HVAC Training Schools & Certifications in Irving, TX

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Irving, Texas (TX) is situated between Dallas and Fort Worth, making it part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Part of the DFW International Airport lies within Irving city limits. That airport and nearby Dallas-Love Field airport, combined with major highways and rail lines, provides the transportation facilities that helped make Irving the headquarters of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies.

There are nearly five inches of rainfall during the month of May in Irving. That’s the same month the temperatures begin to soar to the summer highs. There’s less rain in June, July, and August, but it’s hot and muggy. Temperatures are in the high 90s F and occasionally spike into the 100s. Night times are slightly cooler, averaging about 20 degrees lower. Daytime temperatures during the winter hover in the high 50s and low 60s, dropping to the upper 30s and low 40s in the evenings. Freezing nights are a rarity. Winter precipitation is typically moderate rainfall rather than snow.

The seasonal extremes push Irving residents indoors. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) are essential for comfort, whether relaxing at home or at work. Many of commercial enterprises, especially those that depend on technology, rely on the addition of refrigeration (HVAC/R) to keep their equipment functioning properly.

According to the most recent data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019),7,010 HVAC mechanics and installers are employed in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX area, which includes Irving. Technicians and their employers receive training and support from industry organizations including:

  • Greater Fort Worth Builders Association
  • Hispanic Contractors Association of Dallas
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Texas
  • National Association of Women in Construction
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association North Texas
  • Regional Black Contractors Association
  • Subcontractors Association of the Metroplex
  • Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association
  • TEXO, The Construction Association

These groups coordinate with others in the industry and with government organizations 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 Technicians in Irving, TX

Demand for HVAC technicians is growing nationwide. According to the BLS (May 2019), openings for technicians are expected to increase by 4 percent nationwide between 2019 and 2029. That is as fast as the average of 4 percent projected for all occupations in the US. Also, Projections Central (2021)—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 positions in this field in the coming years, the prospects look especially bright in this area.

The primary factor driving the growth of the HVAC industry is new construction. Older 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. Climate-control equipment and systems are increasingly sophisticated and require trained technicians to install, service, and maintain.

Technicians are expected to be skilled with computers and electronics. Technicians who specialize in new installations may experience seasonal unemployment if construction declines, although that is not anticipated in Irving. As noted above, the economy is growing, requiring remodeling and new construction. New businesses attract job-seekers, creating the need for the construction of new homes. Maintenance and repair work tends to be stable, as businesses and homeowners need to keep their equipment in good working order regardless of economic conditions.

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

HVAC Salaries in Irving, TX

Being one of the more affordable states, Texas also has HVAC worker salaries that are roughly on par with the national averages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019), the 342,040 HVAC workers around the country enjoyed an annual average salary of $51,420 with the following detailed wage percentiles:

United States Texas Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 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 national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (2021), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,058
  • 90th percentile: $75,000

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) found that Texas had the 14th lowest cost of living in the United States for 2020. Aspiring HVAC workers in Irving are encouraged to keep this in mind.

HVAC Apprenticeships in Irving, TX

Although HVAC and HVAC/R technicians traditionally began their careers as assistants and learned the trade through on-the-job training, it is more common these days to enroll in an apprenticeship or training program.

Apprenticeships include a specified number of hours of on-the-job training (2,000 hours) and classroom work (144 hours) annually for three to five years. The Texas Workforce Commission has compiled resources for workers and instructions for becoming a registered apprentice. Aspiring apprentices should first find an employer willing to train them. The employer should register with the Commission if they have not already done so. The Commission grants funding to registered programs, classroom instruction, and apprentices.

National industry associations also offer apprenticeship programs. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • 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 Irving, 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 main industry organizations evaluate and accredit HVAC programs. HVAC Excellence has awarded accreditation to Laredo College in Laredo, TX and the Lincoln College of Technology in Grand Prairie. The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) has accredited Vernon College, in Wichita Falls. Vernon College is included in the profiles below due to its accreditation, although attending would require Irving students to commute.

Dallas College

Dallas college offers HVAC programs at two campuses: Cedar Valley; and Eastfield.

