HVAC Schools & Certifications in Nevada (NV)

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With temperatures ranging from the blistering hot summer days to near-freezing winter nights, Nevada offers abundant opportunities for those working in the field of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R).

HVAC/R professionals in the state enjoy a large amount of professional support, as well. For example, the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors (PHCC) of Nevada offers a wide array of benefits for HVAC/R workers, including numerous membership meetings throughout the year, professional networking events, apprenticeships, newsletters, political representation regarding any issues affecting the HVAC/R industry in Nevada, and discounts for participating members, among others. Separately, the Southern Nevada Air Conditioning Refrigeration Service Contractors Association (SNARSCA) provides support and education specifically for air conditioning and refrigeration service contractors, offering classes, discounts at expos, and professional networking.

But what exactly do HVAC/R professionals in NV do during a workday? In general, they retain a number of responsibilities, including:

  • Laying piping structures and wiring for HVACR equipment
  • Performing maintenance on systems, as well as necessary repairs
  • Interpreting blueprints
  • Ensuring all work complies with relevant regulations
  • Testing HVAC-R components and circuitry
  • Brazing and soldering parts
  • Calculating heat loads and losses
  • Calibrating controls per the requirements of the manufacturers
  • Retaining necessary credentials
  • Maintaining service records
  • Providing education to customers on best practices for energy conservation

In addition, all HVAC/R professionals in Nevada who work with refrigerants are required to maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification.

Of course, as with virtually all professions, becoming an HVAC/R technician requires preparation and hard work. This guide provides a brief overview of the career, as well as information regarding employment demands, salary prospects, credentialing, and accredited HVAC schools in Nevada.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Nevada

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019) reported that HVAC/R professionals can expect to earn a relatively high salary during their career, and will likely witness a significant growth in their industry that may lead to more lucrative opportunities. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 342,040 HVAC professionals currently working across the nation, earning an annual average wage of $51,420.

The future for these HVAC mechanics and installers looks bright, as well; by illustration, the BLS (May 2019) anticipated that the industry would grow 4 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. And the predictions are even more favorable for those living in Nevada; in fact, Projections Central (2021)—a data organization partnered with the US Department of Labor—reported that there would be a 27.9 percent increase in HVAC positions across Nevada between 2018 and 2028.

There are many reasons that the HVAC/R industry in Nevada is strong and is likely to continue growing throughout the future. For one, these systems must be replaced every decade or decade-and-a-half and require routine servicing and maintenance.

Furthermore, regulations and technologies within the HVAC/R industry are constantly changing, which necessitates continuous system updates. Finally, many buildings in Nevada are climate-controlled, and especially in areas of high rates of construction, there exists a significant demand for the installation of new HVAC/R technology. This is particularly relevant in the Las Vegas and Reno areas, where high levels of tourism necessitate a huge number of hotel rooms and casinos that must be kept at a comfortable temperature, even during the sweltering Nevada summers.

As an illustration of the health industry, Monster (2021) had 41 job postings for HVAC professionals in NV, including opportunities with Jerritt Canyon, Roper’s Heating & Air, and Transform Home Services to name just a few. Indeed (2021) showed 182 job opportunities in Nevada, including those with Homee, Emcor, Barrick Gold Corporation, Johnson Controls, and many others.

Nevada HVAC Technician Salary Data

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019), HVAC mechanics and installers enjoy good wages around the country, particularly in an occupation that generally requires just six months to two years of postsecondary education.

Among the 342,040 HVAC workers around the US, the BLS (May 2019) found an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $51,420. In Nevada, the 2,600 HVAC professionals working there earned an average of $54,010, putting them a bit above average for the country. In more detailed terms, here were the salary percentiles in this occupation in the US and Nevada specifically:

United States Nevada
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 2,600
Annual mean wage $51,420 $54,010
10th percentile $30,610 $31,500
25th percentile $37,660 $41,390
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $54,390
75th percentile $62,070 $62,800
90th percentile $77,920 $76,840

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

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,058
  • 90th percentile: $75,000

As noted above, the average salary for HVAC workers in Nevada is higher than the nation’s average salary. As with any salary projections, taking into account the cost of living is also important. As such, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) found that NV was ranked 38th in affordability, making it more expensive than the majority of states. For HVAC technicians this means relatively high salaries may still not go as far as lower salaries in other states, so that is something to keep in mind.

