HVAC Schools in Kansas City, MO – Degrees & Certification

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HVAC professionals in Kansas City, Missouri (MO) are fortunate to work in a city with a thriving demand for climate control. In fact, the temperature extremes throughout the year make heating and air conditioning truly vital. U.S. Climate Data reported that the average high in July was 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average low in December was 26 degrees, figures which underscore the need for skilled heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) professionals.

Furthermore, Kansas City is home to various professional HVAC organizations that provide a myriad of benefits to members. The Mechanical Contractors Association of Kansas City offers membership to contractors across 45 different counties in both Missouri and Kansas. Membership to this organization includes access to continuing education for HVAC professionals, events throughout the year for charitable causes, and valuable partnerships with Kansas State University and Pittsburg State University for student chapters. Generally, this organization, along with a number of others, can offer invaluable resources for HVAC workers throughout the Kansas City area.

So, what do HVAC professionals in Kansas City do? Here are some of the typical responsibilities:

  • Offer education to customers on how to conserve energy
  • Calibrate all controls to manufacturer specifications
  • Read and interpret blueprints
  • Perform heat load and loss calculations
  • Verify compliance with all local and federal regulations
  • Travel to job sites
  • Keep service records
  • Calibrate all controls to manufacturer specifications
  • Solder and braze parts
  • Maintain all necessary credentialing
  • Test circuitry and components of HVAC equipment

Furthermore, any Kansas City HVAC professional who works with refrigerants must maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification; failing to do so is a violation of the law.

In reality, starting a new job in the HVAC field demands a thorough comprehension of the industry, an interest in the subject matter, and on-the-job training or another type of education. This guide covers accredited HVAC schools in Kansas City, MO, as well as wage expectations in the industry, certification and licensure requirements, and other relevant information.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Kansas City, MO

Prospective HVAC workers in the Kansas City area will be encouraged to learn that HVAC is a relatively lucrative and high-growth industry. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019) reported that 342,040 HVAC professionals nationwide earned an average annual salary of $51,420. Furthermore, the BLS (2019) predicted that positions for HVAC mechanics and installers would swell 13 percent between 2018 and 2028—an addition of 46,300 new jobs—more than double the average growth projected across all U.S. fields during that same decade (5 percent).

There are many factors driving the rapid growth of the HVAC industry. For one, laws and regulations that affect the HVAC industry are constantly changing, requiring skilled workers who are able to constantly provide updates to existing systems. Furthermore, most (if not all) new construction within Kansas City is outfitted with some form of climate-control technology that is installed and maintained by an HVAC professional. And finally, HVAC systems must be replaced every 10 to 15 years, requiring routine maintenance in the interim to continue functioning properly.

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to view the scope of the HVAC industry in Kansas City is by scouting for jobs by using an online search engine. A search on Monster (July 2020) for the term “HVAC” yielded 232 job postings throughout the region in Missouri and Kansas, including those with companies such as Honeywell, Levi Hunter, OMNI Human Resource Management, Lennox International, LBA Services, and Caravan Facilities Management, among many others.

A similar search on Indeed (July 2020) yielded 179 results with businesses including Mission Plumbing Heating & Cooling, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Park Hill School District, Sodexo, TWC Services, Peterson Manufacturing Company, and Trane Technologies.

HVAC Worker Salary in Kansas City

According to the BLS (May 2019), HVAC professionals can earn a fairly high salary, especially compared to other careers requiring similar levels of education. It reported that HVAC mechanics and installers nationally received a median salary of $48,730 as of May 2019. Technicians in Kansas City, MO received an annual median salary of $56,330.

The table below is a comparison of national, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals:

United States Missouri Kansas City, MO
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 342,040 5,650 2,320
Annual mean wage $51,420 $49,960 $57,760
10th Percentile $30,610 $30,440 $34,910
25th Percentile $37,660 $36,290 $43,240
50th Percentile (Median) $48,730 $47,580 $56,330
75th Percentile $62,070 $63,190 $70,460
90th Percentile $77,920 $75,630 $84,770

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (July 2020), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $$47,097
  • 90th percentile: $74,000

Lastly, it’s important to add that the cost of living in Missouri is significantly more affordable than a majority of U.S. states. As proof of point, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) reported that Missouri had the sixth-lowest cost of living in the United States for 2020.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Kansas City, MO

There are varied pathways to joining the HVAC industry in Kansas City. Aspiring HVAC workers can obtain a formal degree; pursue a certificate; complete an apprenticeship; or otherwise receive structured on-the-job training.

There are two main organizations that offer accreditation for local HVAC programs: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence.

As of July 2020, there was one PAHRA-accredited program in nearby Overland Park, KS. Johnson County Community College and one HVAC Excellence-accredited program in St. Joseph, roughly an hour north of KC, The Hillyard Technical Center.

All other featured programs below have been approved by the Higher Learning Commission, a reputable regional accreditation entity.

