- HVAC/R: Training in Texas
- HVAC Training Schools in Texas
- HVAC Certification and Licensing
HVAC/R: Training in Texas
Across Texas, demand for HVAC technicians has never been higher. That’s true for HVAC worker salary too. This is a great time to launch your career by attending one of the accredited HVAC schools in TX!
And the Pick HVAC School Search tool is the fastest way to find top HVAC schools in TX – or anywhere in the country. Add your zip code and check out accredited HVAC schools near you.
HVAC and HVAC/R – What Do they Mean?
HVAC or HVAC/R stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. Technicians are earning a great salary wherever they’re employed. In Texas there are a number of schools that offer HVAC/R training. Information regarding HVAC schools and career in Texas is summarized in the following sections.
Demand for HVAC Technicians in Texas
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas is the third largest employer of HVAC/R workers in the nation. If you're in TX right now, it would be a great time to look into a career in HVAC/R. It'd be challenging, rewarding, and stable. A career in HVAC can provide an opportunity to further your education as you gain experiences. The experiences you gain will help you decide if additional training would serve you well. Late in this article you’ll read about NATE and Universal certification. Two options for further qualifications.
People who pursue a career in HVAC/R should prepare to work in both residential and commercial buildings. New technicians will have the option to work mainly in residential environments or mainly the commercial environment. Either way they should expect to gain experience in both settings to keep from limiting themselves.
New technician’s will decide if their skills align with repairing or installing in the HVAC industry. Both types of work are rewarding and pay at a similar rate. This decision comes down to preference. If you enjoy the idea of building something new, installing might be better for you. If you enjoy problem solving, repairing may suit you better. Chances are you’ll gain experience in both repairing and installing. Typically HVAC companies specialize in one or the other.
While attending an HVAC/R school, you’ll be able to decide whether a commercial or residential work environment would best suit you. There are a few different options for gaining an HVAC certification and licensing, they will be covered in a later section. Remember it’s important to think about your career goals before settling on a school or training center. HVAC jobs are very competitive. Having a degree may help you end up where you want to be. One thing is for sure – make sure you choose one of the accredited HVAC schools around. Accreditation is something employers expect when hiring.
HVAC Training Schools in Texas
Finding an HVAC/R school starts by searching for schools or training centers in your area using the Pick HVAC search tool. When you sign up for a training program you’ll be responsible for transporting yourself there and back. Try to choose one in near proximity. In the state of Texas there are more than 50 accredited schools and training centers. The list can be found on ONET under credentials.
High Demand for HVAC/R Techs in TX
Texas is a massive state, the largest out of the 48 contiguous states. Not only is it a large state physically, also the 2nd most populated. Over the last year the population surpassed the 29 million mark. What this means for HVAC technicians is that they will have work in the state of Texas for the foreseeable future.
In places like Austin TX there is a push for renewable energy sources and energy efficient buildings. There is a high demand for updating old systems with advanced climate control technology. If you choose to get an HVAC degree energy audits and green building information will be included in your course work, making you even more marketable.
Becoming an HVAC/R Tech in TX
The process of becoming an HVAC Tech starts with having a high school degree or obtaining a GED. Search the internet for ways to earn your GED online to move at an accelerated rate.
After you’ve obtained a GED or high school degree, you can apply or sign up for the school of your choice. If you decide a degree is the only way to your desired HVAC career, apply to a college. Make sure you fill out financial aid after being accepted. There are a few different routes to go, getting a degree or certified by an accredited school is essential.
Some places you can become HVAC certified are universities, community colleges, trade schools, and online. Each way has it’s pros and con choose the route that will make you competitive in the HVAC career you want.
HVAC Tech Salary in Texas
The HVAC worker salary – i.e., HVAC tech salary – varies based on your level of education. Additional certification and further education will increase your earning potential. The current average for HVAC technicians in Texas is $45k equals approximately $22.00 per hour. Often HVAC careers will include health benefits, matched 401(k), paid time off, and overtime making the salary even more attractive. When applying, ask about the company's benefit packages.
What level of Education Do you Need?
