HVAC Training Programs & Certifications in Akron, Ohio (OH)

Find HVAC Programs Now Enrolling Students

Get information on HVAC-R Certified Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Ad

Manufacturing has been the basis of the economy of Akron, Ohio (OH), since the city’s founding in the 1800s. Products made by BF Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone, and General Tire led to the nickname Rubber Capital of the World. Goodyear still has headquarters in Akron, but the city has diversified its economy. It “has moved forward into the world of liquid crystal and polymer research, development, and technology.”

Additional industries include aeronautics, particularly in lighter-than-air technology, motor vehicle production, and transportation. Business management services, education, healthcare, medical research, and retail trade round out the economy. During the 2000s, Akron became known as the “City of Invention” and is recognized for its high-tech facilities and workforce.

Summers in Akron are warm and humid, followed by cold, snowy, and windy winters. Residents get a break with mild spring and autumn weather. June, July, and August are the hottest months, with daytime highs averaging in the low to mid-80s F. May, June, and July receive more than four inches of rain each month, before the average rainfall decreases to three or more inches per month. The total rainfall for the year is nearly 42 inches.

Temperatures start dropping in September, and by December, the nighttime lows sink below freezing. Snow starts falling as early as October some years, and may continue through April. January and February may receive a foot or more of snow. The average humidity exceeds 70 percent every month, except for March through June, when it stays in the 60s.

Residents of Akron depend on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in their homes and workplaces for comfort during the warm and humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and research centers typically add refrigeration (HVAC/R) to their systems. Retail businesses and entertainment venues also often add refrigeration for the comfort of their patrons. The manufacturing and industrial facilities need expanded climate control systems. The growth of technology-based industries and businesses has created a demand for the specialized climate-control systems and equipment required to keep the electronics functioning correctly.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2022) data indicates that 800 HVAC and HVAC/R technicians were employed in Akron. The technicians and their employers receive resources and support from national, state, and local industry organizations, such as the following:

  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Akron/Canton Chapter
  • Akron Canton Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCCA)
  • Akron Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors Association (ACCA)
  • Associated General Contractors of Ohio
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Akron (MCA)
  • Ohio Contractors Association
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal Workers (SMART) Local 33
  • UA Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry Local 219

These and similar groups cooperate with other industry organizations, regulatory agencies, and businesses to establish educational, licensing, and performance standards for the safety of technicians, the public, and the environment.

Occupational Demand for HVAC and HVAC/R Technicians in Akron, Ohio

The HVAC industry continues to experience steady growth. The BLS (2023) anticipates an average of 23,000 new job openings nationally between 2022 and 2032. That’s a growth rate of 6 percent in employment opportunities for trained HVAC and HVAC/R installers and mechanics. Projections Central (2023) is equally optimistic regarding long-term industry growth. Although their statistics are for 2020 to 2030, they also anticipate an annual growth rate of 5 percent and an average of 38,500 new positions.

The continued growth of the HVAC industry and increased jobs for technicians results from the construction of new commercial and residential structures. New positions for technicians are also attributable to the need to repair or replace aging or obsolete systems and equipment in existing structures. Evolving efficiency, regulatory, and safety standards create additional demand for new or replacement installations. Regulatory emphasis on pollution reduction for all systems also makes new installations necessary, further increasing employment opportunities for trained technicians.

Homeowners and businesses also expect “smart” buildings, whether building a new structure or remodeling/renovating an existing one. High-tech HVAC and HVAC/R systems installation must be incorporated as part of all construction. The increasing complexity of contemporary climate-control equipment and systems requires trained installation, service, and maintenance technicians. Akron technicians need superior troubleshooting abilities and comprehensive computer and electronics skills to obtain the best job opportunities.

Technicians specializing in new installations may experience unemployment if construction declines. That appears unlikely in the foreseeable future in Akron. The City of Invention is now “at the center of the ‘Polymer Valley.’” Akron is “home to the Goodyear Polymer Center and National Polymer Innovation Center.” Among its many applications, polymer is part of synthetic plastics such as polystyrene, nylon, synthetic rubber, and silicone. No decrease in demand is anticipated for any aspect of polymer research or uses, ensuring continued growth and development of related primary and support facilities and workforce in Akron.

As businesses and homeowners need year-round climate control, technicians specializing in maintaining, servicing, and repairing equipment can expect continuous employment regardless of the economy.

