HVAC Schools in Dallas, Texas – Programs & Certifications

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For residents of Dallas who are seeking a high-growth career with accelerated training and relatively high pay, becoming a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professional can be an excellent choice. It’s no surprise that this city is in need of qualified HVAC workers given the hot summers, often with highs in the 90s.

There’s also a vibrant support network in Dallas; in fact, the city hosted the 2013 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Expo® and Winter Conference (Southwest HVAC News). The event offered around 200 hours of continuing education (CE) opportunities to be applied to various types of HVAC credentials and licenses. Some of the topics covered at this event included energy conservation; large building design; industrial and transportation ventilation; HVAC/R fundamentals and equipment; guidelines and codes; and facility management.

One trade group of note in the Dallas area is the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association of North Texas, a not-for-profit contractor association. The parent organization, the PHCC, was founded in 1883 and has continually provided resources for HVAC workers across the country such as training, networking events, group insurance, access to a worker’s compensation trust, legal advocacy, and other services.

In Dallas and beyond, HVAC mechanics and installers fulfill an important role in climate control, taking on responsibilities such as performing heat load and loss calculations; troubleshooting HVAC equipment and components (e.g., motors, intake and exhaust fans, economizers, humidifiers, pumps, wiring, pipes, gauges, air ducts, valves, blowers, furnaces, hermetic compressors); soldering and brazing parts; giving clients new system upgrades or energy efficiency recommendations; staying on top of legislative changes; keeping detailed customer service records; and maintaining all necessary permitting or licensure through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).

Some of these skilled professionals choose to specialize in a type of equipment (e.g., industrial ventilation). It’s important to note that all refrigeration specialists nationwide are required to seek the EPA Section 608 certification; this is due to the difficulty and environmental sensitivity of handling common refrigerant chemicals.

This guide serves as a resource for people in Dallas and surrounding areas of the Lone Star State which are seeking information about becoming an HVAC professional in the region. It includes a discussion of the rising employment opportunities, the salary prospects, accredited training programs, and HVAC licensure procedures in Dallas and beyond.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Dallas

As mentioned in the introduction, the employment prospects in HVAC are expanding rapidly across the country, especially in the Lone Star State. As proof of point, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019) reported that there would be a 4 percent explosion in HVAC positions across the country between 2019 and 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations (4 percent).

Furthermore, there’s evidence that the future looks even brighter in Texas. In fact, Projections Central (2020)—a partner of the US Department of Labor— projected a 15.9 percent explosion in HVAC opportunities across Texas between 2018 and 2028; with the expected addition of 4,530 fresh Texas positions in this field in the coming years, the prospects look especially bright in this area.

Also, Texas already employs the third-most HVAC workers of any state in the US at 26,690, just behind California’s 29,650 and Florida’s 31,710. And the BLS (May 2019) found that two of the ten top-employing metropolitan regions in the US were located in TX: Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land and the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Division. In sum, there’s no shortage of opportunities in the Lone Star State, and particularly in the Dallas area.

Dallas HVAC technicians work in a wide array of commercial and residential environments, including factories, schools, hospitals, and other structures. Approximately 7 percent of HVAC workers across the country were self-employed in 2019, and another 66 percent worked in the contractor’s industry.

It’s important to note that people in this line of work may suffer a higher-than-average rate of injury compared to other American occupations. This is due to the physical nature of the work which carries an elevated risk of electrical shock, muscle strains, tears, burns, and other problems. That said, with adequate training and the use of safety equipment, these complications can be kept to a minimum.

Some HVAC professionals in Dallas work normal business hours, while others may be called upon to work evenings, holidays, or weekends, especially during the high summer season when demand peaks. The fact that HVAC systems generally need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years and the rising incidence of year-round service contracts are two factors contributing to the steady demand in this industry.

Finally, there’s much evidence across popular job posting sites that opportunities in HVAC are on the rise in Dallas. Infact, Indeed (Oct. 2020) had 335 relevant HVAC worker postings from the Dallas area, including openings at Frymire Home Services, Trane Technologies, Sears Home Services, Kroger Stores, Ashford Mechanical, and Emcor, among others. Monster (Oct. 2020) boasted an additional 108 employers seeking HVAC techs from the region, including A-Ok Services, PULS, Penske, Randstad, Dynamic Mechanical, Boxer Property, ABM Industries, and more.

