Accredited HVAC Schools in Portland
HVAC technicians, installers, and mechanics traditionally began their careers as helpers and learned the trade through on-the-job training. A majority of workers now attend classes or participate in apprenticeship programs.
The Oregon State Apprenticeship and Training Division provides apprenticeship information, including HVAC opportunities. Apprentices must complete 144 to 192 hours of classroom instruction annually and approximately 8,000 total hours of on-the-job training. Apprentices usually receive 45 to 60 percent of journey-level rate when they begin and a wage increase as they gain experience. Oregon Apprentice maintains state-wide listings of apprenticeship locations and opportunities.
Additionally, the Sheet Metal Institute sponsors a five-year HVAC apprenticeship program in Portland, and the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290 has a five-year apprenticeship program for HVAC/R service technicians at their Tualatin, Oregon campus. The programs are presented through joint apprenticeship training centers. Also, the Associated Builders and Contractors Pacific Northwest Chapter sponsors a four-year HVAC technician apprenticeship with the Northwest College of Construction in Portland.
Additionally, workers seeking HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs can find several available through national industry associations such as:
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
- Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
Details are available on their websites.
Other aspiring HVAC professionals in Portland may opt for formal, accredited degree and certificate programs. Accreditation is a process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of an educational institution’s program. Two organizations accredit HVAC programs: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence.
As of January 2019, these organizations have not begun evaluating Oregon’s schools, but all of the following training program is regionally accredited through a reputable entity.
Portland Community College
PCC offers a pre-apprenticeship program for trade professions. The programs begin with introductory information relevant to all trades. Students receive an overview of the apprenticeship, placement testing, counseling, and registration assistance; then, they complete a pre-trade career pathway certificate program.
The program is designed to prepare students to apply to an Oregon state registered apprenticeship. Coursework includes trade calculations using analog and digital tools and instruments, construction trade safety, terminology, hazardous materials, power tools, scaffolding and rigging with fall protection, and electricity for non-electricians.
Students complete 14 credits to earn their certificate. The course is recognized as a state-approved pre-apprenticeship program by the Apprenticeship and Training Division.
PCC does not offer apprenticeship programs; instead, the school partners with trade joint apprenticeship training centers to provide this opportunity to its students.
Also, PCC offers an HVAC/R certificate program as part of the facilities management program. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions as technicians. Training teaches students about tubing, natural gas piping, sheet metal, duct sizing, work practices, customer relations, combustion air, controls, equipment and systems set up, ergonomics, HVAC/R accessories, mechanical code, refrigerants, and venting.
Students complete 14 credits to earn their certificate and are prepared to take the exams for CFC and brazing certifications as required by Oregon law. Students may continue to obtain a certificate or degree in facilities management.
- Location: Portland, OR
- Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Tuition: $111 per credit
- Program length: Nine months
Students willing to commute will find HVAC and HVAC/R training in other Oregon cities. Those who find attending an on-campus program difficult can find a selection of online HVAC schools and other HVAC training programs in Oregon.