With average temperatures in Arizona during the spring and summer months topping 90 degrees, air conditioning is in high demand. Also in high demand are well-qualified air conditioner technicians.
To become a qualified HVAC technician, you need a proper education. Being in Arizona gives you a great opportunity to learn from the best. This article will identify the best HVAC schools in Arizona to help you pick which one you should attend.
HVAC Certification Requirements in Arizona
HVAC certification is something that every person in Arizona with the desire can accomplish. There are several quality HVAC schools in Phoenix, Tuscon and Tempe.
The first step is to acquire a high school diploma. From there, as you will see below, the steps to certification vary. You can also attend schools in other Arizona cities, like Yuma, Kingman, and Glendale, all of which have great HVAC schools.
While attending the schools, you will learn HVAC systems, how they operate, and how to diagnose or repair the systems. The requirements for Arizona are a high school diploma and formal training, such as school or an apprenticeship.
From there, you can start your career with an HVAC company that wants to hire you. You can better your chances by going through the school, such as one in Mesa.
The graduation tells employers that you have been through proper training. While apprenticeships are equally valuable, they are more difficult to confirm and are less rigorous than a proper school. In some cases, an apprenticeship will follow a school curriculum before you can officially graduate.
How To Become An HVAC Technician
Becoming an HVAC technician in Arizona isn’t a difficult process, but it can be a tedious one. However, with the tools, specialties, and sensitivities of the systems, education is essential.
There are several steps to the final certification, which I outline for you below.
Earning a High School Diploma/GED
The first step is to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. This also makes it a near requirement to be 18 years old or older. While this isn’t a definite requirement in Arizona, it is understood.
Some schools may have a minimum age requirement for enrollment, so if you are under 18 and have your high school diploma, double-check enrollment requirements of your chosen school.
Complete an Accredited HVAC Program
Like most higher education pursuits after high school, HVAC trade schools should be vetted and accredited. The accreditation means they have followed their regulations to have a registration that they meet or exceed standards of quality.
Once you have enrolled, you will progress through the process and school, though the length will vary from institution to institution. Some schools can take as little as 4 months while others may take 2 years to complete.
Complete Apprenticeship/Hands-on Training
Once you complete school, you have the option to further your education by embarking on hands-on training or apprenticeship. While it isn’t required in Arizona, it is a better option for those looking to get hired at a higher level firm.
You can get an apprenticeship or extra training from several sources. The most common avenues are to ask your school personnel for a list of companies that offer apprenticeships. The other common option is to talk to known technicians and ask to tag along on various jobs.
Usually, the company you wish to work for is the first company to talk to about an apprenticeship.
Achieve Professional Certification
Once you have your schooling and hands-on training, you will need to be certified not only in HVAC but the professional EPA certification.
The EPA certification is done through a three part exam. Each part correlates to a separate understanding of refrigerants. If you pass all three sections, you will obtain the EPA 608 Universal certification.
The various stages allow you to use, purchase, carry, and dispose of refrigerants for small appliances, high-pressure refrigerants, and low-pressure refrigerants (the three stages, respectfully).
Once you have your HVAC certification from an accredited school and the EPA certification, you are ready to begin your HVAC technician career.
Quick Guide in Choosing Your HVAC School
Choosing the right school can take a bit of research (keep reading this article!) as well as understanding what it is you hope to get from the journey. One of the first things to consider is how close the school is to you. It will be more challenging to attend the further the campus is from your home.
You will also want to think about the quality of the education you will receive from the school. Part of this is, of course, checking that the school is accredited. Another good thing to check on is if the school offers apprenticeships or puts you in touch with hands-on training opportunities.
There are other factors to consider too. Besides learning HVAC systems and how to repair or install them, there are other facets of the career choice. Customer service, for example, is a large part of the process. Having a course on customer relations and retention is only more valuable.
13 Best HVAC Schools in Arizona
If you reside in Arizona and wish to pursue a career in HVAC, the following schools, sorted by region, are among the best you will find.
1. The Refrigeration School, Inc.
4210 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Best Choice For: Quick study for entry level positions
RSI is easily one of the top HVAC schools in Phoenix. The 6-month course is one of the shortest in the state but also one of the most advanced.
They offer day and night classes to fit your schedule, and the instructors actually care about your progress.
The course is designed to prepare you for an entry-level position in the HVAC career with both hands-on training and real-world application. They cover high pressure, low pressure, and retail/commercial as well as residential HVAC repair and installation.
Scholarships and financial aid are available. When you have graduated, your credits will transfer to Phoenix University, and they offer job placement assistance.
2. National Technical Institute HVAC Training AZ
3660 E Wier Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85040
Best Choice For: Fast-tracking to a new career
If you are looking for the fastest way to an HVAC career, look no further than NTI.
Not only do they offer day or night classes, but they also have a fast track program that will have you certified in three months.
If that isn’t enough, you can also complete the classroom sections online and go to the hands-on labs once a week.
One of the best hands-on HVAC schools in Phoenix, AZ gives you plenty of options, financial assistance, and a course curriculum that teaches you all the primary repair and installation information you need to enter the HVAC industry.
