HVAC Training Schools & Certification 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, but 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 Mechanical Contractors Association of Eastern Missouri, 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.

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 October 2021, 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. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) predicted a 5 percent increase in openings in this field nationwide between 2020 and 2030, slightly slower than the average growth anticipated across all occupations (8 percent) during that period. There’s evidence that Missouri is predicted to need new technicians at an even faster rate. Projections Central predicts an 11.2 percent statewide increase in HVAC positions between 2018 and 2028.

Varied forces are 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.

The BLS (2021) 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 before completing projects in the field, these risks can generally be kept to a minimum.

As proof of the booming industry in HVAC, Indeed (Oct. 2021) had 327 relevant HVAC openings in MO, including positions with Sabre Industries Inc, CIMCO, TurnPoint, Tsay Professional Services, Academy Air, and more. Monster (Oct. 2021) had HVAC openings in MO with varied employers such as Reddy Ice, Johnson Controls, and Brighton Installation, to name a few.

Missouri HVAC Salaries – How Much Do HVAC Workers Make?

Not only is HVAC a high-growth profession, but it is also relatively lucrative, especially for a profession requiring only one to two years of postsecondary training.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020), there were 344,020 HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide with an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $53,410, and 5,660 HVAC mechanics and installers in Missouri with an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $48,390. In more detail, here were the salary percentiles of HVAC professionals across the US and in Missouri specifically:

United States Missouri
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 344,020 5,660
Annual Mean Wage $53,410 $48,390
10th Percentile $31,910 $29,870
25th Percentile $39,320 $36,040
50th Percentile (Median) $50,590 $45,170
75th Percentile $64,350 $60,560
90th Percentile $80,820 $74,170

Salary figures do vary slightly by the source of data. Payscale—an aggregator of self-reported salaries—found the following percentiles among its HVAC respondents nationwide in October 2021:

  • 10th percentile: $32,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $49,655
  • 90th percentile: $78,000

The BLS figures are generally considered more reliable due to the organization’s methods of data collection and relatively high sample size. It is important to note that the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) found Missouri was the eighth most affordable state nationwide. This low cost of living means that even average salaries will go farther in Missouri than in other states.

As in any state, in Missouri salaries vary by region of employment. Columbia, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Cape Girardeau enjoyed the highest salaries in the state.

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.

State Technical College of Missouri

The State Technical College of Missouri with a campus in Linn provides a competitive AAS program in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technology. The program prepares its students to install and maintain air conditioning units, high-efficiency furnaces, air-source heat pumps, and geothermal heat pumps that save energy in residential and commercial settings.

The unique curriculum of this program provides hands-on learning to students in the form of lab work, where they learn how to work with wiring, controls, and electrical motors, and perform repairs and diagnoses. To enhance their learning further, they take up a summer internship.

Consisting of 72 credits, the program involves courses such as fundamentals of refrigeration & air conditioning, electrical fundamentals, residential & commercial heating & cooling, commercial refrigeration, and sheet metal duct fabrication.

Students develop technical knowledge in servicing and repairing HVAC/R equipment, effective communication, and interpersonal skills, and working knowledge of the safety standards as related to the HVAC/R field.

  • Location: Linn, MO
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to three years
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($189 per credit); non-resident ($378 per credit)

Jefferson College

Jefferson College offers an associate of applied science degree, an installer certificate, and a technician certificate in heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning technology. These programs prepare students for employment as installers or technicians in the fast-growing HVAC field. This HVAC Excellence-accredited program allows its students to take various industry-recognized tests showcasing their employment readiness.

The curriculum includes a range of traditional HVAC/R technology training and new industry trends such as solar hot water and mini-split systems. The department has three labs each set up to be used for several different topics.

The installer certificate is made up of 23 to 25 credits. It includes courses such as electricity for HVAC, principles of refrigeration, refrigeration and A/C mechanical systems, piping design, sizing, & installation for HRA, customer relations & record-keeping, and sheet metal design, sizing & installation for HRA.