HVAC and HVAC/R Salaries in Akron, Ohio

BLS data (May 2022) shows that HVAC mechanics and installers received a median salary of $51,390 nationally. Technicians in Akron earned an annual median salary of $48,820, as per the BLS. The wage difference is more comparable than it appears, as the cost of living in Ohio is lower than in other American states.

As per the BLS data, wages for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians nationally, in Ohio, and in Akron are as follows:

United States Ohio Akron, Ohio
Number of HVAC professionals employed 374,770 13,710 800
Average annual salary $57,460 $55,950 $54,950
10th percentile $36,170 $35,650 $35,540
25th percentile $44,100 $44,350 $38,840
50th percentile $51,390 $50,570 $48,820
75th percentile $65,630 $62,980 $61,230
90th percentile $82,630 $79,480 $81,420

HVAC Apprenticeships in Akron, Ohio

As few opportunities exist now for untrained workers, most aspiring HVAC technicians attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships usually require a three to five-year commitment. Apprentices typically complete an average of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom work each year. Formal training and apprenticeships open up more employment opportunities, and technicians potentially start at higher wages and earn more throughout their career.

The Ohio Department of Job & Family Services provides resources and support for apprentices. OhioMeansJobs maintains a database of apprenticeship opportunities.

The Sheet Metal Workers and the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Local 33 offer a four-year apprenticeship. The classes are held at the Akron Training Center in Massillon, Ohio. Apprentices receive on-the-job training and attend classes in the state-of-the-art facilities.

UA Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry Local 219 offers a five-year apprenticeship program at the Akron Training Center. They do not provide details on their website; instead, they ask applicants to contact them.

Additionally, HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs are available from industry associations such as the following:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)

Workers can obtain details of courses available, scheduling, and fees from each organization’s website.

Accredited HVAC and HVAC/R Schools in Akron, Ohio

Aspiring apprentices who are seeking formal schooling should select an institution that has been accredited. Accreditation means that an independent agency has evaluated the curriculum and instructors of the institution for quality. HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) accredit HVAC programs. HVAC Excellence awarded accreditation to the University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, OH. PAHRA has accredited the following schools:

  • Cuyahoga Valley Career, Brecksville, OH
  • Miami Valley Career Center, Clayton, OH
  • North High School, Akron, OH
  • RETS College, Centerville, OH
  • Great Oaks Institute of Technology, Cincinnati, OH
  • RG Drage Career Center, Massillon, OH
  • University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, OH
  • Pike County Career Tech Center, Piketon, OH

Although attending the University of Northwestern Ohio entails a commute for Akron students, it is included in the profiles below due to its accreditation by both industry agencies. Other reputable agencies have accredited the remaining schools.

Cuyahoga Valley Career Center

CVCC offers an HVAC program for adults. The coursework is divided between classroom learning and hands-on practice in the lab. Graduates are qualified to seek employment as installation, troubleshooting, and service technicians.

The program consists of four sections: HVAC basics, heating, cooling, and electrical. The coursework also includes preparation for industry exams, including Section 608 and NATE (North American Technician Excellence) Heating and Cooling Support Technician Certificate. The exam fees are included in the tuition. Job search assistance is available to graduates.

  • Location: Brecksville, OH
  • Accreditation: PAHRA; Council on Occupational Education
  • Estimated Tuition: $3,512
  • Estimated Program Length: 200 hours

FORTIS College

FORTIS College has several campuses in Ohio, with the Cuyahoga Falls facility maintaining a satellite location in Akron. The HVAC/R diploma program includes classroom theory and hands-on lab practice. Graduates are qualified to seek entry-level employment. The college provides career placement assistance to graduates.

The curriculum includes thermodynamics, electricity, controls, motors and motor controls, refrigerants, residential A/C, commercial A/C, commercial refrigeration, industrial refrigeration, electric heat and heat pumps, gas heating systems, oil heating systems, HVAC system performance, water-based heating systems, HVAC troubleshooting and service calls, and EPA certification preparation. Students are required to take and pass the EPA exam prior to graduating.

  • Location: Akron, OH
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Estimated Tuition: $19,399
  • Estimated Program Length: 48 weeks

Stark State College

Stark offers students an HVAC/R technology certificate program and an HVAC/R technology degree program. Both programs prepare graduates for employment as HVAC/R technicians. Students must consult with their academic advisor before registering for classes, as some are prerequisites, and others must be taken in the prescribed order.