3. Vocational Training Institute
2101 W Alice Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85021
Best Choice For: Post-graduate job placement opportunities
The Vocational Training Institute is one of the Phoenix area schools that dedicates the majority of its HVAC training with hands-on work.
The instructors don’t follow a lecture program and instead take you into the lab or in the field to teach you about the latest tools, techniques and systems.
The school offers a few different programs to fit your schedule and has financial assistance to those that qualify. If you are on the fence about the ability to get a job after graduation, VTI offers lifetime job placement assistance to all graduates.
4. UEI College
9215 N. Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix, AZ, 85021
Best Choice For: A more personal and passionate learning environment
UEI is a trade school in Phoenix that offers many programs. The HVAC technician course can be completed in as little as 10 months, offering a more personal experience.
With an average of only 25 students per instructor, you get a better hands-on instruction in a smaller class size designed to help you succeed.
By graduation, you will know the HVAC tools, how to use them, and understand the process of installation, diagnosis, and repair of the top-rated HVAC systems on the market. They also help you get certified in EPA 608 as well as EPA R410-a Universal.
5. Gateway Community College
108 North 40th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034 (Plus 5 other locations)
Best Choice For: Campus location selection
Gateway Community College has one of the most state-of-the-art institutions for learning advanced HVAC systems.
Not only are the fees affordable, but there are three certification programs available, including an associate’s degree course. It is arguably the best Phoenix, AZ community college with HVAC training programs.
The best thing about GCC is that they are close. There are 6 campuses to choose from, including one in nearby Avondale.
No matter where you are in Phoenix, there is a GCC nearby. With financial assistance, lectures, hands-on and real-world applications, it is one of the most complete courses available.
6. Carrington College
2149 W Dunlap Ave, Ste 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021
Best Choice For: HVAC associates degree course in Phoenix
Designed with an intuitive, hands-on instruction, Carrington College is among the leaders in HVAC/R instruction in Phoenix, AZ.
They have a few different completion programs, including a certification program as well as an associate’s degree course. Both are fast-tracked, allowing you to graduate in 10 or 15 months (respectively).
The college doesn’t just teach you to repair and install, but instead also focuses on HVAC theory. This enables you to spot other diagnostic issues and better prepare for variables in the industry. With Carrington, you get one of the most complete courses available.
7. PIMA Community College
4905 E. Broadway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85709-1010
Best Choice For: Campus-based learning in Tuscon
The best HVAC school in Tucson, AZ might just be PIMA. While the college has a lot of degree programs, the HVAC course isn’t one of them.
Instead, this is a certification program designed to get you prepped for a career in the industry. You are armed with intensive education in diagnostics and principles in every aspect of HVAC.
The 33 credit course has a lot of carryovers if you want to get your associate’s degree, but this isn’t required. Job placement assistance is available, as well as financial aid, if you qualify.
8. Sonoran Learning Center
P.O. BOX 91302 Tucson, AZ 85742 US
Best Choice For: Online based studies and certifications
If you are looking for the basics of HVAC or want a more advanced option to further your career, Sonoran Learning Center has you covered.
This is the best online HVAC school with 7 different HVAC courses. Most courses are designed for a 12-month completion, though a few specialty courses are 6-months long.
You can learn everything you need to know to get started in the HVAC field. However, if you are already employed and are looking to stay updated or improve your knowledge for career advancement, the specialty classes are for you. Each one is designed to make you better and help you advance.
9. East Valley Institute of Technology
1601 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201
Best Choice For: High school students looking to start an HVAC career
The best refrigeration school in Mesa, AZ title goes to East Valley Institute of Technology.
While they offer a host of courses in several disciplines, their HVAC training program is top-notch. The best part is that EVIT offers standard trade courses designed to prepare you for certification, but they also offer a day-time high school course.
The day-time course is for high school students looking to get a jump start on their careers. You must be dual-enrolled and meet the minimum requirements for your high school (1 math credit, 1 English credit, and on track for graduation).
10. Remington College
Best Choice For: Online certification with or without a high school diploma
Remington College offers an HVAC program through its online portal, which you can access from home or through the campus in Tempe, AZ.
The online course covers all certification requirements and gets you prepped for an HVAC career anywhere in Arizona.
One of the stand out features of Remington College is that they offer programs that assist those without a high school diploma. Financial assistance and job placement are also available.
11. Arizona Automotive Institute
6829 N 46th Ave Glendale, AZ 85301
Best Choice For: Fully accredited HVAC training
When you think about automotive repair, HVAC isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. That is exactly what makes Arizona Automotive Institute one of the best HVAC hidden gems in the state.
While they are not the first school searched for in the Glendale area, they are among the best HVAC accredited vocational schools in AZ.
A full course devoted to HVAC/R, the tools, diagnostics, and repair of systems and learning how to install new systems.
The classes are not as expensive as some of the other Arizona options, yet remain one of the most thorough. Certification, job placement, and financial aid are available.
12. Mohave Community College
1971 Jagerson Ave. Kingman, AZ 86409
Best Choice For: Personalized HVAC training
In the Kingman area, there is only one choice for proper HVAC training.