The technician certificate comprises 52 to 54 credits, including all of the above-mentioned courses, with the addition of an introduction to international mechanical code, duct, envelope testing, and leakage detection, residential gas heating systems, electric and hydronic heat, residential air conditioning systems, advanced electricity for HVAC, heat pumps and mini-splits, and commercial refrigeration systems.

The associate of applied science degree consists of 70 to 72 credits and includes all courses from both the certificates mentioned above. Additionally, students also study general education courses such as communications, social/behavioral sciences, industrial math, and computer literacy.

Upon graduation, students can take up roles such as HVAC installers, maintenance mechanics, or sheet metal workers.

  • Location: Hillsboro, MO
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence, Higher Learning Commission
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (two to three years); technician certificate (two years); Installer Certificate (one year)
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district – Jefferson County ($114 per credit); out-of-district/in-state ($171 per credit); out-of-state ($228 per credit)

Metropolitan Community College

Metropolitan Community College located in Kansas City offers an AAS degree in HVAC and the following three certificate programs: HVAC Advanced Certificate, HVAC Certificate, and an Energy Efficiency Certificate.

Students can expect to learn about installing, servicing, and maintaining climate control systems, as well as electrical, electronic, and mechanical components in heating and cooling equipment. They work with the same tools they will use on their job while becoming proficient in installing and maintaining climate control systems in residential and commercial settings.

The AAS degree program is made up of 61 to 63 credits. The coursework includes topics such as residential HVAC, commercial refrigeration, systems installation, energy management, geothermal and air source heat pumps, fundamentals of refrigeration, and electricity for HVAC/R technicians, among other subjects. This program also includes general education requirements.

The HVAC advanced certificate consists of 39 to 41 credits, including courses such as commercial refrigeration, sheet metal layout and fabrication, residential heating and air conditioning, systems installation, principles of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and technical mathematics or higher, among other courses.

The HVAC certificate comprises 23 credits. Sample some of the courses: residential heating and air conditioning, principles of HVAC, fundamentals of refrigeration, electricity for HVAC/R technicians, and sheet metal layout and fabrication.

Comprising 40 credits, the energy efficiency certificate provides students with an understanding of stationary engineering, geothermal heat pumps, energy and the environment, entrepreneurship, and energy management, efficiency, and conservation.

These HVAC programs prepare students to take and pass the EPA 608 refrigerant certification and train them in all areas of HVAC work. Upon completion, students can take up roles such as HVAC service technician, HVAC systems installer, salesperson or service manager, and commercial refrigeration service technician.

  • Location: Kansas City, MO
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Expected Time to Completion: HVAC associate degree (two years); HVAC certificate (one year)
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($116 per credit); out-of-district ($228 per credit); out-of-state ($307 per credit)

East Central College

East Central College offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree and a certificate of achievement in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Students learn how to install, maintain, and repair HVAC systems and get prepared to work as technicians.

The certificate of achievement comprises 33 credits, and includes courses such as refrigeration recovery/EPA certificate, refrigerant A/C installation I and II, forced air heating I and II, heating and equipment installation I and II, introduction to heating and cooling I and II, and HVAC capstone II.

The AAS degree program consists of 60 credits. Some courses students will study from the certificate of achievement, with the addition of commercial chilled water application, natural sciences, technical writing, mathematical science, and oral communications, among others.

  • Location: Union, MO
  • Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (four semesters); Certificate (two semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: In-district ($110 per credit); out-of-district ($156 per credit); out-of-state ($230 per credit)

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, there are distance-based programs available as well, which are discussed on the online HVAC programs page.

HVAC Certification & Licensing in Missouri

Before 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 are 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:

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

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
  • Passing score on the KC exam, or an equivalent

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

Jocelyn Blore

Jocelyn Blore is the chief content officer of Sechel Ventures and the co-author of the Women Breaking Barriers series. She graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley and traveled the world for five years. She also worked as an addiction specialist for two years in San Francisco. She’s interested in how culture shapes individuals and systems within societies—one of the many themes she writes about in her blog, Blore’s Razor (Instagram: @bloresrazor). She has served as managing editor for several healthcare websites since 2015.