There are a few different ways to become HVAC certified. An apprenticeship will take about two years of working on the job. For a quicker entry to a career, consider studying at an HVAC training center. Getting a degree in HVAC can take two years or a full 4 years. Depending on if it's a bachelor’s or an associates degree.
A major benefit of getting an apprenticeship is getting paid to learn. More times than not an apprenticeship will lead you to a full time job. This makes for an easy transition from student to worker.
There are benefits of going through a training center. It doesn’t take as long as an apprenticeship or getting a degree. At training centers there are often instructors that have connections to an HVAC business or still have an HVAC career.
Having a degree in HVAC is a benefit on its own. Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration is a competitive industry. A degree guarantees you will be able to compete for any entry level position. It also means you’ll have a good chance at being promoted to manager after gaining some experience.
HVAC Degree from Accredited School
Studying at an accredited school is important. Accreditation is earned when a school is reviewed by an outside organization. The point of being reviewed is to determine whether the program is able to meet the educational standards to prepare students for the industry. An accredited school has the resources and ability to teach students how to be proficient in HVAC. Accredited schools teach the fundamentals of HVAC, government regulations on climate control and about being a quality service provider. To be accredited, a school is prepared to teach you what there is to know about HVAC/R.
Notable accreditation organizations are Partners for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence. The role of these organizations is to confirm that students are getting quality training imperative to having a career in HVAC.
Try our search Tool for Accredited Schools!
An associates degree will allow you to spend time learning the fundamentals of HVAC before starting your career. Topics covered in an associate's program are the basics of residential heating, cooling, and ventilation, including how-to install, repair and maintain the system and installing refrigeration into commercial buildings. Associates degrees will touch on energy efficiency, air flow and air quality. An associate’s degree gives you the knowledge to be competitive in most markets.
If education is important to you, a bachelor’s degree can offer a more holistic view of the HVAC industry. Eventually it can lead you to a masters degree. A bachelor’s if a step up from an associate’s and will increase your earning potential. The degree plan will cover maintaining, repairing, and installing HVAC systems similar to an associate’s. Additionally, you will learn about writing contracts, energy audits, building envelopes and managing a business.
What Does it Cost to Attend an HVAC School?
Attending an HVAC school in Texas is an investment in your future and an opportunity to earn a great salary.
The cost of attending an HVAC training center or training school can be relatively low compared to a university. Typically, it costs between $1,000 - $6,200 and the median is closer to the upper end. That's a small price to pay for a job that offers stability, promotions, further education, and benefits.
To earn an associate’s degree the cost is doubled but the wage you’ll earn is increased as well. You’ll have about 12 to 15 months of extra training when you enter the workforce. For a two year associate’s you can expect to pay between $16,500 - $37,000 including class materials. With an associate’s your chances of earning at the upper level of the median are higher. This means an associate’s degree pays for itself in 2 to 4 years.
Further education such as a bachelor’s degree will cost much more than an associates. It shows your employers that you can handle learning difficult material and says that you have the ability to lead. There are a lot of different options for scholarships, grants, and financial aid when earning a degree from a four year school. The per year cost ranges from $15,000 - $30,000. You’ll have to consider living expenses and other costs associated with going to school full time. Like an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s further increases your earning potential.
Deciding an HVAC School in TX
When deciding where to study HVAC, you’ve got to weigh your options. Some people list all the pro’s and con’s. Others base their decision on one or two of the most important factors. Some points to consider when making your decision:
- What distance will you have to travel getting to and from class? How often will you be traveling there?
- Is the school’s HVAC program accredited? Better chances of quality instructors with an accredited school.
- Will studying online work for you? Be honest with yourself.
- How long will it take for you to complete the program? Are there ways to speed up the process? Are summer classes offered for your program? Does the program go all year long?
- Does the school or training center pay for your certification test? Are there any other certifications offered as a part of the program?
- Do you know anyone that’s attending? They could offer helpful insights and answer questions.
- Are there scholarships or grants available?
- Does the program include the material you want to learn?
- What are the schools you want to attend? Why do they appeal to you?
Benefits of an HVAC Degree
There’s a range of benefits for earning a degree in HVAC/R. First, Job security - This comes from having a higher level of education than those with a similar amount of experience. Second, Education - Having a degree means you studied the industry in depth. Having a well-rounded education helps you diagnose and solve problems on the job. Third, Salary - Earning a higher salary is good for everyone.