The Cedar Valley campus program focuses on residential HVAC with the following:

  • Residential – Technician I certificate – 24 credits
  • Residential – Technician III Level II certificate – 48 credits
  • Residential HVAC degree – 60 credits

The technician I certificate curriculum includes basic electricity, air conditioning controls, HVAC/R principles, gas and electric heating, and heat pumps. The technician III certificate includes the same coursework, with the addition of air conditioning installation and startup, troubleshooting, systems design, and electives in communications and math.

Students in the degree program will complete the technical curriculum of the certificate programs, as well as special topics in HVAC mechanic repair or HVAC cooperative education. They also have additional general education electives in humanities, psychology, and others.

The Eastfield campus programs expand to commercial as well as residential. Students may complete the same certificate and degree programs as offered at Cedar Valley, or they may enroll in the HVAC/R degree program at Eastfield. The Eastfield technical program is the same, with the addition of commercial HVAC/R coursework.

Students also complete an HVAC/R practicum or HVAC/R cooperative education experience. They complete 60 credits of technical coursework and general education coursework to earn their degree.

  • Location: Lancaster, TX; Mesquite, TX
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Technician I certificate (two semesters); technician III certificate (three semesters); AAS (four semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: Technician I certificate ($1,896); technician III certificate ($3,792); AAS ($4,740)

Lincoln College of Technology

Lincoln Tech offers an HVAC technology diploma through both day and evening programs. The program prepares students to install, maintain, and repair essential HVAC/R equipment. Students are introduced to Green Technology concepts as they apply to HVAC systems. They are prepared to confidently enter this vibrant HVAC/R field. They also learn proper refrigerant recovery and recycling techniques and are encouraged to complete the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification testing.

Coursework is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on training in a lab. Comprising 44.5 credits, the curriculum includes the following coursework: 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
  • Expected Time to Completion: 47 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: $23,220

Lindsey-Cooper Refrigeration School

Lindsey-Cooper offers several HVAC/R programs during the daytime and evenings. Students can choose to attend full-time or part-time. They may also choose English or Spanish language classes. The coursework is presented in classroom lectures followed by hands-on practice in the lab.

Participants can expect to learn subjects such as 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)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two to 12 weeks, depending on the program chosen
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the program coordinator for a customized assessment

Remington College

Remington College offers an AAS degree program in HVAC and an HVAC diploma program. Providing students with practical training in HVAC equipment, these programs help them develop the skills and expertise needed for successfully maintaining and troubleshooting today’s complex HVAC/R systems. Graduates of these programs are prepared for entry-level employment in the HVAC industry.

The diploma consists of 59 credits, while the AAS degree is made up of 95 credits. All courses earned in the diploma can be counted towards the AAS degree program.

The coursework is divided equally between classroom lectures and hands-on training in fully-equipped labs. The curriculum 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 (ACCSC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Diploma (12 months); AAS (24 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Diploma ($22,987); AAS ($30,892)

Tarrant County College

TCC offers seven HVAC/R technology programs:

  • EPA recovery certification preparation and exam, non-credit industry education
  • Occupational skill award as an HVAC installer, 11 credits
  • HVAC residential technician I, Level 1 certificate, 23 credits
  • HVAC residential technician II, Level 1 certificate, 20 credits
  • HVAC commercial technician, Level 2 certificate, 51 credits
  • HVAC/R technology, residential, AAS degree, 60 credits
  • HVAC/R technology, commercial, AAS degree, 60 credits

The EPA course takes one day to complete. Students prepare for the exam, then spend the last two hours of the class taking the exam on computers. The cost is $125.

The HVAC installer occupational skills coursework includes technical calculations, the principles of refrigeration, and air conditioning installation and startup. The residential technician I certificate program adds basic and advanced electricity, mathematics, and residential air conditioning. The residential Technician II certificate program continues the curriculum with air conditioning controls, gas, and electric heating, heat pumps, systems design, and troubleshooting.