Mohave Community College has the best local HVAC training there is. With a full certification in Residential HVAC as well as commercial refrigeration, you can’t go wrong.
Of course, they are accredited and offer financial support, but the real treasure is in the instructors and courses.
Each one is there to assist you in learning your way through hands-on training, lectures, and lab work. If you are ready to jump-start your HVAC career near Kingman, AZ, this is where to enroll.
13. Arizona Western College
2020 S Ave 8 E, Yuma, AZ 85365
Best Choice For: Job placement opportunities statewide
If you are going to learn a trade, you may as well learn from the best trade school in AZ.
Arizona Western College, located in Yuma, AZ, has one of the best HVAC courses available anywhere in the state.
AWC is also one of the few that caters its HVAC certification courses to the National Center for Construction Education Research standardized national skills standards.
This means you get a full, working education that thoroughly prepares you for an entry-level position right out of school.
HVAC Training School Costs in Arizona
The cost of HVAC schooling in Arizona has a large gap. The costs will vary greatly depending on whether you are attending a trade school or pursuing a degree from a college or university.
On average, you can expect to pay about $8,000 to $10,000 for a trade school. For those attending a college, the cost will depend on residential status, semester credit load, and which degree you are after. For these, in Arizona, the price can extend up to $32,000 or more.
Is HVAC a Good Career Choice in Arizona?
Let’s face it, we get into the HVAC field because it is interesting, but it is also rewarding. In Arizona, HVAC is a high demand, high wage position. From entry-level to experienced techs, the job market is fair, open, and growing.
Arizona Entry Level HVAC Salary
The pay is also better than decent. In Arizona, the average income for entry-level technicians, properly trained at an accredited school, is between $37,000 and $39,000 per year. This is slightly lower than the entire U.S. average, but not by much.
Arizona HVAC Tech Salary
The salary has a fairly wide range for experienced technicians, installers, and HVAC/R managers. According to O-Net Online, you can expect to see wages average $45,280 per year. The high end of this spectrum reaches about $68,000 per year.
Return of Investment
HVAC also has other rewards that may not be as immediately tangible. This can include leading your career path to a different sector. For example, it isn’t unheard of to move from a residential installer to a contractor to an aerospace technician.
Where you want your HVAC career to go is only limited by your desires and imagination.
Demand for HVAC Jobs in Arizona
HVAC is a great career choice. Not only do you get to work with your hands and experience a host of different environments, but you also get to play with some of the coolest tech and gadgets of any industry.
Aside from that, it is a safe career. HVAC is only going to get more advanced, and technicians will be in demand. Currently, the U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics sees HVAC as a 13% growth industry. This is much higher than the average jobs in the U.S.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How do I get an HVAC job in Arizona?
Before you can apply for an HVAC job in Arizona, you first need to be EPA certified. The EPA certification may be a part of the course if you attend an HVAC trade school or a degree program through an Arizona college. Once you have your EPA certification, you can begin applying. However, it is better if you also have your HVAC certification and some hands-on experience as well.
Can I get an HVAC certification license online?
There are accredited (and non-accredited) online schools offering HVAC certifications and licenses. However, for the certification and EPA certification process to be completed, you will need to take the exams in a proctored environment (in person). After your online course is completed, you will be able to find proctored exam sites to attend.
Are there HVAC apprenticeships in Arizona?
There are a lot of HVAC apprenticeships available in Arizona, from Yuma to Flagstaff; companies are looking to take on apprentices, which then turn into permanent employees. These opportunities are given to HVAC school graduates first, but anyone can apply (EPA certification required along the way). Whether the apprenticeship is paid or not is dependent on location and hiring company.
Can I get into HVAC with no experience?
While it is a more difficult road, there are opportunities to get into an HVAC career without formal training or education. One of the fastest methods of doing so is to acquire a job where HVAC is only a part of the duties, such as maintenance. These types of jobs will usually help you get the required certifications to perform the basic responsibilities, and your experience can grow from there.
How long does it take to get a degree in HVAC?
The average HVAC degree is a 2-year associate’s program. Bachelor’s degrees are available, which can take up to 4 years to complete.
When is online HVAC programs advisable?
Online programs are not the greatest as there is little to no hands-on experience or lab work to test and learn equipment and diagnostics. However, if you aren’t close to a campus, or have something that prevents you from traveling, an online program may be the best option for you. You will still need to attend the certification exams in person, though.
What is the highest HVAC degree?
A bachelor’s degree (B.A., B.S.) is the highest degree available in the HVACR field. The B.A. is more rare, but also more thorough. Generally, those looking to be HVAC technicians will stop at the associate’s degree (AAS) after 2-years and enter the workforce from there.
If you are living in Arizona and wish to pursue a career in HVAC, you are in luck. Some of the most comprehensive and thorough training centers are located in the state. While it can be difficult to choose the right one, hopefully, this article gave you some direction.
Whether you choose a 9 – 12 month trade school or seek a 2 or 4-year degree, Arizona is ripe with options.