The curriculum for the certificate program includes student success seminar, basic machines, HVAC principles I and II, sheet metal layout and fabrication, HVAC system operation and troubleshooting – cooling, HVAC system operation and troubleshooting – heating, HVAC field installation techniques and procedures, HVAC electrical systems and applications, pipefitting principles and applications, building materials and construction methods, OSHA 30-hour general industry, and blueprint reading. Students are awarded their certificate after 31 to 32 credits.

Students enrolled in the degree program complete all the certificate coursework. They also complete an additional technical curriculum that includes hydronic application and design, refrigeration, HVAC commercial controls, chiller operations, and basic AutoCAD. They must also complete general education requirements that include computer applications for professionals, physics, industrial math or algebra, composition, technical report writing, effective speaking or small group communication, and an elective from social and behavioral sciences or arts and humanities. They receive their degree after 64 to 65 credits.

  • Location: North Canton, OH
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Estimated Tuition: $194.60 per credit
  • Estimated Program Length: Certificate one year; degree two years

University of Northwestern Ohio

UNOH is a private, not-for-profit educational institution. Students may obtain a diploma as an HVAC/R technician or an associate degree in HVAC/R technology. Both programs feature hands-on training using the latest equipment technology. There is also an opportunity for students to work with the local Habitat for Humanity installing HVAC systems. Graduates are qualified to seek entry-level employment as technicians.

The diploma program technical curriculum includes service and procedures I and II, electrical and electronics, HVAC/R systems and controls, heat pump systems and controls, special topics and applications of refrigeration and temperature controls, and capstone. Students also complete general education coursework that includes digital documents and spreadsheets, human communication, technical math, and CoAT first-year experience. Taking the commercial driver’s license I and II courses are recommended. Students receive their diplomas after 61 credits.

Students seeking a degree complete the same technical and basic general education coursework as those in the diploma program. They also complete general education coursework, including composition I and II, the American political scene, psychology, earth science, diversity issues, and automated customer relations management. They are awarded their degree after 88 credit-hours.

  • Location: Lima, OH
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; PAHRA; Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs; Higher Learning Council
  • Estimated Tuition: $260 per credit
  • Estimated Program Length: Diploma 14 months; degree 18 months

Akron students who are unable to attend any of the above schools may find that an online institution will better meet their needs. More information on accredited programs is available at online HVAC training.

HVAC and HVAC/R Certification and Licensing in Akron, Ohio

Technicians who handle refrigerants are required by federal law to obtain Section 608 certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Technicians must pass tests to ensure they know how to work with refrigerants safely. Four certification levels are available based on the type and size of equipment on which a technician works, as described below:

  • Type I – for servicing small appliances
  • Type II – for servicing or disposing of high-pressure appliances, except small appliances and automotive air conditioning
  • Type III – for servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances
  • Universal – for servicing all types of equipment

Details of the criteria for each certification are available on the EPA website.

Industry organizations offer Section 608 certification and other credentials that can increase a technician’s employability. These include but are not limited to:

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

Each organization has details of availability, scheduling, and fees on its website. There is also more information on the HVAC certifications page.

The Ohio Department of Commerce manages contractor licensing. Self-employed technicians are usually classified as contractors, and contractors must be licensed. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and a citizen of the U.S. or submit proof of being in the country legally. Additionally, they must:

  • Submit documentation of not less than five years experience immediately before the date of application as a tradesperson, or be a registered engineer with at least three years of business experience working with HVAC
  • Never have been convicted of specified offenses
  • Pass an examination
  • Submit proof of minimum $500,000 contractor liability coverage
  • Undergo background checks
  • Pay applicable fees

Contractors must complete eight hours of continuing education annually. Four hours may be completed online. Ohio contractors have HVAC reciprocity with Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, and South Carolina.

The City of Akron requires contractors to register. They must submit their state license number, a certificate of liability insurance, proof of worker compensation insurance, and pay the $100 fee. All businesses located within the city or doing business within the city must file an annual net profit return and pay an income tax of 2.5 percent.

As licensing regulations may change, HVAC professionals are encouraged to confirm that they comply with current guidelines before starting a project.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.