Dallas HVAC Technician Salary Data

Not only is Texas one of the more affordable states in the country, but also the HVAC worker salaries are roughly on par with the national averages. Although this profession generally requires one-to-two years of postsecondary schooling, it is relatively lucrative. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019) the 342,040 HVAC workers around the country enjoyed an annual average salary(annual mean wage) of $51,420 with the following detailed wage percentiles:

United States Texas Dallas, TX
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 26,690 7,010
Annual mean wage $51,420 $46,840 $46,710
10th Percentile $30,610 $29,180 $24,920
25th Percentile $37,660 $36,680 $39,860
50th Percentile (median) $48,730 $45,510 $46,260
75th Percentile $62,070 $56,410 $55,310
90th Percentile $77,920 $67,510 $66,180

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) found that Texas had the 14th lowest cost of living in the United States for 2020. Aspiring HVAC workers in Dallas are encouraged to keep this in mind.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Dallas

Prior to becoming an HVAC professional in Dallas, it’s crucial to receive proper training and preparation for the career. There are two main organizations which provide accreditation to HVAC training programs: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). To learn about how each approves institutions and programs, check out the organizations’ websites or the “accreditation” section of the HVAC programs homepage.

Lincoln College of Technology

Lincoln Tech’s Grand Prairie, TX campus is located in the center of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. It offers an HVAC technology diploma with day, afternoon, and evening classes available. Students in this program will learn about advancements in technology to enhance their HVAC marketability, training, and skills to employers. They are trained in on-campus “GreenHouses” and are taught about energy-auditing techniques.

In this 44.5 credit-hour program, students complete the following coursework: introduction to climate control systems, electricity, basic refrigeration systems, air conditioning systems, air conditioning design and layout, commercial refrigeration control, commercial refrigeration design, warm air heating, and energy efficiency and green technology systems.

The faculty of the program includes experienced instructors who have worked in this industry and want to pass along what they know. The curriculum teaches students to work with commercial refrigeration control systems, repair and replace compressors, handle refrigerant piping, and plot air conditioners with psychrometric charts.

Graduates of this program can pursue several certifications, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 and can qualify for employment in entry-level positions.

  • Location: Grand Prairie, TX
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges; HVAC Excellence
  • Expected Time to Completion: 47 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: $23,220

Vernon College

This PAHRA-accredited program in nearby Wichita Falls at Vernon College offers an associate in applied science degree in HVAC, an HVAC occupational skills award program, and an HVAC level certificate program. These programs are offered through a combination of hands-on training in the lab and classroom lectures.

The 12 credit-hour heat, ventilation, and air conditioning occupational skills award program includes courses such as basic electricity or basic electrical theory, air conditioning control principles, and refrigeration principles.

The certificate program is made up of 36 credit-hours and involves the same coursework as the award program, and adds the following courses: residential air conditioning, gas and electric heating, advanced air conditioning controls, air conditioning troubleshooting, commercial air conditioning, and heat pumps.

The AAS degree program comprises 60 credit-hours and includes the above coursework and a practicum, with the addition of required general education courses in composition, federal government, public speaking, and mathematics among others. Students also select three electives.

  • Location: Wichita Falls, TX
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; PAHRA
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificate (32 weeks), AAS degree (two years)
  • Estimated Tuition: Texas, Wilbarger County ($60 per credit-hour); Texas, non-Wilbarger County ($100 per credit-hour); out-of-state ($ 200 per credit-hour)

Dallas County Community College

Another local institution offering HVAC training is the Dallas County Community College. It has several certificate and degree programs in HVAC technology across various campuses (e.g. Cedar Valley College and Eastfield College). Students in these programs are offered preparation for the EPA Section 608 exam—mandatory for all HVAC workers nationally who handle refrigerants—as well as ICE and state contracting exams. The degrees offered are:

  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology AAS
  • Residential AAS

The certificates offered include:

  • Residential – Technician I Certificate
  • Residential – Technician III Level II Certificate

The residential technician I certificate is made up of 12 credit-hours includes courses such as basic electricity for HVAC, air conditioning control principles, refrigeration principles, residential air conditioning, gas and electric heating, and heat pumps.

