HVAC Training Schools in Missouri

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In the Show-Me State with its balmy summers and cool winters, there is a thriving demand for skilled professionals in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R). In this relatively high paying industry, there is an array of Missouri-based trade associations supporting workers in this field. For example, the Missouri Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors was incorporated in 1993 and represents 123 licensed contractor firms across the eastern region of Missouri (MO). Not only does the group offer educational programs to fulfill varying municipal licensing requirements, it also boasts a monthly newsletter, a lending library, legislative advocacy, networking events, and group discounts for some services.

Two other organizations of note are the Eastern Missouri Mechanical Contractors Association, which provides a state-of-the-art training center, and the Mechanical Contractors Association of Kansas City (MCA-KC), which has training events, labor relations resources, and legal advocacy at the local and federal levels for issues affecting the industry. In 2015, the MCA-KC celebrated its 125th anniversary, and it continues to be a mainstay HVAC organization in the Kansas City area.

HVAC installers and technicians in Missouri have varied responsibilities in their profession such as laying electrical wiring and pipes; repairing or maintaining system components (e.g., motors, humidifiers, hermetic compressors, filters, fans, controls, split systems, water pumps, economizers, etc.); calculating heat loads and losses; soldering and brazing parts; keeping detailed customer service records; engaging in ongoing training; performing all HVAC work to manufacturer specifications; keeping active municipal credentialing (as necessary, in areas such as Kansas City); being fluent in versatile system types (e.g., oil burning, gas, geothermal); and making recommendations to clients to improve the energy-efficiency or cost-effectiveness of systems.

While some of these professionals focus on one point-of-entry (e.g., installation, maintenance, etc.) or a type of equipment (e.g., commercial refrigerators, oil-burning furnaces), others may be generalist workers capable of servicing a range of equipment types. It’s important to add that as of November 2018, there wasn’t a specific state license required, but local requirements on permitting vary by municipality, a variable discussed in the licensing section below. Also, all workers nationwide who handle refrigerants must get the EPA Section 608 certification, the sole nationally mandatory credential in this field.

This guide covers the available accredited HVAC training schools in MO, as well as the growth projections in the industry, salary prospects, and local licensing procedures.

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Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Missouri

As mentioned in the introduction, HVAC is a high-growth industry in Missouri and beyond. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) predicted a 15 percent increase in openings in this field nationwide between 2016 and 2026, faster than the average growth anticipated across all occupations (7 percent) during that time period. There’s evidence that the countrywide projected growth of HVAC openings is roughly similar to that in MO. Projections Central (2017) reported that there would be a 17.1 percent explosion in positions in this field during the same decade; with the expected addition of 740 fresh openings in Missouri’s HVAC industry.

There are varied forces contributing to the steady stream of opportunities for MO HVAC workers. Not only do HVAC systems need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, but since most modern structures have climate control systems, the servicing needs are steady throughout the year, even during the lower spring and fall seasons. Furthermore, many owners of older buildings opt to upgrade or retrofit their structures with state-of-the-art HVAC equipment, and this too provides a wealth of opportunities. In areas of high rates of construction like Kansas City, there is a particular need for HVAC installation services. Additionally, the legislation continually evolves regarding the energy-efficiency of systems, not to mention all clients’ desire to have the most cost-effective solutions in place, twin forces which are contributing to the healthy employment atmosphere for these workers.

The BLS (2017) notes that HVAC workers incur one of the highest rates of injury and illness among American professions for several reasons: these skilled professionals may be expected to lift heavy equipment, deal with refrigerants, travel to job sites in all weather conditions, and occasionally work in cramped conditions. All of these features of the job can lead to a higher-than-average incidence of muscle strains, electric shock, frostbite, burns, and other work-related complications. As long as HVAC professionals in MO don proper safety equipment and have rigorous training prior to completing projects in the field, these risks can generally be kept to a minimum.

As proof of the booming industry in HVAC, Indeed (Nov. 2018) had 498 relevant HVAC openings in MO, including positions with Gallagher Mechanical, Pernell Inc., Blue Valley Heating and Cooling, Vogel Heating & Cooling, and more. Monster (Nov. 2018) boasted an additional 25 MO openings with varied employers such as Emcor, Pearce Services, and AB May Company, to name a few.