Other than the explicit benefits there are some internal benefits that come from earning a degree. Having Confidence in yourself can come from studying for years. Confidence appeals to employers. Choice of an employer becomes a decision rather than searching for a job. Instead of taking the first job you’re offered, you’ll be able to shop around for the best position. Knowing your skills and level of education are in high demand.
By having a degree you are more likely to pursue further education. Employers are more likely to send you back to school for further learning/ training as well. This helps you progress in the industry. Being promoted to manager and business owner if you so choose.
Material Cover at an HVAC School?
What will you be taught in an HVAC school?
Well, most HVAC training centers and schools focus on preparing you for the certification exam. This helps you fast track to an HVAC career.
Material will include working in both Residential and Commercial buildings on:
- HVAC systems - Heating, Air, Conditioning, Ventilation and Refrigeration, Humidity control and more.
- System installation and Set - up
- System Repair and Maintenance
- Fundamentals of Refrigerants
- Energy Audits and Green Systems
HVAC Certification and Licensing
Both Licenses and certificates will allow you to start a career in HVAC/R. There are some differences between licenses and certificates. Certificates cover a certain area of the industry such as small appliances or high pressure systems. Licenses are government issued documents that qualify you to work as an HVAC Technician.
Both show that you’re a knowledgeable service provider.
Certificates are separated into three types, each has a group systems you can service:
- EPA Type I Certification | Includes small appliances, vending machines, domestic refrigerators
- EPA Type II Certification | Includes high pressure systems, residential air conditioning and refrigeration units, heat pumps
- EPA Type III Certification | Includes low pressure systems and chillers
There are a lot of other certifications you can earn. One additional certification is:
Universal EPA Certification | Includes all that is covered in EPA Type I - III Certifications
The exam includes questions from all three Types and a subcategory specific to Universal Certification. Certifications last two years and to renew your certification you have to apply.
Best of the Best - NATE Certifications
After being certified and gaining experience, you'll have ways to continue pursuing education as an HVAC Technician in TX.
NATE certification will increase your credibility as a service provider and improve your marketability as an employee.
NATE is an acronym for North American Technical Excellence. It’s a large non-profit organization dedicated to training heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technicians.
The first step to achieving NATE Certification is passing the Core exam. NATE exams are based on Knowledge Areas of Technical Expertise known as KATE. After you pass the Core exam you probably won’t have to take it again for recertification.
After you’ve passed the Core exam you’ll be able to take a specialty exam and complete your NATE certification.
Examples of Specialty Exams:
- Air Conditioning Installment
- Air Distribution Installment
- Air to Air Heat Pump Installment
- Gas Heat (Air) Installment
Other NATE Certification Concentrations:
- Ready to Work Certification
- HVAC Support Technician
- Senior Level Efficiency Analyst HVAC Certification and Licensing
Once you complete NATE Certification, your certificate is valid for five years. After the five year mark technicians must undergo 60 hours of continuing education and retake the exam. Here’s a page on NATE certification.
Professional HVAC Organizations
There are numerous professional organizations in the HVAC industry. Many professional organizations are involved in educating and training employees, serve as a forum for HVAC related discussions, and share the latest research in HVAC. In your career it would be to your advantage to join a professional organization, attend meetings and keep up with the newsletters.
Here are few of the influential professional organizations in the industry:
- American Society of Safe Engineers
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America
- Associated General Contractors of America
- The American Institute of Architects
- American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers
- Department of Energy
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This is just a few of the many professional organizations operating in the US. Most of these organizations have a branch in Texas. By joining and being active in a professional organization, you’ll be committed to staying up-to-date on the latest energy and HVAC developments. Here’s a link to learn more about these organizations.
This is a site that can be used to learn about any occupation. Information ranges from salary data by state to occupational definitions. You can also find material on technical skill and general knowledge of the job. The long name for this site is Occupational Information Network.
On the Occupational Information Network you can learn about job openings in your area. The advantage to using this site is you won't have to search the web for all the statistics associated with your job. It’s a credible source of information and will provide you with opportunities available in your area.
Here’s a link the HVAC page on ONET .