Metropolitan Community College

Prospective HVAC workers can pursue industry education through the Metropolitan Community College located in Kansas City. The MCC offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in HVAC and three related certificate programs:

  • HVAC Advanced Certificate
  • HVAC Certificate
  • Energy Efficiency Certificate

Students pursuing the 62- to 64-credit-hour AAS program must satisfy general education requirements and coursework in systems installation, residential and commercial heating and air conditioning, energy management, fundamentals of refrigeration, geothermal & air source heat pumps, and electricity for HVAC/R technicians, among other subjects.

The HVAC advanced certificate is made up of 40 to 42 credit-hours. The curriculum includes courses such as sheet metal layout and fabrication; commercial refrigeration; residential heating and air conditioning; principles of heating, ventilation and air conditioning; systems installation; and technical mathematics or higher, among other courses.

HVAC certificate consists of 24 credit-hours. Courses include the principles of HVAC; residential heating and air conditioning; fundamentals of refrigeration; sheet metal layout and fabrication; and electricity for HVAC/R technicians.

The energy efficiency certificate comprises 41 credit-hour. Students gain an understanding of geothermal heat pumps; stationary engineering; energy and the environment; energy management, efficiency, and conservation; and entrepreneurship.

The HVAC program prepares students to take and pass the industry-recognized HVAC Excellence Certifications and the EPA 608 refrigerant certification. It will train then in all areas of HVAC work including installing, servicing and maintaining climate control systems, as well as electrical, electronic, and mechanical components in cooling and heating.

  • Location: Kansas City, MO
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Expected Time to Completion: HVAC certificate (12 months); HVAC associate’s degree (24 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: $6,845 per year

Johnson County Community College

Johnson County Community College offers an associate in applied science in HVAC technology and a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technology certificate. The AAS degree program focuses on developing an awareness of basic mathematical and scientific principles of HVAC, while the HVAC certificate program provides students with basic skills required to maintain residential heating and air conditioning equipment.

The certificate program is made up of 32 to 34 credit-hours. Here’s a sample of courses students will study: HVAC fundamentals, electrical fundamentals, heating system fundamentals, sheet metal layout and fabrication, industrial safety/OSHA 30, EPA 608 refrigerant management, load calculation and duct design, advanced electrical systems, cooling systems, HVAC installation and start-up procedures, HVAC internship and workplace skills.

The 61 credit-hour associate of applied science degree program consists of all the above-mentioned courses, with the addition of plumbing fundamentals, composition, HVAC rooftop units, 410-A refrigerant management, HVAC trade certification review, HVAC code review, and business mathematics.

Students will learn about the theory of operation as well as installing, duct designing, servicing and repairing of electric and gas furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps. Through the certificate, students will learn about the theory of operation, and servicing, repairing and designing central air conditioners, gas furnaces, heat pumps, and rooftop systems.

  • Location: Overland Park, KS
  • Accreditation: Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA)
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS degree (four semesters); certificate (two semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: $94 per credit-hour (Johnson County residents); $112 per credit-hour (other Kansas county residents)

Hillyard Technical Center

Hillyard Technical Center offers a nine-month HVAC/R program with preparation for several credentialing exams, including:

  • HVAC Excellence Electrical Employment Ready
  • EPA Section 609 exam
  • R410A Safety exam
  • HVAC Excellence Gas HEAT exam

This program is ideal for students who wish to work on refrigeration, heating or air conditioning systems and units for cooling and heating contractors, fuel oil dealers, school systems, or manufacturing plants.

The program provides training in troubleshooting mechanical and electrical problems, plumbing and pipefitting, electrical and gas furnaces, airflow adjustments and calculations, heat pumps, load calculations, determining equipment size for a job site, and customer relations skills.

Through the program, students will learn about soldering and brazing, electrical controls for HVAC/R, basic electrical, air conditioning theory, treatment and conditioning of the air surrounding our environment, and assembly, and troubleshooting problems within the system. Students will also learn basic sheet metal techniques.

  • Location: St. Joseph, MO
  • Accreditation: Commission of the Council on Occupational Education and HVAC Excellence
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Please contact HTC directly for a customized tuition assessment

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Kansas City, MO

As mentioned above, all HVAC professionals who handle environmentally sensitive refrigerants must have the EPA Section 608 Certification of which there are four types: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal).

In addition, other skill-specific certifications are available in Missouri through several organizations, including HVAC Excellence (e.g., Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology or HEAT); North American Technician Excellence (e.g., Industry Competency Exams or ICE); the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (e.g., entry-level Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator); and a handful of others.

These certifications show that a person maintains a certain skill set, which may hold benefits when searching for a job or negotiating for higher pay. For more information regarding the national certifications offered for HVAC professionals, take a look at the main HVAC certification page.

It is also important to keep in mind that while state licensure is not currently required in order to complete HVAC work in Missouri, the same may not be true for Kansas City or other municipalities across the state. Specifically, the Kansas City Planning & Development requires HVAC supervisors to obtain a license through its permits division, which may be achieved by submitting the following information:

  • A certificate application
  • Two notarized reference letters
  • An application fee
  • Passing score on the Kansas City examination

Overall, HVAC workers should always perform due diligence by researching local credentialing requirements prior to beginning work. By doing so, these professionals will ensure that they avoid any violations based on differences in municipal regulations and stay within the law.

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.