How to Become a Certified HVAC Tech in Texas

Texas is the 3rd highest state in the nation for HVAC employment.  Getting certified for HVAC will generate lots of earning opportunities.

Education & Training

Consider an online certification course, like the ones below, to get started.

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Get information on HVACR Certified Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Program Benefits

The goal of the course is prepare you for the three top certifications in the field:

HVAC Excellence Professional Exam

HVAC excellence logo

NATE Core and Specialty Test

NATE logo

EPA 608 certification exam

EPA logo

What Will You Study?

The curriculum is quite substantial.

  • Foundational Concepts of HVAC
  • Safety, Equipment & Best Practices
  • Controls
    • Automatic control components
    • DDCs (Direct Digital Controls)
    • Pneumatics
    • Troubleshooting
  • Electric Motors
  • Commercial Refrigeration
    • Evaporators
    • Condensers
    • Compressors
    • Expansion devices
    • Ice machines
    • Troubleshooting
  • Air-Conditioning (Heating and Humidification)
    • Heating types:
      • Electric heat
      • Gas heat
      • Oil heat
      • Hydronic heat
    • Indoor Air quality
    • Comfort
    • Psychometrics
    • Refrigeration applied to air-conditioning
    • Air distribution
    • Installation
    • Energy auditing
    • Troubleshooting
  • All-Weather Systems
    • Heat pumps
  • Residential Appliances
    • Refrigerators
    • Freezers
    • Air conditioners
  • Commercial Air Conditioning
    • High-pressure systems
    • Low-pressure systems
    • Cooling towers
  • On the Job Simulations
  • Soft Skills

How Long Does it Take?

Since its an online, open enrollment course, you to start at your convenience and progress at your own speed. You have 12 months to complete the 330 hour course, but some finish it in as little as 9 months.

What Does it Cost?

As little as $151 per month with financing, while the total cost is $3100.

Other Local Trade School Programs

    Austin Career Institute
    Austin Career Institute’s HVAC-R Technician Trade School offers a comprehensive program that covers the complexities of modern HVAC-R systems, preparing graduates for various certifications, including the TDLR Registered ACR Technician License and EPA License. The program provides hands-on training in installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of residential and commercial HVAC systems.

    • Austin


    FORTIS College
    Combines classroom instruction, lab work and career services to help students entry level positions.

    • Grand Prairie, Houston


    Houston Community College

    • Houston, Missouri City, Stafford


    Interactive College of Technology

    • Pasadena, Houston


    Lincoln Tech
    Learn from Master HVAC Educators in this hands on career training program. Morning and evening classes. HVAC Excellence Accreditation.

    • Grand Prairie


    Lone Star College
    2 year AAS degree in offers a comprehensive education, with credits from three certificate levels (Occupational Entry, Residential Servicing, and Commercial Servicing) applicable toward the degree. Equipped with industry-standard technology and experienced faculty, the program emphasizes hands-on experience in classrooms and labs, preparing students for various roles in the HVAC-R industry.

    • Houston


    North Central Texas College
    NCTC’s HVAC degree program, offered on both the Gainesville and Champions Circle campuses, prepares students for a career in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry with in-depth training using advanced equipment. Recognized by the Texas Department of License and Regulation (TDLR), the program includes courses on system setup, electrical systems, heat pump operation, and more. Students can earn a Basic Level 1 Certificate in one semester or a Level 1 Workforce Certificate in one year, both through a combination of online, hybrid, and in-person classes. The program also offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, designed to be completed in two years, covering comprehensive HVAC skills, including installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting. All courses emphasize hands-on training and prepare students for the EPA 608 exam.

    • Denton


    Remington College
    Remington College's HVAC Technician Diploma program offers comprehensive training with a focus on hands-on learning and certification preparation. The curriculum aligns with national skill standards for HVAC technicians and covers essential topics such as indoor air quality standards, evaporators, compressors, condensers, and expansion components. Graduates are prepared for Type I, II, III, and Universal EPA certification testing, enabling them to work on air conditioners and refrigeration systems under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act.

    • Forth Worth, Garland, Houston, Webster


    South Texas Vocational Technical Institute 
    South Texas Vocational Technical Institute’s HVAC Training Program prepares students for residential and commercial HVAC maintenance through classroom education and hands-on training. This program focuses on developing technical skills, teamwork, and worksite safety, highlighting the importance of HVAC technicians in maintaining comfortable and safe living and working environments. The 50-credit hour program spans 10 months and is available at the Brownsville, Corpus Christi, McAllen, and San Antonio campuses.

    • Arlington, San Antonio, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, McAllen


    Southern Careers Institute
    SCI’s HVAC training program equips students with the skills needed to work in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC) for residential and commercial properties. The program includes hands-on training with ventilation systems, piping, soldering, brazing, and control circuits, emphasizing safety and practical techniques. Students prepare for industry-recognized certification exams such as NCCER, EPA-608, Indoor Air Quality, and R410A, enhancing their job market competitiveness and earning potential. The program offers flexible scheduling with day and evening classes to fit different lifestyles. Additionally, SCI covers the cost for graduates to sit for the NCCER and EPA-608 exams if taken within three months of program completion.

    • Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, San Antonio, Waco


    Texas State Technical College
    The HVAC Technology program at TSTC provides comprehensive training across several campuses, including East Williamson County, Fort Bend County, and Harlingen. Students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree or various Certificate options through in-person and hybrid formats, including night classes.

    • Rosenberg, New Braunfels, Abilene, Hutto


    Tulsa Welding School
    Affordable, 7 month refrigeration technologies program.

