Las Vegas HVAC Training Schools

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The desert climate of Las Vegas is one of the many reasons that heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R or HVAC) workers choose to pursue a career within city limits. HVAC professionals in Sin City are able to take advantage of the many benefits offered by local organizations that support the industry. For example, the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors (PHCC) of Nevada is based in Henderson, 15 miles southeast of the city. The organization provides a wide array of services for HVAC technicians, including apprenticeship opportunities, networking events, membership meetings throughout the calendar year, newsletters, discounts for members of the organization, political representation for industry professionals, and a number of other benefits. Furthermore, HVAC workers have the opportunity to attend several industry-related events; Las Vegas hosts some of the largest HVAC professional gatherings in the world such as the annual AHR Expo. This event brings together over 65,000 HVAC professionals for a wealth of trainings, networking opportunities, and the unveiling of new systems and equipment. Additionally, the annual HARDI conference is a four-day event that brings together distributors, manufacturers, and other vendors who are interested in furthering their business.

What types of tasks does an HVAC worker perform? While individual responsibilities may vary, HVAC professionals in Las Vegas are generally tasked with the following duties:

  • Performing system maintenance and required repairs
  • Laying wiring and piping structures for equipment
  • Testing components and circuitry
  • Making sure that all work performed is in compliance with relevant rules
  • Educating customers on energy conservation practices
  • Soldering parts
  • Keeping service records
  • Calculating heat load and loss
  • Interpreting blueprints
  • Making sure to remain up-to-date with necessary licensure and credentials

Furthermore, all HVAC workers in Las Vegas who work with refrigerants need to maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification.

As with all skilled trades, pursuing a career as an HVAC worker demands a comprehensive knowledge of the vocation, imparted by proper education and hands-on training. This guide offers an overview of the accredited HVAC schools in Las Vegas, including a discussion of occupational growth, salary information, and the necessary credentialing.

Demand for HVAC Techs in Las Vegas

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (Dec. 2015) offers a promising outlook for HVAC workers nationwide; in fact, those working in the Las Vegas HVAC industry can expect a relatively high salary compared to the nationwide average, and will likely witness significant growth in employment opportunities between now and 2024. Specifically, the BLS projected an additional 39,600 HVAC openings around the country between 2014 and 2024, an increase of 14 percent; this is much greater than the average expected growth of all US occupations during the same period (7 percent). And data offered by Projections Central (2017) is even more encouraging for HVAC workers in Nevada. It shows a potential addition of 1,130 industry jobs in this state alone, or a total growth of 42 percent, between 2014 and 2024. Of course, many of those positions will likely be within Las Vegas, the top municipal employer of HVAC professionals in the state.

There are many factors contributing to the strong growth of the HVAC industry. For example, this equipment typically has to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. It also demands periodic maintenance and servicing to function properly. In addition, both laws and relevant technologies within the HVAC industry are always evolving, meaning that workers must perform constant updates and to provide for the most cost- and energy-efficient systems available. Furthermore, Las Vegas is home to many climate-controlled buildings, and the rapid rate of construction in the area also necessitates the installation of new HVAC technology.

An examination of online job postings illustrates this booming industry. A search for HVAC jobs in Las Vegas on Monster (March 2017), for example, shows 14 open positions, including those with Xanterra South Rim, DP Air Corp, Sierra Air, Harsch Investment Corp, UnitedHealth Group, and Goettl Air Conditioning. A separate search on Indeed (March 2017) returned 152 job postings, including openings at C&L Refrigeration, Controlled Comfort, 75 Degrees LLC, Ambient Edge, Emcor, and Right Now Air, among a number of others.

Las Vegas HVAC Technician Salary Data

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2015), HVAC workers earn a competitive wage during their career. By illustration, the median salary for HVAC workers was $45,110 per year, or $21.69 per hour. In more detailed terms, here were the national salary data for HVAC installers and mechanics nationwide:

United States (274,680 HVAC workers): $47,380 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $27,790
  • 25th percentile: $34,920
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,110
  • 75th percentile: $58,070
  • 90th percentile: $71,690

In hourly figures, these salaries amounted to:

United States: $22.78/hr. Average

  • 10th percentile: $13.36/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $16.79/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $21.69/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $27.92/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $34.47/hr.