Missouri HVAC Salaries

Not only is HVAC a high-growth profession, it is also relatively lucrative, especially for a profession requiring only one to two years of postsecondary training. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) reported that the 307,060 HVAC workers around the country made an annual average salary of $49,530, and had the following percentiles:

United States (307,060 HVAC workers): $49,530 annual average salary

Missouri (5,720 HVAC workers): $46,930 annual average salary

Annual salary Hourly salary
United States Missouri United States Missouri
Average $49,530 $46,930 $23.81 $22.56
10th percentile $29,120 $27,150 $14.00 $13.05
25th percentile $36,150 $33,820 $17.38 $16.26
50th percentile $47,080 $44,560 $22.64 $21.42
75th percentile $60,270 $60,310 $28.98 $29.00
90th percentile $75,330 $72,680 $36.22 $34.94

It is important to note that the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2018) found Missouri was the fourth most affordable state nationwide, boasting huge savings in housing in particular. This low cost of living means that even average salaries will go farther in Missouri than other states.

As in any state, in Missouri salaries vary by region of employment. Columbia and St. Louis enjoyed the highest salaries in the state. Following is a breakdown of the number of HVAC workers employed, average salaries, and percentile figures among the 12 BLS-designated regions of Missouri (BLS 2017):

Cape Girardeau, MO-IL (140 HVAC workers employed): $47,050 annual average salary

Cape Girardeau, MO-IL
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $47,050 $22.62
10th percentile $29,100 $13.99
25th percentile $35,330 $16.99
50th percentile $44,890 $21.58
75th percentile $56,760 $27.29
90th percentile $70,520 $33.90

Central Missouri nonmetropolitan area (270 HVAC workers): $39,780 annual average salary

Central Missouri nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $39,780/td>

$19.13
10th percentile $27,310 $13.13
25th percentile $32,820 $15.78
50th percentile $40,140 $19.30
75th percentile $46,670 $22.44
90th percentile $50,680 $24.36

Columbia, MO (260 HVAC workers): $50,710 annual average salary

Columbia, MO
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $50,710 $24.38
10th percentile $29,620 $14.24
25th percentile $42,710 $20.53
50th percentile $50,520 $24.29
75th percentile $61,480 $29.56
90th percentile $72,420 $34.82

Jefferson City, MO (90 HVAC workers): $44,280 annual average salary

Jefferson City, MO
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $44,280 $21.29
10th percentile $33,170 $15.95
25th percentile $35,710 $17.17
50th percentile $40,110 $19.28
75th percentile $48,790 $23.46
90th percentile $64,170 $30.85

Joplin, MO (number of HVAC workers unknown): $41,660 annual average salary

Joplin, MO
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $41,660 $20.03
10th percentile $21,660 $10.41
25th percentile $31,200 $15.00
50th percentile $40,070 $19.26
75th percentile $54,590 $26.24
90th percentile $62,740 $35.27

Kansas City, MO-KS (1,690 HVAC workers): $48,440 annual average salary

Kansas City, MO-KS
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $48,440 $14.62
10th percentile $30,410 $14.62
25th percentile $36,640 $17.62
50th percentile $47,850 $23.00
75th percentile $59,810 $28.75
90th percentile $70,180 $33.74

North Missouri nonmetropolitan area (220 HVAC workers): $42,820 annual average salary

North Missouri nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $42,820 $20.58
10th percentile $26,840 $12.90
25th percentile $30,630 $14.73
50th percentile $39,510 $19.00
75th percentile $49,750 $23.92
90th percentile $70,200 $33.75

Southeast Missouri nonmetropolitan area (300 HVAC workers): $38,900 annual average salary

Southeast Missouri nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $38,900 $18.70
10th percentile $23,280 $11.19
25th percentile $28,010 $13.47
50th percentile $35,960 $17.29
75th percentile $46,110 $22.17
90th percentile $63,290 $30.43

Southwest Missouri nonmetropolitan area (240 HVAC workers): $39,430 annual average salary