    • Houston


    Universal Technical Institute
    7 month program that for entry-level careers in HVACR including certifications like NATE, R410a and OSHA.

    • Irving, Houston, Austin


    Vista College

    • El Paso, Killeen, Beaumont, College Station, Longview, Lubbock


    Wharton County Junior College
    The program at Wharton County Junior College (WCJC) offers comprehensive training in equipment installation, maintenance, diagnosis, and repair, using computer simulation to enhance diagnostic skills. Students can earn dual certifications in Entry Level Residential Air Conditioning & Electrical and Apprentice Level Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration, & Electrical.

    • Wharton, Richmond, Sugar Land, Bay City


Salary Survey

Below are some estimates for average salary in the state.

Salary by City or Area, per BLS

Area Hourly Annual
Abilene $22.37 $46,540.00
Amarillo $23.64 $49,180.00
Austin-Round Rock $26.92 $55,980.00
Beaumont-Port Arthur $24.33 $50,600.00
Big Thicket $23.28 $48,430.00
Border Region $22.08 $45,920.00
Brownsville-Harlingen $20.20 $42,010.00
Coastal Plains $24.00 $49,920.00
College Station-Bryan $24.51 $50,970.00
Corpus Christi $24.89 $51,770.00
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington $27.83 $57,890.00
El Paso $20.38 $42,390.00
Hill Country $22.17 $46,120.00
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land $28.01 $58,250.00
Killeen-Temple $22.86 $47,540.00
Laredo $21.23 $44,160.00
Longview $22.97 $47,770.00
Lubbock $24.13 $50,180.00
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission $21.82 $45,390.00
Midland $27.91 $58,050.00
North Texas $23.33 $48,520.00
Odessa $25.79 $53,640.00
San Angelo $23.34 $48,540.00
San Antonio-New Braunfels $25.05 $52,110.00
Sherman-Denison $23.50 $48,880.00
Texarkana $23.76 $49,420.00
Tyler $26.02 $54,120.00
Victoria $22.94 $47,720.00
Waco $23.71 $49,310.00
West Texas $23.12 $48,100.00
Wichita Falls $21.69 $45,120.00

Occupation: Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (SOC Code499021)
source: data.bls.gov

TX HVAC salary by level

TX HVAC salary progression per ZipRecruiter

Texas Requirements

License

Texas Department of Licensing and RegulationHeating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are required to be licensed in Texas.

To get a license in the state of Texas, applicants must be 18 years of age, register with the state of Texas as a technician working for a contractor, and get work experience under a licensed contractor.

To obtain an HVAC license in Texas, visit Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) issues two types of licenses:

  • Class A: the Class A license lets you work on any size HVAC equipment.
  • Class B: the Class B license limits you to 25 tons of cooling and 1.5 million BTU of heating.

Endorsement Exams

For either the Class A or Class B license, you also need an endorsement for environmental air conditioning, commercial refrigeration and process cooling and heating, or both.

You will need to pass an exam for each type of endorsement. To sit for an examination you need at least 3 years of practical work experience within the preceding 5 years.

If you have a degree in air conditioning engineering, refrigeration engineering, or mechanical engineering from a Department-approved school, you can use it for up to 2 years of the work experience requirement. Exams are administered by PSI Exams.

For complete information on registering for the exams, visit the Texas Department of Licensing at Regulation HVAC Candidate Information Bulletin.

What’s on the Exam?

As per the Board of Licensing, the contents of these tests require extensive knowledge of electrical codes with regard to HVAC specifically which candidates may obtain through completion of an apprenticeship program OR 2 to 5 years of paid experience.

For those with required coursework but less than the required three of experience, the industry has developed a series of exams to evaluate competency in basic residential and commercial heating and cooling, as well as commercial refrigeration.

These exams are considered “entry-level” exams and are often administered at both secondary and postsecondary vocational and trade schools.

Certification Requirements

To get an HVAC certification in Texas, applicants must first complete 24 months of work under a licensed contractor. HVAC techs can then become a certified ACR technician by completing a 2,000-hour program.

In addition, all HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants must be certified in their proper handling. To become certified, technicians must pass a written examination specific to the type of work they perform.

The three areas of certification are:

  1. Type I for those servicing small appliances
  2. Type II for high pressure refrigerants
  3. Type III for low-pressure refrigerants.

Exams are administered by an organization approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, such as vocational schools, contractor associations, and unions. The TACC offers study guides for these exams.

Apprenticeships

There are three agencies that set standards for the accreditation of HVAC training programs:

Some HVAC technicians gain training through apprenticeships run by joint committees representing Texas chapters of the following:

Refer to each of the Web sites for further details on admission, and training program content.

Formal apprenticeship programs last from 3 to 5 years and combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction.

Coursework is the same as offered in vocational and community college programs. Further details regarding admission and program content may be found on each of the websites listed above.

Educational Requirements for Apprenticeships

In general, applicants for all apprenticeships must have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED). Strong math and reading skills are essential.

Students in traditional HVAC programs and apprenticeship programs also learn about legislative issues and regulations that govern the use of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Benefits of Apprenticeship

Both formal vocational training and participation in apprenticeship programs are equally valid methods of beginning a career as a HVAC Technician.  After successful completion of an apprentice program, HVAC technicians are considered skilled tradespersons able to work independently.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a small growth in jobs for HVAC technicians. Experts believe there will be a five percent increase in jobs for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers from 2021-2031, which is in line with the national average.

Thousands of new HVAC jobs in Texas will likely be available during this time due to individuals leaving the workforce or retiring from the field.

Search HVACR Certified Technician Programs

Get information on HVACR Certified Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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