Toledo, Ohio (OH) HVAC Technical Training Schools

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The French established trading posts in the 1600s in the area that is now Toledo, Ohio to conduct a lucrative fur trade with Native inhabitants. It became a recognized city in the 1800s and has continued to grow into the state’s fourth-largest city. The Port of Toledo, railroads, international airports, and interstate highways have contributed to Toledo’s growth as an industrial and manufacturing center. The automotive industries, including Jeep, glass manufacturers such as Owens-Corning, and agriculture are the traditional mainstays of the economy. The economy has continued to expand, and Toledo is now a healthcare, education, alternative energy, and finance center.

Toledoans enjoy four seasons, marked by hot summers and cold winters. The humidity is highest July to September when the prevailing winds bring moisture from nearby Lake Erie. Temperatures begin rising in April and continue to increase until autumn cooling in October. Average highs in June, July, and August are in the 80s, with average lows in the 60s F. Average rainfall exceeds three inches in each of those months.

By December, the daytime temperatures are barely above freezing, and from then through February, the nighttime temperatures are in the 20s. The average annual snowfall is slightly more than three feet, with most of it falling in January. As winter turns to spring, the snow turns to nearly four inches of rainfall in April.

The summer heat and humidity followed by cold and snowy winters frequently keep Toledo residents indoors. They rely on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to provide comfort in their homes and workplaces. The manufacturing and industrial facilities require the addition of refrigeration (HVAC/R), as do the many cultural and entertainment venues. The healthcare and educational institutions and businesses that depend on high-tech often require specialized climate-control systems and equipment to keep their electronics operating correctly.

The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2020) data indicates that 450 HVAC and HVAC/R technicians were employed in Toledo. National, state, and local industry organizations provide resources, support, and training to the technicians and their employers. These include:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Associated General Contractors of Northwest Ohio (AGCNWO)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Northwest Ohio (MCANWO)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCCA)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, Greater Toledo Chapter (RSES)
  • Toledo Heating and Air Conditioning Contractor’s Association (THACCA)
  • UA Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry Local 50

These organizations 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 Toledo, Ohio

The BLS (2021) expects a 5 percent nationwide increase in openings for trained HVAC and HVAC/R technicians between 2020 and 2030. They project an average of 38,500 job openings each year. Projections Central (2022) Ohio-specific statistics are even rosier, as they anticipate a nationwide increase of 12.6 percent and an annual average of 42,800 job openings between 2018 and 2028.

The construction of new commercial and residential buildings drives the growth of the HVAC industry. Renovating or remodeling existing structures to meet growing or changing needs is also a primary factor in industry growth. Aging equipment and systems must be repaired, replaced, or updated. Replacing or upgrading climate control systems in newer structures is sometimes necessary due to changing regulations, technological advances, and new industries. The contemporary emphasis on energy efficiency and pollution reduction is yet another factor driving industry growth.

New and modernized structures frequently incorporate sophisticated climate-control systems to meet the demands of “smart” buildings. The systems require trained technicians to install, maintain, and service. Technicians are expected to be skilled troubleshooters, understand electronics and high-tech, and be proficient with computers. Their expertise gives them the best job opportunities.

Technicians who specialize in new construction may occasionally experience unemployment if construction declines. Toledo’s diverse industry and strong economy make a slowdown unlikely. Despite some pandemic struggles, “recovery is strong” and “the economic momentum in this city continues to build.” Recent economic investments and development projects include Amazon, General Motors, and Libbey’s.

Technicians who maintain, service, and repair equipment and systems can expect continuous employment regardless of the economy, as businesses and homeowners depend on year-round climate control.

HVAC and HVAC/R Salaries in Toledo, Ohio

The BLS (May 2020) reports that HVAC mechanics and installers nationally received a median salary of $50,590. Technicians in Toledo earned an annual median salary of $53,520. The wage difference is more favorable than it appears, as the cost of living in Ohio is lower than in other American states.

