HVAC Schools in Idaho (ID)

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Throughout Idaho, residents are living in homes that are equipped with climate-control systems to protect them from the elements. While the Gem State may be home to incredibly beautiful landscapes, it is also host to frigid winters and blistering summers across the state, causing many to reach for the dial on the heater or air conditioner. Because of the varied climate, Idaho may be a perfect place to begin a new career in the field of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).

The weather patterns are not the only reason to pursue a career in this field: HVAC technicians also receive strong support from local unions and organizations. Take the Plumbers & Pipefitters UA Local 296, a union with an office in Meridian. This organization offers benefits to members in the form of ongoing training, events, networking with other members, access to job listings, and much more. Additionally, HVAC technicians in Idaho may choose to pursue membership with the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union Local #55, instead. This union, which has offices in Boise as well as Spokane and Pasco, Washington, offers similar benefits; notably, it boasts an apprenticeship program for those interested in comprehensive training to develop the requisite skills and knowledge to succeed in the industry.

What can an HVAC professional in Idaho expect to do on a daily basis? Following are a handful of typical duties:

  • Calibrate HVAC equipment when required
  • Perform routine calculations
  • Maintain proper records
  • Read and interpret blueprints
  • Remain in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations
  • Travel to and from worksites and office locations
  • Offer education to customers on energy use and conservation
  • Maintain active licensure and permits

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and some HVAC technicians in Idaho may have additional responsibilities. Additionally, HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants (in any state_ must maintain an active EPA Section 608 Certification.

As the HVAC industry continues to grow and thrive in Idaho, now may prove the perfect time to enter this lucrative field. The following guide outlines the scope of the industry and growth projections across Idaho, as well as salary statistics, information about training programs, and the licensure requirements.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Idaho

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) reported that there were 332,900 technicians working across the country, a number that is only expected to grow in the future. Specifically, the BLS projected that openings in the HVAC industry would grow 15 percent overall between 2016 and 2026, representing an addition of 48,800 new jobs nationally. This growth rate is much faster than the expected average growth across all occupations during that time period, which is just seven percent.

What are the driving factors behind the rapid expansion in the HVAC industry? For one, laws surrounding the HVAC industry are constantly in flux, which increases the demand for skilled technicians who can ensure customers remain in compliance with regulations. Furthermore, virtually all new buildings in Idaho are constructed with HVAC systems in place, which requires the expertise of an HVAC professional throughout the construction process. Additionally, HVAC systems must be replaced every 10 to 15 years, and generally require routine maintenance by a professional in the interim.

By taking a look at the available job opportunities in Idaho, it is fairly easy to see the demand for skilled HVAC technicians. For example, Monster (Oct. 2018) listed 158 different jobs in the area with companies like Honeywell, Ultimate Heating & Air, Gritman Medical Center, and others. Indeed (Oct. 2018) yielded 239 results with American Chiller Service, Trademark Mechanical, Esco Services, and Siemens, among many other companies.

HVAC Worker Salary in Idaho

The BLS (2017) reported that HVAC technicians can make a generous wage throughout their career. Indeed, the median annual salary for HVAC workers was approximately $47,080 per year—$23.81 per hour—with these percentiles:

United States (332,900 HVAC workers): $49,530 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $29,120
  • 25th percentile: $36,150
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,080
  • 75th percentile: $60,270
  • 90th percentile: $75,330

In hourly figures, these salaries amounted to:

United States: $23.81/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $14.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.38/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.64/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.98/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $36.22/hr.

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (Oct. 2018), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

United States: 879 HVAC workers

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $36,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $44,402
  • 75th percentile: $56,000
  • 90th percentile: $71,000

An additional 4,809 HVAC workers gave Payscale their hourly salary figures, resulting in these percentile wages:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.26/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.00/hr.

HVAC technicians in Idaho are not compensated as well as those in the rest of the nation, although the wages are still competitive, especially given that the Missouri Economic Research and Information Council (MERIC 2018) found that Idaho is the 15th most affordable state in the country. Specifically, the BLS showed that there were 2,010 technicians statewide earning an average annual salary of $41,210 and these percentiles:

Idaho (2,101 HVAC workers): $41,210 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,010
  • 25th percentile: $31,710
  • 50th percentile (median): $41,300
  • 75th percentile: $50,050
  • 90th percentile: $59,420

In hourly figures, these equated to:

Idaho: $19.81/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $12.03/hr
  • 25th percentile: $15.24/hr
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.86/hr
  • 75th percentile: $24.06/hr
  • 90th percentile: $28.57/hr

The BLS also provides salary statistics on eight different geographic regions throughout the state, which are listed in the tables below with the number of HVAC professionals, average salary, and percentiles:

Boise City (1,020 HVAC workers): $41,810 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,670
  • 25th percentile: $31,820
  • 50th percentile (median): $41,900
  • 75th percentile: $51,420
  • 90th percentile: $59,850

Coeur d’Alene (240 HVAC workers): $40,070 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $26,320/li>
  • 25th percentile: $32,740
  • 50th percentile (median): $41,350
  • 75th percentile: $47,790
  • 90th percentile: $51,860

Idaho Falls (number of HVAC workers unreported): $40,730 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $25,010
  • 25th percentile: $28,270
  • 50th percentile (median0: $42,710
  • 75th percentile: $50,130
  • 90th percentile: $59,180

Lewiston, ID-WA (50 HVAC workers): $34,760 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $21,860
  • 25th percentile: $28,090
  • 50th percentile (median): $34,520
  • 75th percentile: $41,180
  • 90th percentile: $48,950

Panhandle of Idaho Nonmetropolitan Area (60 HVAC workers): $39,850 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $23,120
  • 25th percentile: $32,540
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,440
  • 75th percentile: $48,000
  • 90th percentile: $51,680/li>

Pocatello (110 HVAC workers): $43,960 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $23,540
  • 25th percentile: $32,850
  • 50th percentile (median): $44,530
  • 75th percentile: $56,860
  • 90th percentile: $63,050

South Central Idaho Nonmetropolitan area (320 HVAC workers): $39,520 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $21,100
  • 25th percentile: $28,190
  • 50th percentile (median): $37,760
  • 75th percentile: $48,750
  • 90th percentile: $62,720

Southeast Idaho Nonmetropolitan Area (90 HVAC workers): $43,300 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $34,630
  • 25th percentile: $38,310
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,440
  • 75th percentile: $48,450
  • 90th percentile: $51,780

Accredited HVAC Schools in Idaho

Prior to working as an HVAC technician, it is necessary to obtain the requisite skills and knowledge through a training program. Typically, instruction is available through an apprenticeship, degree, or certificate program.

An apprenticeship usually offers comprehensive training while paying students to learn. For example, the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union Local #55 of Boise provides an apprenticeship program which lasts four years, during which the apprentice will receive on-the-job training, as well as 280 hours of classroom education each year. Apprentices earn compensation for their work, and are eligible for five percent raises every six months.

Aspiring HVAC technicians also have the option to pursue a degree. For example, the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls offers an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) in air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating technology, a program that has been accredited by HVAC Excellence. This 60-credit program lasts two years, during which students take courses on heat pumps, fossil fuel furnaces, air conditioning, EPA certification, and commercial refrigeration, among a number of other classes. Tuition is set at $130 per credit for in-district students, bringing the total cost of the program to $7,800.

Finally, aspiring HVAC technicians also have the option of pursuing a certificate. North Idaho College of Coeur d’Alene provides a certificate in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. Students in this nine-month program take 42 to 44 credit-hours of courses focusing on HVAC/R systems, electricity, heating systems, local fuel codes, applied thermodynamics, the refrigeration cycle, and more. Tuition for residents is $140 per credit-hour, bringing the total cost of the program between $5,880 and $6,160.

Here, it is also important to note that more and more aspiring HVAC technicians are choosing to enroll in accredited programs, which may last up to two years. Currently only two agencies provide accreditation for HVAC schools: the aforementioned HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). As of November 2017, there was one HVAC Excellence-accredited program in ID and no PAHRA-accredited options.

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Idaho

To remain in compliance with the law, HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants must maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification. This certification is broken down into four categories: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal).

In addition, certain skill-based HVAC certifications are available to HVAC professionals, as well. For example, the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association provides the entry-level Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator; North American Technician Excellence offers Industry Competency Exams or ICE; and HVAC Excellence has the Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology Plus credential. While it is not always necessary to obtain a specific certification in order to find employment, it will likely have benefits when searching for a job.

As a final note, all aspiring technicians must obtain the proper local licensure and credentialing before starting any work in the field. Specifically, HVAC workers must obtain a license through the Idaho Division of Building Safety in one of the following six categories:

  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman HVAC
  • HVAC Contractor
  • Specialty HVAC Apprentice
  • Specialty Journeyman HVAC
  • Specialty HVAC Contractor

The requirements for each of the six licenses vary; however, for each license, the aspiring HVAC technician must submit an application with proof of work experience and/or the completion of a training program, as well as a $35 fee. Once the application has been approved, the applicant is required to sit for the relevant examination. Upon successfully passing the exam, the license will be provided to the applicant once they pay a licensing fee and submit an additional Compliance Bond.

The Idaho Division of Building Safety states, “Persons who perform electrical, HVAC or plumbing work without a required state-issued license or who violate other applicable codes or rules are subject to civil penalties.” Therefore, all HVAC professionals in the state are strongly advised to secure all requisite permits and licenses prior to beginning any work.