrical technician – 12 credits
  • Air conditioning repair specialist – 20 credits
  • Air conditioning technician assistant – 12 credits
  • Heating and air conditioning installation technician – 12 credits

Although the programs are taught at the Dublin campus, basic skills coursework in both the diploma and degree program may be taken at the Sandersville campus.

  • Location: Dublin, GA; Sandersville, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $100 per credit
  • Program length: Certificate (varies); diploma (12 to 18 months); degree (two years)

Ogeechee Technical College

Ogeechee offers students an air conditioning technology diploma program, an air conditioning electrical technician certificate, and an air conditioning repair specialist certificate. The certificate programs may be completed in 12 and 20 credits, respectively.

  • Location: Statesboro, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $100 per credit
  • Program length: Certificate (varies); diploma (12 to 18 months)

Southeastern Technical College

Southeastern offers an air conditioning technology diploma program. It differs from the program at the other colleges in that it adds college foundations to the core curriculum and a technical elective for a total of 55 credits.

The college also offers the following certificate programs: air conditioning technician assistant (12 credits), heating and air conditioning installation assistant (12 credits), residential air conditioning technician (16 credits), air conditioning repair specialist (20 credits), and air conditioning electrical technician (12 credits).

  • Location: Vidalia, GA
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $100 per credit
  • Program length: Certificate (varies); diploma (12 to 18 months)

Students in Augusta who are unable to attend one of the above schools may find that online institutions can better meet their needs. More information on accredited programs is available in the online HVAC training guide.

HVAC and HVAC/R Certification and Licensing in Augusta, GA

HVAC and HVAC technicians who handle refrigerants are required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to obtain Section 608 certification. Four certification levels are available based on the type and size of equipment on which a technician works. Each level described below requires technicians to pass a specific exam on refrigerant safety:

  • Type I – for servicing small appliances
  • Type II – for servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and automotive air conditioning
  • Type III – for servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances
  • Universal – for servicing all types of equipment

Details of the criteria for each certification are available on the EPA website.

Technicians may obtain Section 608 certification and other certifications that increase their employability from industry organizations such as the following:

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

Each organization includes details of availability, scheduling, and fees on its website. There is also more information on the HVAC certifications page.

The Georgia State Board of Conditioned Air Contractors requires all HVAC contractors with residential or commercial projects of $2,500 or more to obtain a license. Applicants with four years of qualifying experience may obtain a Class I restricted license. Qualifying experience includes two years of residential installation experience as lead technician, and one year each as a service technician and a residential supervisory position. Applicants must also complete a board-approved heat loss and gain and a duct design course.

A Class II unrestricted license is available to applicants with five years of experience that includes installing systems of at least 175,000 BTU heating and 60,000 cooling. Their experience must also include one year of commercial only installation and two years of commercial supervisory experience.

Applicants who have completed a diploma program in engineering may receive credit for up to two years of experience. Those who have completed a certificate program may receive credit for one year of experience. All applicants must have Section 608 certification.

Applicants for both licenses must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, submit an application with education and experience verified, submit proof of U.S. citizenship or right-to-work documents, undergo a background check, pass a licensing exam, and pay a fee. Licensed HVAC contractors must submit a $10,000 surety bond before bidding on a job. Each business must also be registered, which entails submitting a notarized application. A fee is not required for the registration.

The City of Augusta-Richmond County requires contractors to obtain a business tax certificate, post a performance bond of $20,000 for commercial projects and $15,000 for residential projects, obtain a certificate of insurance for public liability and property damage in the amount of at least $50,000 for each person and $100,000 for each occurrence, and pay an annual fee.

As licensing regulations may change, HVAC professionals are encouraged to confirm that they comply with current state and local guidelines before starting a project.

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.