How to Become an HVAC Technician in Colorado
Looking for a skilled trade career in Colorado? Demand is high for HVAC technicians. These are the professionals who install and take care of heating, cooling and ventilation systems in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. With just a little bit of training and education you can qualify to work in HVAC in one of the state’s municipalities. [Leer en español]
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Colorado
Colorado does not have any statewide requirements for working in HVAC. Many cities, counties and municipalities do have their own requirements and licensing, though, so it is important to find out what those are in the area you hope to work. In general, you will need to show that you have some work experience, usually in the position of apprentice or assistant learning on the job. Many employers also prefer to hire workers who have completed some amount of classwork in HVAC topics.
HVAC Programs in Colorado
One way to get started on an HVAC career in Colorado is to earn a certificate or two-year associate’s degree. This will get your foot in the door and make it easier to find an apprenticeship or entry-level job you’ll need for work experience and licensing. HVAC academic programs may be accredited by HVAC Excellence or the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).
- Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak offers one associate’s degree program, which takes two years to complete. This is designed to prepare students to begin a career in HVAC and is accredited by HVAC Excellence. The school also has three certificate programs in residential HVAC, digital controls and industry upgrades.
- IntelliTec College, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction. Also accredited by HVAC Excellence, IntelliTec offers a two-year degree in HVAC and refrigeration. This program prepares students for entry-level careers in heating, cooling and refrigeration and for apprenticeships.
- Front Range Community College, Loveland. At the Loveland campus of Front Range, students can earn a two-year degree in HVAC. The program is accredited by PAHRA and prepares students to begin working in the industry. The school also offers certificates in residential AC and heating, light commercial AC and heating, commercial refrigeration and HVAC fundamentals.
Certification and Licensing for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Colorado
Colorado does not have any requirements for HVAC technician licensing. If you are planning to work in the state, you will need to find out what licensing is needed where you hope to be hired. Here are some examples from some of the largest population centers in Colorado:
- Denver. To be licensed in the city, you must complete an application with the Denver Community Planning and Development board. To be a licensed journeyman, you need four years of HVAC work experience. Supervisor licensing requires eight years of experience. You can also get licensed to work only on residential HVAC or only refrigerant, each of which requires two to four years of experience.
- Fort Collins. The Fort Collins Contractor Licensing Department offers licensing for HVAC technicians. Requirements include two years of experience on the job, proof of at least three projects and a passing score on the ICC National Standard Master Mechanical Exam.
- Pikes Peak. The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department provides licenses for workers in Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and El Paso County. You can become licensed as an HVAC service technician, a residential contractor or a commercial contractor. Each license requires passing an appropriate exam. Contractors must have liability insurance.
Any HVAC worker handling refrigerant materials must have Environmental Protection Agency Section 608 certification as required by the Clean Air Act. This applies everywhere in the U.S., regardless of local or state requirements. To achieve the certification you must pass an examination.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The job outlook for HVAC professionals is very positive and should continue to be good for years to come. New construction in Colorado and an ongoing need for maintenance and technical updates will mean that qualified HVAC workers will be needed for a long time. The country-wide growth in this industry is an impressive 15 percent. HVAC workers in Colorado earn on average $57,070 per year, which is much higher than the national average of $47,080.
Working as an HVAC Technician in Colorado
The greatest number of job opportunities for HVAC technicians in Colorado will be found in population centers, including Denver, Fort Collins and the Pikes Peak region. You can expect to enjoy good job stability in these areas.
Most workers are hired by contracting companies, but with a few years on the job you may qualify to become a contractor and own a small business employing others. A career as an HVAC technician is a lucrative, challenging and rewarding one, and it only takes a couple of years to get there.