Arlington, TX HVAC Trade Schools

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Arlington, Texas (TX) is situated between Dallas and Fort Worth but maintains its identity as a thriving and independent city. The University of Texas at Arlington is one of the largest employers, followed by General Motors and the original Six Flags Over Texas.

Although oil played a part in the growth of the city, Arlington boasts a diversified economy. Recreation and sports are the biggest contributors to the City’s prosperity, thanks in part to the AT&T Stadium, followed by the hospitality industry. Other contributors include healthcare, education, mining, and agriculture. The economy continues to grow each year, earning Arlington a place among the fastest-growing economies in large cities nationwide.

Summers in Arlington are hot and often humid. The average temperatures during the daytime from May through September are in the high 80s and 90s. It’s not unusual for temperatures to soar about 100 degrees. There’s some relief during the evening hours when the temperature drops into the 70s. More than four inches of rain fall monthly in May and June, then decreases during July and August, before increasing to nearly five inches during the month of October. Daytime temperatures during the winter months hover around the high 50s and low 60s, and nighttime lows seldom drop below the mid-30s. When the area experiences a rare cold winter, temperatures can drop below freezing. Precipitation during the winter is usually in the form of rain, but some years receive up to one inch of snow.

Arlington lies within Tornado Alley, and residents often stay indoors to escape the summer heat and mugginess. Winter chill and frequent winds can keep folks indoors as well. Summer or winter, Texans rely on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort in their homes and workplaces. The hospitality venues and businesses such as those providing healthcare frequently require the addition of large-scale refrigeration (HVAC/R). Some facilities need special climate-controlled rooms or areas to keep their electronic equipment operating correctly.

Statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) show that as of May 2018, 7,160 HVAC mechanics and installers were employed in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX area. Technicians and their employers received training and support from industry organizations that include:

  • American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
  • American Subcontractors Association Texas Chapter
  • Associated Builders and Contractors Central Texas Chapter
  • Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 146
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association North Texas
  • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association
  • Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association

These and other industry organizations coordinate with government entities to establish educational and licensing standards. They serve all aspects of the HVAC and HVAC/R industries, including safety, performance, and promotion.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Techs in Arlington, TX

According to the BLS (2019), the demand for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians is increasing. They expect a 13 percent increase in job openings nationwide between 2018 and 2028. That is much faster than the 5 percent average projected for all occupations in the US. Texas is surpassing the national expectations. Projections Central predicts a 23.5 percent increase in the demand for technicians in Texas, or 6,190 new positions, between 2016 and 2026.

Growth in the HVAC and HVAC/R industry is due primarily to new construction. Prosperous cities such as Arlington attract new businesses, which brings in new residents. Homes and commercial structures are needed to accommodate them. The new buildings all need climate-control systems and equipment. When existing structures are remodeled or renovated, HVAC systems often need to be replaced, retrofitted, or upgraded to meet contemporary standards for energy efficiency and pollution reduction. The increasing reliance on technology makes specialized equipment and systems necessary, especially in the newer “smart” buildings.

The complexity of climate-control equipment and systems requires trained technicians to install, service, and maintain. Technicians who are proficient troubleshooters, skilled in using computers, and understand electronics generally have the best job opportunities. Those who specialize in new installations may experience seasonal unemployment if construction declines, although that is unlikely to happen in Arlington any time soon. As noted above, the economy is growing, requiring remodeling and new construction. Homeowners and business establishments need to keep their equipment in good working order regardless of the economy, so technicians specializing in maintenance and repair work can expect year-round employment.

HVAC Salaries in Arlington, TX

Wage and employment data collected by the BLS (March 2019) show that HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide earned a median salary of $47,610 during the year ended May 2018. Technicians in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX area earned an annual median salary of $45,470.