HVAC Apprenticeships in Nevada

In order to begin working in this field, aspiring HVAC workers must complete some type of training or formal education. There are both degree programs and apprenticeships available in Nevada.

As apprentices, workers receive paid-on-the-job training while attending school for a specified number of hours each year. Apprenticeships usually take four to five years to complete. For example, the UA Local 350 Plumbers, Pipefitters and Service Technicians, established in 1906, provides an apprenticeship program for HVAC/R professionals, which takes four years to complete.

Industry organizations such as the following offer various HVAC and HVAC/R training programs:

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

Their websites contain the details of curriculum, availability, and fees.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Nevada

It is becoming increasingly common for aspiring HVAC workers to obtain training in six-month or two-year programs that have received accreditation. They should ensure that the school they select for training is accredited. Accreditation is a process of evaluating the school’s curriculum and instructors for the purpose of verifying that students are receiving the education they expect. The evaluation is conducted periodically by independent agencies.

HVAC and HVAC/R programs are evaluated by two industry organizations. HVAC Excellence has accredited the Advanced Training Institute in Las Vegas and the College of Southern Nevada. The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) has also accredited the College of Southern Nevada.

College of Southern Nevada

College of Southern Nevada offers four certificates and four AAS degree programs in HVAC/R. Providing advanced training in HVAC/R, these programs emphasize hands-on methods and practical skills preparing students for analyzing, synthesizing, and solving HVAC/R problems. Graduates of these programs are prepared to obtain their EPA 608 certification as well as HVAC Excellence Employment Readiness certification.

The certificate programs are as follows:

  • Air Conditioning Technology (40.5 credits)
  • Air Conditioning Technology: Central Plant (41 credits)
  • Air Conditioning Technology: Critical Systems (40 credits)
  • Air Conditioning Technology: Food Service Refrigeration (42.5 credits)

The college also offers the following four AAS degree programs:

  • Air Conditioning Technology (60 credits)
  • Air Conditioning Technology: Central Plant (60 credits)
  • Air Conditioning Technology: Critical Systems (60 credits)
  • Air Conditioning Technology: Food Service Refrigeration (61.5 credits)

The curriculum includes courses such as introduction to HVAC electrical theory and application, residential gas heating, commercial refrigeration, copper fundamentals, heat pumps, HVAC automatic controls, boiler operation and maintenance, equipment cooling, industrial electricity, and equipment cooling, among others.

The college also offers an Entry-Level Air Conditioning Technician program which comprises 18.5 credits.

  • Location: Las Vegas, NV; Henderson, NV; North Las Vegas, NV
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; PAHRA; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificates (one year); AAS degrees (two years)
  • Estimated Tuition: Lower-division courses ($106.75 per credit); upper-division courses ($175 per credit)

Career College of Northern Nevada

The HVAC/R service technician diploma offered by the Career College of Northern Nevada combines classroom lectures with hands-on training in labs. Introducing and preparing students for entry-level employment in the HVAC industry, the program helps students in developing essential skills and knowledge required by the industry today.

The program consists of 44.5 credits including courses such as electrical theory and application, foundations of HVAC/R, refrigeration theory and application, HVAC systems, heating systems, skills review and EPA certification, computer fundamentals for the trades, customer relations, technical writing, and airflow and distribution.

Graduates of the program will be able to install, service, and repair light commercial and residential HVAC equipment.

  • Location: Sparks, NV
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Nine months
  • Estimated Tuition: $12,700

Advanced Training Institute

ATI (Advanced Training Institute) offers an HVAC/R technologies diploma preparing students for entry-level residential and commercial HVAC/R positions. The program provides students with hands-on training in labs and HVAC/R knowledge in classroom lectures. They learn to repair and troubleshoot residential as well as light commercial systems. They also learn to repair gas heating systems and hydronic and electric heating systems.