Here are the national, state, and regional earnings of HVAC professionals (BLS May 2020):

United States Ohio Toledo, OH
Number of HVAC professionals employed 344,020 12,850 450
Average annual salary $53,410 $49,910 $55,440
10th percentile $31,910 $31,650 $31,310
25th percentile $39,320 $38,260 $39,850
50th percentile $50,590 $48,940 $53,520
75th percentile $64,350 $60,760 $66,120
90th percentile $80,820 $70,200 $87,290

HVAC Apprenticeships in Toledo, Ohio

In the past, workers could begin their careers as entry-level helpers and gain their skills via on-the-job training. As few opportunities exist now for untrained workers, most aspiring HVAC technicians attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship. Trained workers not only have more employment opportunities, but they also start at higher wages and potentially earn more throughout their careers.

Apprenticeships usually require a three- to five-year commitment. Each year the apprentices complete an average of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training combined with an average of 144 hours of classroom work.

The Ohio State Apprenticeship Council sponsors a pre-apprenticeship program designed to prepare workers for a formal apprenticeship. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services maintains a database of apprenticeship opportunities. As of March 2022, they list four Toledo companies offering apprenticeships.

The Northwest Ohio Piping Industry Local 50 offers a comprehensive five-year apprenticeship that includes 8,500 hours of on-the-job training coupled with classroom work two nights a week. Their state-of-the-art training center is located in Northwood.

The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Local 33 have joined forces to offer five-year apprenticeships in Ohio, including HVAC. Apprentices receive 1,000 hours of classroom instruction and 9,000 hours of on-the-job training at their state-of-the-art facilities, one of which is located in Toledo.

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)

Those wishing to attend can obtain information as to courses available, scheduling, and fees from each organization’s website.

Accredited HVAC and HVAC/R Schools in Toledo, Ohio

Students choosing to attend school should ensure that they 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 programs are accredited by HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).

As of March 2022, HVAC Excellence has not accredited an Ohio school, but 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 Toledo students, it is included in the profiles below due to its accreditation. Other reputable agencies have accredited the remaining schools.

Note: The information in this article was compiled in March 2022, when pandemic restrictions were in a state of flux. The profiled schools may have temporarily suspended classes or are offering online options. Direct questions about timing and format to the school administration.

Northwest State Community College

Northwestern State Community College offers an HVAC/R certificate designed to teach students the technology required by modern climate control equipment. Coursework includes industrial safety, industrial electricity I and II, energy audits, electrical prints and troubleshooting, industrial pipefitting, motors and motor controls, HVAC/R I, II, and III, and a communications elective. Students receive their certificate at the completion of 32 credits.

  • Location: Archbold, OH
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $177.33 per credit
  • Program Length: Eight months

Owens Community College

Owens offers an HVAC certificate program that includes classroom lectures and hands-on training in their lab. The coursework includes applied industrial mathematics, electrical prints, maintenance electricity, HVAC/R electricity, refrigeration, gas heating, HVAC design and application, sheet metal fabric/layout, HVAC/R service application, HVAC/R system troubleshooting, and building print reading. Students also select two electives from light commercial refrigeration, chiller operations, HVAC/R control systems, or building energy management.

Students are awarded a certificate at the completion of 31 to 32 credits. They may apply their credits toward an associate degree in building maintenance.

  • Location: Perrysburg, OH
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $162.50 per credit
  • Program Length: One year

Penta County Joint Vocational School

Penta County includes an HVAC/R mechanic and repair course in their adult education section. The curriculum encompasses instruction in sheet metal, gas and electric furnaces, gas boilers, and geothermal applications.

The non-technical curriculum includes forklift training, CPR, and resume writing. Students will also prepare for and take the EPA 608 exam. Students who complete the coursework are qualified to seek entry-level positions. They may also apply a portion of their credits to specific apprenticeship programs.