Following is a comparison of national, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals:

United States Texas Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 324,310 25,290 7,160
Average Annual Salary $50,160 $46,070 $46,340
10th Percentile $29,460 $27,930 $24,110
25th Percentile $36,520 $35,220 $37,170
50th Percentile (Median) $47,610 $44,550 $45,470
75th Percentile $60,900 $55,630 $55,140
90th Percentile $76,230 $66,090 $64,810

HVAC Apprenticeships in Arlington, TX

Few opportunities are available for untrained workers in HVAC. Those who aspire to become HVAC and HVAC/R technicians can increase their job prospects by attending classes or participating in an apprenticeship program. Trained workers typically start at higher wages and potentially earn more during their career.

Hours of on-the-job training (usually 2,000) and classroom work (typically 144) annually for three to five years are part of serving an apprenticeship. Workers will find resources and instructions for becoming a registered apprentice at the Texas Workforce Commission website.

Note that apprentices should first obtain an employer willing to train them. If the employer hasn’t registered with the Commission, they will need to do so. The Commission grants funding to registered programs, classroom instruction, and apprentices.

Aspiring apprentices can also find apprenticeship programs sponsored by industry associations such as the following:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association

Details are available on their websites.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Arlington, TX

Accreditation is a process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of a school. Both the curriculum and the instructors are evaluated to assure students that they receive the education they expect from the institution. When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited and which organization granted accreditation.

Two industry organizations evaluate HVAC programs. HVAC Excellence has awarded accreditation to Laredo College, in Laredo, and Lincoln College of Technology, in Grand Prairie. The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) has accredited Vernon College, in Wichita Falls.

Arlington Career Institute

Arlington Career, a for-profit college, offers an HVAC/R program that includes classroom lectures and hands-on practice in fully-equipped labs. Coursework is available on a full-time basis only.

The curriculum includes basic electricity, gas furnaces, HVAC maintenance, heat pumps, HVAC/R diagnostics, and commercial refrigeration. Students are qualified to take industry certification exams. Passing the EPA 608 and NATE core exams are required for graduation. Others may be taken at the student’s convenience. Students are required to wear uniforms and maintain a professional appearance. The cost of uniforms, an iPad, and a tool kit are included in the tuition. All are required and may not be purchased from a supplier other than the school.

Students reside at a hotel of the school’s choosing and are transported to classroom and lab facilities. Breakfast and lunches are catered, and students are provided vouchers for evening meals. Job placement assistance is offered to graduates.

  • Location: Grand Prairie, TX
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Format: On-campus
  • Tuition: $18,500
  • Program length: Seven weeks

Two colleges in the Dallas County Community College District offer HVAC programs: Cedar Valley College – Lancaster and Eastfield College – Mesquite. Both are less than an hour’s commute for Arlington students.

The Cedar Valley program offers residential HVAC training as follows:

  • Residential Technician I certificate – 24 credit-hours
  • Residential Technician III certificate – 48 credit-hours
  • Residential HVAC degree – 60 credit-hours

The Technician I certificate includes the following curriculum: basic electricity, air conditioning controls, HVAC/R principles, gas and electric heating, and heat pumps. The Technician III certificate starts with the same coursework and adds air conditioning installation and startup, troubleshooting, systems design, and electives in communication and math. Students seeking a degree complete the technical curriculum of the certificate programs, as well as special topics in HVAC mechanic repair or HVAC cooperative education. Their coursework includes additional general education electives in humanities, psychology, and others.

Eastfield College offers the same residential HVAC training as Cedar Valley as well as a commercial HVAC/R training program. Eastfield students additionally complete an HVAC/R practicum or HVAC/R cooperative education. They complete 60 credit-hours of technical coursework and general education coursework to earn their degrees.

  • Location: Lancaster, TX; Mesquite, TX
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Format: On-campus
  • Tuition: $59 per credit-hour
  • Program length: Certificates, one year; degree, two years

Lincoln College of Technology

Students at Lincoln Tech may choose between day and evening programs to earn an HVAC technology diploma. Coursework is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on training in a lab.

The curriculum includes an introduction to climate control, electricity, HVAC/R systems, HVAC design and layout, commercial refrigeration design and controls, energy efficiency, and green technology. Graduates are qualified for employment in entry-level positions.