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (March 2017), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the 451 HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

United States: 448 HVAC workers

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,273
  • 75th percentile: $55,000
  • 90th percentile: $69,000

An additional 2,538 HVAC workers gave Payscale their hourly salary figures, resulting in these percentile wages:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $18.70/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $29.00/hr.

Fortunately for HVAC workers in Las Vegas, the average salary for all positions in this area is significantly higher than the rest of the United States. To be sure, the BLS (May 2015) found that the 1,390 HVAC workers in the Las Vegas area earned $55,220 each year on average, or $26.55 per hour. There were two main BLS-designated areas within 100 miles of LV, which had the following number of HVAC workers, average salaries, and salary percentiles:

Las Vegas (1,390 HVAC workers): $55,220 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $33,570
  • 25th percentile: $41,490
  • 50th percentile: $55,850
  • 75th percentile: $68,590
  • 90th percentile: $77,420

South NV Nonmetropolitan Area (80 HVAC workers): $58,310 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $42,300
  • 25th percentile: $51,770
  • 50th percentile: $59,080
  • 75th percentile: $67,310
  • 90th percentile: $74,950

When put into hourly figures, these same workers made:

Las Vegas: $26.55/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $16.14
  • 25th percentile: $19.95
  • 50th percentile: $26.85
  • 75th percentile: $32.98
  • 90th percentile: $37.22

South NV Nonmetropolitan Area: $28.03/hr. avg.

  • 10th percentile: $20.34/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $24.89/hr.
  • 50th percentile: $28,40/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $32.36/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $36.03/hr.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Las Vegas

There are various pathways to becoming an HVAC professional in Las Vegas. For example, aspiring HVAC workers in the area can receive training through the College of Southern Nevada on its Henderson campus. The program, which focuses specifically on air conditioning technology, is accredited by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). It emphasizes practical skills and hands-on techniques in order to prepare students to analyze, diagnose, and solve HVAC problems. The annual cost of tuition for a Nevada resident is an estimated $16,458, or $23,103 for students who are from out of state.

Students may also receive training through the Las Vegas-based ATI. This training organization offers students not only a solid understanding of HVAC theory, but also provides EPA Section 608 Certification, a mandatory credential for those who work with refrigerants. Students receive instruction in electrical & mechanical troubleshooting, the startup of new A/C & heating equipment, service & repair on residential & light commercial gas heating systems, and a number of others. The program takes just under 11 months to complete. Because ATI does not provide exact numbers for tuition, aspiring students who are interested in this program should reach out to the institution directly.

Finally, aspiring HVAC workers may also choose to complete an apprenticeship through an organization such as Heat & Frost Insulators JATC in Las Vegas. Apprentices earn between 50 and 80 percent of the journeyman-level wages, and are required to undergo four years of training. In order to successfully complete the apprenticeship, aspiring HVAC workers must also pass an aptitude test and appear before the JATC board for an oral interview.

Las Vegas HVAC Licensing

Prior to seeking employment, HVAC workers in Las Vegas are required to possess the relevant certification and licensure needed to work in this industry.

Overall, one national certification is necessary for all aspiring HVAC workers who handle environmentally sensitive refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 Certification. There are four types: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). Virtually all HVAC programs will prepare graduates for the certification exam during the course of study.

Furthermore, there are other national organizations with skill-based, employment-ready certifications. Three of these entities, along with sample certifications, are the following:

  • 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.

Anyone who is interested in the full array of national credentials should visit the HVAC certifications page.

Additionally, all HVAC workers in Las Vegas must have all local credentialing before starting work. The Nevada State Contractors Board is the main licensing entity in this field and is required if the total cost of the work is greater than $1,000. To obtain a license from the Board, an HVAC worker must possess at least four years of experience in the industry, send a resume, submit four notarized reference certificates, and pay a processing fee ($300). Applicants for this license also need to submit a financial statement, the specifics of which depend on the of the project. Once the license is approved, the HVAC worker will need to secure a necessary surety bond or cash deposit amount, as well.

Aspiring HVAC workers should also know that the Nevada State Contractors Board issues licenses in the following classifications:

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

Lastly, HVAC professionals in Las Vegas will want to ensure that they have all municipal credentialing as well. The City of Las Vegas has an online permitting system for contractors or homeowners who want to change out their HVAC systems. It costs $100. In sum, HVAC workers in LV and beyond are strongly encouraged to research the necessary licensure requirements before they begin work to ensure that they possess the correct credentialing, as a failure to do so could result in legal trouble.