HVAC Programs & Certifications in Overland Park, Kansas

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William Strang, a railroad tycoon, founded Overland Park, KS, in 1905. The city was incorporated in 1960 and has never stopped growing. It’s now the second-largest city in Kansas and the primary city in the Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS Combined Statistical Area. The economy initially depended on the cattle industry, which is still a significant factor. However, service businesses and technology are now the mainstays of the economy.

Residents of Overland Park are generally considered to have a higher-than-average level of education. Education services and technology are, accordingly, among the high-growth industries. Finance, health care, insurance, professional services, retail trade, science, telecommunication, and transportation round out the economy. Tourist attractions such as the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, historical buildings, museums, two golf courses, and a soccer complex draw visitors to the area.

It rains every month in Overland Park, although more snow than rain falls during the winter months. The summers are hot and humid, and the winters are frigid. January experiences nearly six inches of snow, followed by February with four inches. More than five inches of rain falls each month during May and June. Temperatures are in the high 80s F from June through August, although they can spike to over 100 in record-setting years. Low temperatures drop below freezing during December through February and can dip to minus degrees in some years.

The summer heat and humidity and the winter cold mean that Overland Park residents rely on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort in their homes and workplaces. Healthcare facilities and educational institutions typically add refrigeration (HVAC/R) to their climate control systems. Businesses that rely on technology frequently require specialized systems and equipment to keep their electronics operating correctly.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2022) data shows that 2,850 HVAC and HVAC/R technicians were employed in the Kansas City, MO-KS area, which includes Overland Park. National, state, and local industry associations offer the technicians and their employers resources and support. These include, among others:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Associated General Contractors of Kansas (AGC)
  • Association of Energy Engineers – Kansas City (AEEKC)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Kansas City (MCAKC)
  • Kansas Building Industry Association (KBIA)
  • Kansas Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association (PHCCKS)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA)
  • UA Local 441 Plumbers and Pipefitters

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.

Occupational Demand for HVAC and HVAC/R Technicians in Overland Park, KS

Data compiled by the BLS (2022) shows an increase of 5 percent from 2021 through 2031 nationwide in the demand for trained HVAC and HVAC/R technicians. Their projections show 40,100 new positions for technicians.

The continued growth of the HVAC industry is due primarily to the construction of new commercial and residential structures. That’s especially true in cities like Overland Park, experiencing a rapid growth rate. Modern climate-control systems and equipment complexity requires highly trained technicians to install, service, and maintain. As older buildings are remodeled or renovated to accommodate the needs of new businesses, the aging climate-control systems must be replaced, repaired, or updated. On occasion, the HVAC systems in newer structures must be replaced or upgraded due to changing regulations, technological advances, or the requirements of new industries.

Businesses and homeowners also expect their buildings to be “smart.” New and modernized structures incorporate sophisticated climate-control systems to meet their expectations. The emphasis on energy efficiency and pollution reduction additionally contributes to industry growth. Technicians must be skilled troubleshooters, understand electronics and high tech, and be proficient with computers. Their expertise gives them the best job opportunities.

Technicians who rely exclusively on new construction may sometimes experience unemployment if the rate of construction declines. Overland Park continues to grow, and the economy remains strong and diverse. As part of the Kansas City, MO-KS statistical area, Overland Park shares in an economy that “historically weathers economic fluctuations.” The area’s resources draw new residents and businesses, making a downturn in the economy and new construction unlikely in the foreseeable future.

Technicians specializing in maintaining, servicing, and repairing existing systems and equipment can expect continuous employment as homeowners and businesses depend on reliable year-round climate control regardless of the economy.

HVAC and HVAC/R Salaries in Overland Park, Kansas

Salary data accumulated by the BLS (May 2022) shows that HVAC mechanics and installers received an annual median salary of $51,390 nationwide. Technicians in the Kansas City, MO-KS area, which includes Overland Park, averaged an annual median salary of $59,580. The wage difference is significant, as the cost of living in Kansas is lower than in other American states. However, it should be noted that the cost of living in Overland Park is higher than in some other Kansas cities, which is a factor in the higher wages.

Average earnings for the Overland Park region, Kansas state, and national HVAC professionals, as per the BLS (May 2022), are shown below:

United States Kansas Kansas City, MO-KS
Number of HVAC professionals employed 374,770 3,440 2,850
Average annual salary $57,460 $54,270 $64,680
10th percentile $36,170 $34,240 $36,190
25th percentile $44,100 $38,350 $45,330
50th percentile $51,390 $49,020 $59,580
75th percentile $65,630 $64,020 $75,490
90th percentile $82,630 $80,630 $98,150

HVAC Apprenticeships in Overland Park, Kansas

Most aspiring HVAC and HVAC/R technicians participate in an apprenticeship program or attend classes to obtain the skills needed for employment. Formal training provides workers with better job opportunities, enables them to potentially start at higher wages, and earn more throughout their careers. Time invested in classes varies according to the level of expertise sought. Apprenticeships include specified hours of on-the-job training, usually 2,000 hours, and classroom work, usually 144 hours, annually for three to five years.

The KansasWorks Office of Registered Apprenticeship offers support and resources for workers and employers. Apprentices must find an employer willing to sponsor them or create an account at KansasWorks. That site maintains a database of employment opportunities.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) offers training in the construction trades, including pipefitting and OSHA safety. Their nearest training facility to Overland Park is in Kansas City, MO.

If the above resources don’t meet their needs, workers may find that training sponsored by national associations such as the following will be a better fit:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

Each organization maintains details of programs, schedules, and fees on its website.