  • Location: Grand Prairie, TX
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence; Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Format: On-campus
  • Tuition: $24,109
  • Program length: 47 weeks

Lindsey-Cooper Refrigeration School

Lindsey-Cooper offers their HVAC/R programs in English and Spanish. Students can attend during the daytime or evenings, and they may attend either full time or part time.

The coursework is presented in classroom lectures and hands-on practice in the lab. The curriculum includes HVAC/R principles, HVAC/R components and controls, electricity, HVAC/R accessories, how to read wiring diagrams, soldering, tools and diagnostic instruments, and troubleshooting. Students may also take an additional course designed to prepare them for the EPA Section 608 exam.

  • Location: Irving, TX
  • Accreditation: Licensed by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Tuition: Not disclosed on their website, but by program
  • Program length: Two weeks to 12 weeks, depending on program

Remington College

Remington College offers an HVAC diploma program. Students learn theory in classroom lectures, then spend an equal amount of time with hands-on training in fully-equipped labs. Their coursework includes career development, introductory HVAC/R, HVAC maintenance, automated controls, motors, residential systems, commercial HVAC/R, domestic appliances, heat pumps and hydronic heating, and ducting and airflow. Graduates are qualified to seek entry-level positions as residential, commercial, or industrial HVAC technicians.

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Format: On-campus
  • Tuition: $21,120
  • Program length: 48 weeks

HVAC Certification & Licensing in Arlington, TX

Federal law requires that technicians who work with refrigerants obtain Section 608 certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To do so, technicians must pass an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. The four types of certifications are based on the systems on which the technicians work:

  • Type I – small appliances
  • Type II – high-pressure appliances
  • Type III – low-pressure appliances
  • Universal – all types of equipment

Practice exams and further information are available online.

Technicians may obtain additional training and certifications, including 608 testing, from industry associations. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES): Offers comprehensive, cutting-edge education and certification to the HVAC/R industry.
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE): Focuses on real-world working knowledge of HVAC/R systems.
  • HVAC Excellence: Validates that an individual has retained knowledge in a specific area of the HVAC/R industry.

Details are available on their websites. There is also more information on the HVAC certifications page.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) requires HVAC technicians to register. Technicians must work under a licensed HVAC contractor and may not advertise their services. Registration involves completing an application and paying a $20 fee. Annual renewal has the same requirements.

Technicians may voluntarily choose to register as certified technicians if they have 24 months of work experience under a licensed contractor and a combination of 2,000 hours of experience and attendance in an approved training program. After acceptance of their documents and payment of a $50 fee, applicants must pass an exam based on the type of certification sought. Certification types include:

  • Environmental Air – Class A
  • Environmental Air – Class B
  • Commercial Refrigeration – Class A
  • Commercial Refrigeration – Class B
  • Certified Technician

Each exam requires an additional fee. Licenses are valid for one year.

Certified technicians may then upgrade to a contractor’s license once they meet the following conditions:

  • Have 48 months of practical experience under a licensed HVAC contractor within the past 72 months or held a technician certification license for the past 12 months and have at least 36 months of practical experience under a licensed HVAC contractor within the past 48 months
  • Submitted a completed application form
  • Paid a $115 fee
  • Successfully passed an exam
  • Met minimum requirement for insurance coverage

Two classes of licenses are available: Class A permits contractors to work on any size project; or Class B, which limits projects to cooling systems of 25 tons and under and heating systems of 1.5 million BTUs/hour and under. Contractors may add endorsements for environmental air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and process heating or cooling if desired. Licenses must be renewed annually. Renewal requires eight hours of continuing education, an application form, and a $65 fee.

Finally, the City of Arlington requires all contractors to register. Contractors must obtain a state license, complete an application, and pay the appropriate fee.

Regulatory agencies always have the option of changing their licensing requirements. HVAC technicians are encouraged to ensure that they comply with any credentialing requirements before starting a project.