HVAC Training Schools in Texas (TX)

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Professionals who are interested in a fast-growing career and like working with their hands may be well-suited to a job in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, or HVAC.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019), Texas had the third-highest employment rate for HVAC technicians of any state in the country, meaning that even those just starting out in the career have a good chance of finding employment quickly. Current Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates have 26,690 people currently employed as HVAC technicians in the state, with the Dallas and Houston metropolitan areas being the most concentrated. Further, it is a career that will truly always be in demand, particularly in the sweltering Texas summers.

HVAC technicians who do work in Texas also have the benefit of many professional organizations to support them in their career. For instance, the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association provides Texas HVAC workers with educational opportunities and other support. Pipefitters Local 211 is an option in Houston for HVAC professionals who want to join a union. This union also supports apprenticeship programs around the state.

It can always be a challenge to start a new career from scratch, but becoming an HVAC technician through an accredited HVAC program is one of the fastest ways to begin this level of professional career. HVAC technicians do need some foundational knowledge to succeed in their first job, but there are no specific education or testing requirements for HVAC technicians to start work in Texas. As long as a technician registers with the state and is working under the supervision of a certified technician, it is possible to start work right away. This means that in just a few months, depending on the program, brand new HVAC technicians could be starting work and well on their way to a stable and lucrative career.

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Occupational Demand for HVAC Jobs in Texas (TX)

The timing is right for starting a career as an HVAC technician in all parts of the country, but particularly in Texas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in the US, demand for HVAC technicians is expected to increase by 13 percent through 2028, which is more than double the average (5 percent) for all professions (BLS 2019). This percentage equates to 46,300 new jobs across the country during that time frame.

So what are the factors contributing to the healthy, thriving demand for qualified HVAC professionals in Texas? First, these systems generally need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, not to mention required retrofitting of old systems to make them compatible with new structures or technologies. Secondly, the rise of regular service and maintenance contracts which accompanies the installation of modern systems may ensure regular work throughout the year, even during the typically low seasons (spring and fall). Maintenance and repair work is especially stable, while specializing in HVAC installation may thrive more in cities with high rates of construction.

The BLS (2019) reported that 9 percent HVAC mechanics and installers were self-employed in 2019, and 64 percent worked for plumbing, heating, and A/C contracting companies. Some of these skilled professionals in TX work normal business hours, while others may be called upon to service equipment on evenings, weekends, or holidays, particularly during the high summer season.

HVAC workers do incur a relatively high risk of injury and illness compared to other US occupations. They lift heavy equipment, deal with electrical wiring, and handle refrigerants, three activities which increase one’s risk of muscle strains, electrical shock, burns, and frostbite, among other maladies. These problems can generally be kept to a minimum with proper training and use of safety equipment.

Despite the physical challenges within the profession, there is further evidence that the employment climate is thriving for HVAC workers in TX. In fact, common job post sites are bursting at the seams with opportunities. For example, Indeed (2020) had links to 1,223 relevant HVAC worker openings in TX, including positions at American AC and Heating, CMS/Nextech, Precision Heating & Air, LLC, and Chill Out Heat Air & Refrigeration LLC. Additionally, Monster (2020) advertised 811 HVAC jobs in TX at places such as ABM Industries, Soal Technologies Inc., Climate Services of Texas, and Advantage Resourcing.

Salaries for HVAC Workers in Texas (TX)

According to the BLS (May 2019), 342,040 HVAC professionals were employed in the US, earning an average salary of $51,420 or $24.72 hourly. Texas had the third highest employment rate for HVAC technicians of any state, with 26,690 jobs and a mean wage of $46,840 annually.

Following are the average salaries of workers in the US as compared to Texas:

United States Texas
Average $51,420 $46,840
10th percentile $30,610 $29,180
25th percentile $37,660 $36,680
50th percentile $48,730 $45,510
75th percentile $62,070 $56,410
90th percentile $77,920 $67,510

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, PayScale (2020), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the 5,277 HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles for the US:

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $46,000
  • 90th percentile: $73,000

The hourly rate across the US is as follows:

  • 10th percentile: $13.50/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.70hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.08/hr.

As noted above, the average salary for HVAC workers in Texas is a bit lower than that of the rest of the nation. 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 2020) found that TX was the 15th most affordable state, meaning residents can expect to find savings in areas like housing and groceries. For HVAC technicians this means even lower than average salaries will go a bit further than they would in some costlier states.