Accredited HVAC and HVAC/R Schools in Overland Park, Kansas

Workers choosing to attend a school for their training should ensure that they select an accredited institution. Accreditation is the process by which the quality of the program, including the curriculum and the instructors, is evaluated by an independent agency. HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) are industry agencies that accredit HVAC programs. HVAC Excellence has not yet accredited a Kansas school. PAHRA has accredited Johnson County Community College in Overland Park. Other reputable agencies have accredited the remaining schools.

Johnson County Community College

JCCC offers an HVAC technology certificate and an HVAC technology degree. The coursework for both programs includes classroom lectures followed by hands-on practice in the lab. Students may attend classes during the day, evening, or on weekends.

The curriculum for the students in the certificate program includes industrial safety/OSHA-30, HVAC fundamentals, electrical fundamentals, heating systems fundamentals, sheet metal layout and fabrication, workplace skills, EPA 608 refrigeration management, load calculation and duct design, cooling systems, installation and startup procedures, and advanced electricity. Students earn their certificate after 33 hours and are qualified to seek employment as HVAC technicians.

Students enrolled in the degree program first complete the certificate curriculum. They then complete the following technical coursework: HVAC rooftop units, 410-A refrigerant management, code review, introduction to plumbing, trade certification review, and an HVAC internship. They also complete general education coursework that includes composition, social science, economics, mathematics, communication, and humanities. They are awarded their degree after 63 hours. Graduates are qualified to take industry exams that include EPA 608, OSHA-30, and NATE industry certification.

  • Location: Overland Park, KS
  • Accreditation: PAHRA, Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $97 per credit for Johnson County residents; $116 per credit for other Kansas residents
  • Program length: Certificate one year; degree two years

Kansas City Kansas Community College

Students may earn a certificate in heating and cooling at KCKCC. The curriculum includes safety orientation, refrigeration system components, electrical theory and components, basic sheet metal, HVAC fundamentals, heating system fundamentals, electrical fundamentals, workplace skills, heat pump systems, system servicing and troubleshooting, EPA 608, electric heating, cooling, and refrigeration.

The instructor will then select nine hours of electives for students from the following: refrigeration theory, refrigeration system components, heating and refrigeration internship, R410-A certification, cooling II, special projects, electrical controls and motors, and geothermal heating. They complete 44 hours of coursework to earn their certificate and are qualified to take industry exams in refrigerant safety.

  • Location: Kansas City, KS
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $105 per hour for Wyandotte residents, $114 per credit for other Kansas residents
  • Program length: One year

Washburn Institute of Technology

Washburn Tech offers a climate and energy control technology (HVAC) certificate program. The school partners with industry businesses, such as Trane and Snap-On Tools, and with the National Coalition of Certification Centers to give students a comprehensive training opportunity.

The curriculum includes workplace skills, safety orientation, electrical fundamentals, heating systems fundamentals, advanced HVAC electrical theory, advanced heating systems, sheet metal fabrication, HVAC fundamentals, heating system installation, EPA 608, introduction to mechanical refrigeration, heat pumps, and commercial HVAC. The program takes 44 credits to complete. Credits may be transferred to Washburn University.

Students can attend classes in the mornings, afternoons, or full day. The curriculum and fees are the same for each option. Graduates are qualified to take industry exams that include 410-A safety, building automation level 1, EPA 608, HVAC/R ICE, meter certification, OSHA-10, and tool safety.

  • Location: Topeka, KS
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $10,675
  • Program length: Mornings or afternoons two years, full-day one year

Washburn University

Students who earn the climate and energy control technology (HVAC) certificate at Washburn Tech may enter the climate and energy control-industrial technology degree program at Washburn University. Students complete an additional 27 credit hours to earn their degree. The coursework includes tech survey, mathematics, writing, the Washburn experience, and electives from humanities, natural science, and social science.

  • Location: Topeka, KS
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $322 per hour (Students enrolled concurrently at Washburn Tech and Washburn University may have their tuition reduced.)
  • Program length: One year

Overland Park aspiring technicians may find that online institutions can meet their needs if they cannot attend one of the above schools. Information on accredited online programs is available at online HVAC training.

HVAC and HVAC/R Certification and Licensing in Overland Park, Kansas

All HVAC technicians who handle refrigerators are required by the Environmental Agency (EPA) to be Section 608 certified. Certification depends on the size and type of equipment the technician works on. Technicians must pass a refrigerant safety exam relevant to the level of certification desired, as follows:

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

The EPA website includes details of the criteria for each certification available.

Section 608 certification, as well as other industry certifications which increase a technician’s employability, are available from organizations such as the following:

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

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

Kansas does not license HVAC technicians or contractors at the state level. However, all businesses must register with the state and meet the city and county’s licensing requirements.

HVAC and HVAC/R contractors in Johnson County must be licensed as a Class DM mechanical contractors. Applicants must submit the following:

  • A signed application
  • Proof of general liability and workers comp insurance
  • Designation of a qualifying individual who must hold a relevant bachelor’s degree or pass a test approved by the board
  • Proof of experience as either a journeyman for two years or four years of field experience
  • Photo and digital ID
  • Proof that the business is in good standing if incorporated
  • Required fees

Licenses must be renewed annually. Renewal requires the completion of eight hours of continuing education from an approved organization and payment of a fee.

The City of Overland Park does not require additional HVAC technicians and contractors’ licensing.

All HVAC professionals are encouraged to confirm licensing guidelines before starting any project, as the various regulatory agencies may change their requirements at anytime.

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.