The commercial technician level 2 program builds on the coursework of the previous programs with the addition of the following: duct fabrication, commercial systems design, advanced controls, and commercial HVAC. Students complete a capstone course on commercial refrigeration, industrial air conditioning, or heat pumps to earn their certificate.

Students enrolled in the degree programs complete all the technical curriculum of the certificate programs, as well as a selection of general education courses that include communication, public speaking, federal or state government, and composition. They finish with a capstone course in air conditioning troubleshooting.

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificate (one to two years); AAS degrees (two years)
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident of Tarrant County ($64 per credit); resident of any other Texas county ($126 per credit); resident of another state ($305 per credit)

Tech Zone HVAC/R

TechZone offers HVAC/R training with classroom lectures on theory followed by hands-on practice in the lab. Classes are available during the daytime, evenings, and Saturdays. Students may attend full or part-time.

Coursework includes tools of the trade, basic HVAC/R cycles, electricity, heat pumps, wiring diagrams, gas and electric heating, and refrigerants. Graduates are prepared to take the EPA Section 608 exam.

  • Location: Irving, TX
  • Accreditation: Licensed by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Full-time (two weeks); part-time (ten weeks)
  • Estimated Tuition: Not disclosed on the website

Vernon College

Vernon College offers an HVAC occupational skills award program, an HVAC level I certificate program, and an HVAC associate in applied science (AAS) degree. Students learn through a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on training in the lab.

The award program includes instruction in basic electricity, the principles of air conditioning controls, and the principles of refrigeration. The program requires 12 credits to complete.

The curriculum for the certificate program continues with residential and commercial air conditioning, refrigeration, gas and electric heating, heat pumps, troubleshooting, and a technology/technician practicum. Students complete 36 credits to earn their certificate.

The degree program incorporates the above coursework, with the addition of general education required classes and electives that include composition, the federal government, mathematics, and public speaking, among others. Students complete 60 credis to earn their degrees.

  • Location: Wichita Falls, TX
  • Accreditation: PAHRA; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificate (nine months); AAS degree (two years)
  • Estimated Tuition: Wilbarger County residents ($100 per credit); Texas residents ($145 per credit)

HVAC Certification & Licensing in Irving, TX

Federal law mandates that technicians who work with refrigerants obtain Section 608 certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Certification requires passing an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. There are four types of certifications according to the systems on which technicians work:

  • Small appliances (Type I)
  • High-pressure appliances (Type II)
  • Low-pressure appliances (Type III)
  • All types of equipment (Universal)

Further information and practice exams are available online.

Technicians may obtain additional training and certifications from industry organizations, which also offer Section 608 testing and certification. These include:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES): Their mission is to provide opportunities for enhanced technical competence by offering comprehensive, cutting-edge education and certification to the HVAC/R industry.
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE): Their certification tests represent real-world working knowledge of HVAC/R systems.
  • HVAC Excellence: Their exams and certifications are intended to validate that an individual has retained knowledge in a specific area of the HVAC/R industry.

Details are available on their websites.

As a final note, HVAC technicians are required to register with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). Technicians must work under a licensed HVAC contractor and may not advertise their services. Applicants must complete a form and pay a fee of $20. The registration must be renewed annually.

Technicians may voluntarily choose to become state-certified technicians. Applicants must submit proof of 24 months of experience under a licensed HVAC contractor, proof of 2,000 hours of an approved training program, an application form, and a $50 fee. Once documents are approved, applicants must then pass an exam based on the type of certification required.

Certification types include:

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

Each exam requires a fee. Licenses are valid for one year.

Certified technicians may upgrade to a contractor’s license when the following conditions are met:

  • Have 48 months of practical experience under a licensed HVAC contractor within the past 72 months or have 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)
  • Submit a completed application form
  • Pay a $115 fee
  • Successfully pass an exam
  • Meet the 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. Endorsements for environmental air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and process heating or cooling may be added. Licenses must be renewed annually.

The City of Irving also requires HVAC contractors to register annually. Applicants must have their state license, complete an application, and pay the $125 fee.
As licensing requirements are always subject to change, HVAC technicians are encouraged to ensure they comply with the appropriate licensing agencies before working on any 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.