This diploma program is made up of 840 clock hours. The curriculum consists of courses such as mechanical principles, applied electricity for HVAC, gas-fired heating systems & boiler operation, air conditioning systems, heat pump systems, commercial refrigeration and ice machines, troubleshooting, start-up and installation. Graduates are also prepared for industry exams such as 410A, OSHA, and EPA Section 608.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities with heating or air conditioning companies, manufacturers, hospitals, schools, mechanical contractors, and hotels. They can take up roles such as facilities manager, maintenance technician, field service technician, and installer.

  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 10.5 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $14,180

Truckee Meadows Community College

Truckee Meadows Community College offers several degrees and certificates in the HVAC/R field. These programs provide hands-on training along with classroom instruction preparing students for systematically approaching, analyzing, troubleshooting, and solving HVAC/R problems. They can also earn the EPA section 608 certification. The college offers two AAS degrees in HVAC/R, two certificates of achievement, and two skills certificates.

As part of these programs, students will delve into topics such as electrical and controls for HVAC, refrigeration theory, schematic reading for HVAC/R, heat pumps, basic refrigeration servicing, sheet metal I, chiller operations, and maintenance, HVAC automatic controls, and general industry safety, among others.

  • Location: Reno, NV
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificates (two to three semesters); AAS (four semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: In state lower-division courses ($106.75 per credit); upper-division courses ($175 per credit)

In addition to these campus-based programs, there is a wealth of online HVAC programs as well, many of which accept NV-based students.

HVAC Certification and Licensing in Nevada

Before looking for a job, all HVAC/R professionals in Nevada must first obtain the proper certification and licensing necessary to work in this capacity.

To begin, one specific certification is required for all individuals who handle environmentally sensitive refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 Certification. This certification is broken down into four types: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). Please note that most HVAC/R programs will include preparation for the certification exam as part of the curriculum.

Furthermore, there exists a wide array of other entities nationwide that provide skill-based, employment-ready trade certifications. A handful of these organizations, as well as sample certifications, are listed below:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) – EPA Section 608, commercial air conditioning, dynamic compression, HVAC/R electrical, etc.
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE) – air distribution, heat pump [air-to-air], Hydronics Gas, commercial refrigeration, light commercial refrigeration, etc.
  • HVAC Excellence – Heating, Electrical, Air conditioning Technology [HEAT], HEAT Plus, residential heat load analysis, green awareness, etc.

For more information regarding the extent of available national credentials, make sure to visit the HVAC certifications page.

Finally, all HVAC/R professionals in Nevada have to obtain the required local licensure prior to beginning work. HVAC/R professionals in Nevada must obtain licensure through the Nevada State Contractors Board, as long as the value of the work exceeds $1,000.

To receive licensure, an HVAC/R professional must have at least four years of experience as an initial qualification and must submit four notarized reference certificates, a detailed resume, and an application processing fee of $300. Applicants must also submit a financial statement, which has varying requirements, depending on the size of the project. Upon approval of the license, the HVAC/R technician will also be provided information regarding the necessary bond amount, and a surety bond or cash deposit will be required.

It’s also important to note that the Nevada State Contractors Board provides licensure for the classifications listed below:

  • Class “A”—General Engineering Contractor
  • Class “B”—General Building Contractor
  • Class “C”—Specialty Contractor

Each of these license classes is required for a separate purpose, all of which relate to the principal business and the scope of the project. Additionally, some cities in Nevada require special municipal permitting for the installation of new HVAC/R systems. Therefore all HVAC workers are strongly encouraged to reach out to city officials to ensure they have all necessary credentialing prior to taking on any project.

Ultimately, HVACR professionals must perform due diligence before beginning any work to ensure that they have adequate credentialing for the task at hand.

Farheen Gani

Farheen is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).