Southwest Missouri nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $39,430 $18.96
10th percentile $18,930 $9.10
25th percentile $28,090 $13.51
50th percentile $35,760 $17.19
75th percentile $41,410 $19.91
90th percentile $73,570 $35.37

Springfield, MO (750 HVAC workers): $42,930 annual average salary

Springfield, MO
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $42,930 $20.64
10th percentile $28,080 $13.50
25th percentile $32,890 $15.81
50th percentile $37,560 $18.06
75th percentile $51,990 $24.99
90th percentile $64,630 $31.07

St. Joseph, MO-KS (number of HVAC workers unknown): $37,870 annual average salary

St. Joseph, MO-KS
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $37,870 $18.20
10th percentile $18,050 $8.68
25th percentile $20,190 $9.71
50th percentile $38,640 $18.58
75th percentile $46,350 $22.29
90th percentile $54,100 $26.01

St. Louis, MO-IL (2,360 HVAC workers): $52,850 annual average salary

St. Louis, MO-IL
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $52,850 $25.51
10th percentile $28,610 $13.75
25th percentile $38,100 $18.32
50th percentile $54,340 $26.13
75th percentile $66,990 $32.20
90th percentile $76,450 $36.75

Accredited HVAC Schools in Missouri

Fortunately for aspiring HVAC professionals in MO, there is an abundance of accredited training schools in the state. The two main program-approval entities nationwide are HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA); interested students are encouraged to check out those websites or the HVAC programs homepage to learn about how programs are accredited.

In MO, there were four HVAC Excellence-accredited programs as of November 2018. For example, Hillyard Technical Center in St. Joseph offers a nine-month HVAC/R program, featuring preparation for several certification exams such as the HVAC Excellence Gas HEAT and other Employment-Ready certifications, EPA 608, and R410A Safety. The program comprises 900 clock hours of training but is only open to current high school students. Interested applicants must gain admission through their high school counselor.

Ozarks Technical Community College of Springfield has a 63-hour AAS degree program with advanced training in basic refrigeration theory & application; electricity for heating, refrigerators & A/C; refrigerator motors & controls; air distribution systems; commercial refrigeration systems; and residential heating & air conditioning. Those who which to start their job search faster can choose to enroll in the HVAC-R certificate program, which requires just 30 hours of coursework. Tuition costs per credit vary by course and residency, falling between $108 and $216 per credit hour of education.

There is just one MO program boasting both HVAC Excellence and PAHRA accreditation: the State Technical College of Missouri with a campus in Linn provides a competitive AAS program in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technology. Courses include the fundamentals of refrigeration & air conditioning; electrical fundamentals; residential & commercial heating & cooling; commercial refrigeration; sheet metal duct fabrication; and more. For in-state residents, these programs cost $168 per credit hour and for non-residents, it’s $336.

Lastly, some aspiring HVAC professionals in MO may live in more rural regions of the state or have other scheduling conflicts preventing them from attending an on-campus program. Luckily are distance-based programs available as well, which are discussed on the online HVAC programs page.

HVAC Certification & Licensing in Missouri

Prior to beginning work, HVAC technicians in Missouri must ensure that they have all proper credentialing. As mentioned in the introduction, there is one mandatory certification for all people nationwide who work with refrigerants—the EPA Section 608 certification—of which there is four subtypes:

  • Type 1 (small appliance)
  • Type 2 (high-pressure appliances)
  • Type 3 (low-pressure appliances)
  • Type 4 (universal)

Other organizations which offer employment-ready credentials recognized by employers in MO include:

To learn about how to achieve credentialing through these agencies and which types of certifications are available, please visit the HVAC certifications page.

Finally, as mentioned above, there is currently no state license required to perform HVAC work in Missouri. That said, the requirements for permits vary widely between municipalities. For example, the Kansas City Planning & Development Permits Division requires HVAC contractor licensing. To qualify, candidates must submit:

  • A completed certificate application with reference letters
  • An application fee ($55)
  • Passing score (at least 70 percent) on the KC exam, or an equivalent

Above all, prospective HVAC workers in MO are strongly advised to check with all municipal authorities prior to beginning work, as HVAC permitting procedures vary by jurisdiction.