  • Location: Perrysburg, OH
  • Accreditation: Ohio Board of Regents; Council on Occupational Education (COE)
  • Tuition: $6,120
  • Program Length: Nine months

Stautzenberger College

Stautzenberger College is a for-profit, private educational institution. It offers an HVAC/R diploma program. Students learn installation, maintenance, and repair of HVAC systems through technical coursework that includes an introduction to cooling and heating systems, HVAC essential service task and piping, the fundamentals of welding and heat pumps, refrigerant, wiring, air delivery systems, steam and commercial hydronic systems, troubleshooting controls and motors, troubleshooting HVAC, building management, and system design.

As well as classroom lectures, students also complete out-of-class assignments that include problem-solving, projects, and research, among others. They also complete coursework in success strategies, for a total of 64 credits.

Students are prepared to take the EPA exam and are qualified to accept entry-level positions. They have the option of applying a portion of their credits to specific apprenticeship programs. Alternatively, they may continue in the construction management associate degree program.

  • Location: Maumee Campus Satellite Location, Toledo, OH
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Tuition: $24,150
  • Program Length: 10 months

Terra State Community College

Terra State offers two HVAC/R programs: certificate and associate degree. The certificate requires 42 credits to complete. Students in the certificate program may choose to attend during the day in the “Fast Track” program or the traditional evening program. The degree program emphasizes environmentally friendly refrigerants, new controls, and high-efficiency equipment to prepare students for “green” positions.

The curriculum for the certificate program includes electrical codes and prints, safety, refrigeration, electricity, refrigeration, system sizing, heating systems, air conditioning systems, HVAC electronics, and troubleshooting capstone. Graduates are qualified for entry-level positions.

Students choosing to earn an HVAC/R associate degree complete the same technical coursework as those in the certificate program. They choose one additional course from ecology and the environment, environment and sustainability, or survey of physics.

Additionally, students complete general education courses that include digital literacy, English composition, technical writing, effective speaking, humanities elective, social science elective, and mathematics. They receive their degree at the completion of 64 credits.

  • Location: Fremont, OH
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $185.00 per credit
  • Program Length: Certificate varies; degree two years

University of Northwestern Ohio

The University of Northwestern Ohio is a private, not-for-profit educational institution. Students may obtain a diploma or an associate degree in HVAC/R Technology. Both programs prepare graduates for entry-level positions as HVAC technicians. Students in the degree program also acquire HVAC managerial skills.

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, and technical math, and among others. Taking the commercial driver’s license I and II courses is recommended. Students receive their diplomas at the completion of 61 credits.

Degree-seeking students complete the same technical and basic general education coursework as those in the diploma program. They also complete general education coursework that includes composition I and II, the American political scene, psychology, earth science, diversity issues, and customer relations automated management. They are awarded their degree at the completion of 88 credits.

  • Location: Lima, OH
  • Accreditation: PAHRA; Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP); Higher Learning Council (HLC)
  • Tuition: $230.00 per credit
  • Program Length: Diploma 16 months; degree 20 months

HVAC and HVAC/R Certification and Licensing in Toledo, OH

All HVAC and HVAC/R technicians who handle refrigerants must obtain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 certification. Four certification levels are available based on the type and size of equipment on which a technician works. Each level described below requires technicians to pass an exam on refrigerant safety:

  • 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, as well as other certifications 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)

Check each organization’s website for availability, scheduling, and fees. There is also more information on the HVAC certifications page.

Ohio does not require employed HVAC and HVAC/R technicians to obtain licensing if they are working under the supervision of a licensed contractor. Self-employed technicians are usually classified as contractors, and contractors must be licensed. The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) is the licensing agency.

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:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Submit documentation of at least five years experience immediately prior to the date of application as a tradesperson under a licensed contractor in the field on projects that required a permit, 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 if their renewal is made timely; if late, they must complete ten hours of continuing education. Ohio contractors have HVAC reciprocity with Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, and South Carolina.

The City of Toledo requires all businesses to register. Contractors have an additional registration requirement. Applications must be accompanied by:

  • $200 fee
  • Copy of current state license
  • Copy of City of Toledo registration
  • Signed certificate of appropriateness agreement (pertains to work on historical landmarks or in historic districts)
  • Certificate of liability insurance

Applications must be notarized.

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.