Accredited HVAC Training Schools in Texas

Accreditation is an important part of any higher education program. In the US, there are two organizations that offer accreditation for HVAC programs: HVAC Excellence and Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).

There are no accreditation requirements for registering or becoming licensed as an ACR contractor in Texas. However, accreditation does indicate that a professional association has evaluated the quality of education offered by a program both in terms of curriculum and facilities. Therefore, although accreditation may not be required, it is highly recommended for a discerning student.

Lincoln College of Technology offers students the ability to learn HVAC skills through the lens of green technology, and is the first school in the country incorporating energy auditing courses from the Green Mechanical Council. The Texas location of Lincoln Tech is in Grand Prairie, which is near Dallas-Fort Worth, and is an HVAC Excellence accredited program.

Students at Lincoln Tech can complete the 44.5 credit-hour HVAC diploma program in a total of 47 weeks. Coursework in the program includes introduction to climate control systems, air-conditioning design and layout, commercial refrigeration design, and energy efficiency and green technology systems. As of 2020, students can anticipate spending an estimated $24,943 on the program (including tools and fees).

Laredo College is located in Laredo, Texas and offers an HVAC Excellence-accredited HVAC program. Laredo has both one- and two-year certificate programs that include coursework in basic HVAC electricity, the principles of refrigerations, and residential and commercial projects.

Students who complete the one-year, 32-credit-hour program exit with a “Basic Commercial Air Conditioning & Refrigeration” certificate. Those completing the 52-credit-hour, two-year program are trained in advanced commercial skills, must complete a capstone course, and exit with a “Commercial Air Conditioning & Refrigeration” certificate.. As of 2020, students at Laredo could expect to pay $50 per credit-hour (in-district), $100 per credit-hour (out-of-district), or $200 (out-of-state).

Vernon College offers a PAHRA-accredited associate in applied science (AAS) in HVAC or level 1 certificate in HVAC through its Skills Training Center in Wichita Falls. The 60-semester-hour AAS takes two years to complete, and requires students to complete general education requirements in addition to HVAC courses. The level 1 certificate program is 36 semester-hours and takes nine months to complete.

Coursework in both programs includes basic electricity for HVAC, gas and electric heating, air conditioning troubleshooting, and residential air conditioning. Both programs also require students to complete verification of workplace competencies through a capstone experience. As of 2020, Wilbarger County residents can expect to pay $50 per semester-hour; out-of-county Texas residents can expect to pay $95 per semester-hour; and out-of-state students can expect to pay $200 per semester-hour.

HVAC Licensing & Certification in Texas (TX)

Prior to seeking work, all HVAC workers in Texas must ensure that they have proper credentialing. There is one nationally mandatory certification for all people who work with refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 certification, for which there are four categories:

  • Type 1 (small appliance)
  • Type 2 (high-pressure appliances)
  • Type 3 (low-pressure appliances)
  • Type 4 (universal)

Preparation for this credentialing exam is usually included in accredited HVAC training programs.

Other national entities of note and sample certifications offered include:

  • HVAC Excellence (e.g., Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology [HEAT], HEAT Plus, heat oil combustion, systems diagnostics, green awareness, etc.)
  • North American Technician Excellence or NATE (e.g., air conditioning, air distribution, heat pump, hydronics oil, commercial refrigeration, etc.)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society or RSES (e.g., commercial air conditioning, domestic service, dynamic compression, etc.)

To discover in detail how to achieve any of these credentials, check out the HVAC certifications page.

HVAC technicians in Texas specifically must be licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TLDR). HVAC technicians must apply for the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractor’s (ACRC) license by submitting an application, a $115 application fee, and sit for the licensing exam.

To be eligible for the exam, applicants must be at least 18 years old and “show proof of 48 months of practical experience in air conditioning and refrigeration work under the supervision of a licensed air conditioning and refrigeration contractor within the last 72 months.” The full details of how to apply for licensing as well as what types of licenses are available for different levels of employment (e.g., registered technicians vs. licensed contractors) is accessible on the TLDR site.

New technicians should be aware that licensing requirements can vary within the same state depending on the municipality. It is contingent on all HVAC professionals to ensure that they are working within the law of wherever they choose to work.

Becca Brewer

Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by healing herself into wholeness, divesting from separation, and walking the path of the loving heart. Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.