The residential – technician III level II certificate consists of 48 credit-hours and includes all the above-mentioned courses. Additionally, students pick a math elective and study air conditioning installation and startup, air conditioning troubleshooting, and residential air conditioning systems design.

The residential AAS comprises 60 credit-hours involving all courses from the all certificates mentioned above, with additional coursework in humanities/fine arts, introduction to speech communication, cooperative education-HVAC/R, and general psychology.

Finally, the air conditioning and refrigeration technology AAS is made up of 60 credit-hours, including coursework similar to that of the residential AAS. This program only replaces the air conditioning installation and startup, and residential air conditioning systems design courses with commercial refrigeration and air conditioning.

  • Location: Dallas County, Texas
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on ​​Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS degrees (four semesters each); residential technician I certificate (two semesters); residential technician III level II certificate (three semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: Dallas County residents ($79 per credit-hour); out-of-county residents ($135 per credit-hour)

Remington College

Remington College offers an HVAC diploma program and an associate of applied science (AAS) degree program in HVAC. These programs provide students with practical foundational training in HVAC systems, helping them develop the expertise and skills needed to successfully maintain and troubleshoot today’s complex HVAC/R systems, including commercial and industrial systems. Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in the HVAC industry.

Comprising 59 credit-hours, the diploma program includes courses such as basic refrigeration and electricity, fundamental hvac maintenance, motors and motor control, residential heating and AC, commercial refrigeration systems, introduction to air conditioning and major components, domestic appliances and cold water air conditioning, heat pumps and hydronic heating, ventilation and air flow, hydronic systems, and career development fundamentals and principles.

The AAS consists of 95 credit-hours and includes all courses from the diploma, with additional coursework in business applications, small business principles and basics, recordkeeping and financial statement basics, introduction to psychology, oral communication, college algebra, and english composition.

  • Location: Dallas, TX (Garland)
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Diploma (12 months); AAS (24 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Diploma ($21,520); AAS ($29,425)

For people living in more rural regions of the state or have other time commitments preventing them from attending an on-campus program, there are various distance-based HVAC training programs available. For an overview of some of the accredited programs in other parts of TX or web-based classes, check out the HVAC schools in Texas or online HVAC programs pages, respectively.

HVAC Licensing & Certification in Dallas, Texas

In addition to receiving proper training in the field, aspiring HVAC professionals in Dallas also must seek all necessary credentialing. There are both national and regional certifications and licenses available.

First, as mentioned above, there is one required credential for all HVAC/R workers nationwide who handle refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 certification. There are four types that vary by category of equipment: type 1 (small appliance), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal).

There are also several other national organizations which offer competency-based certifications in specific skills. Some of these agencies include:

  • HVAC Excellence (Certifications: HEAT, HEAT Plus, duct & envelope testing, green awareness, hydrocarbon refrigerants, residential heat load analyst, etc.)
  • North American Technician Excellence (Certifications: air conditioning, heat pumps, hydronics oil, etc.)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (Certifications: commercial air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, heating, HVAC/R electrical, etc.)

To discover how to pursue these credentials, please visit the HVAC certifications page.

Second, HVAC workers in TX must have proper local credentialing as well. The main regulatory authority for TX HVAC workers is the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), which registers and licenses people in this field. It offers the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (ACR) Technician Registration, the entry-level credential in this field for those working under licensed HVAC contractors. Please note that registration does not require an exam, but becoming a “Certified ACR Technician” does.

For those experienced HVAC professionals seeking to advertise their services to the public, they must pursue an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractor License. There are several types of HVAC contractor licenses available, including:

  • Environmental Air Conditioning
  • Commercial Refrigeration/Process Heating & Cooling
  • Combined Environmental Air Conditioning & Commercial Refrigeration/Process Heating & Cooling

There are also Class A and Class B (restricted) categories, which vary by size of equipment. It’s important to note that TX has licensing reciprocity with South Carolina and Georgia.

Lastly, Dallas City Hall registers various types of mechanical contractors, including refrigeration specialists. To qualify, a candidate must complete an application; show proof of state licensure; and pay an application fee.

Above all, HVAC professionals in TX are strongly encouraged to reach out to local city administrators to ensure that they have all proper credentialing prior to beginning work.

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.