How to Become an HVAC Technician in Michigan

HVAC technicians are skilled professionals who install, maintain and fix heating, ventilation and refrigeration systems in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. HVAC tech duties include installing systems, components and wiring, cleaning HVAC systems, making inspections, diagnosing and fixing problems, and communicating with and educating customers. Working in HVAC in Michigan is a great career option for people looking for a stable job and a good income. [Leer en español]

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Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Michigan

To work fully as an HVAC tech in Michigan you must be licensed through the state. Eligibility for licensing includes three years of work experience, but there are no specific education or apprenticeship requirements. To get that work experience, you may choose to begin as an entry-level assistant with an experienced HVAC technician or apply for an apprenticeship.

Topics in skilled trades HVAC programs might include:

  • Home heating systems
  • Air conditioning systems
  • Sheet metal fabrication
  • Refrigeration
  • Electrical wiring

The state does not require any post-secondary education for HVAC workers, but employers may. A good way to start a career in HVAC is to earn a diploma, certificate or two-year degree from a community college or technical school. These programs will teach you the fundamentals of heating, cooling, ventilation and refrigerants. They will teach how to use the tools of the trade and how to clean, install, inspect and maintain HVAC systems. This does not, however, replace hands-on training, which you will need to get after or during coursework should you wish to be successful in finding entry level HVAC work in Michigan.

HVAC Schools in Michigan

HVAC training programs are accredited by HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). You do not have to attend an accredited HVAC school, but it is an advantage in that it provides potential employers with proof that you have learned according to industry standards and have received a high-quality education.

  • Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor. Three programs offered here are accredited by HVAC Excellence. Students can choose between an associate’s degree and certificate programs in residential or commercial HVAC. They include hands-on training with tools provided and prepare graduates to work as apprentices.
  • Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids. PAHRA accredits these degree and certificate programs. They both prepare students for apprenticeship positions and include hands-on as well as classroom learning.
  • Northwestern Technological Institute, Southfield. Northwestern offers students a program in HVAC that takes about 10 months to complete. It has an employment rate of 93 percent for graduates.
  • Lansing Community College, Lansing. Lansing has several HVAC programs, including a heating and air conditioning certificate or associate’s degree, and a degree in HVAC/R energy management engineering technology.

Financial aid may be available to students who qualify. Contact the financial office at the institute you wish to attend for more information.

Certification and Licensing for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Michigan

HVAC techs in Michigan are licensed through the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. You can work as an apprentice or assistant before becoming licensed, but in order to perform installations and repairs and secure permits you need to have a mechanical contractor license. To become licensed, you have to submit an application with a $300 license fee. You also must prove you have three years of work experience in HVAC and get a passing score on the state’s required exam.

Federal regulations additionally require that all HVAC technicians and other workers who will be handling refrigerants be specially certified. The Environmental Protection Agency Section 608 certification is required under the Clean Air Act. To get certified you have to pass a test.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

In Michigan, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers have an average annual salary of $50,040, with a range from $37,200 at the 10th percentile to $80,930 at the 90th percentile. This places Michigan’s average slightly below the national average for this occupation.

National vs. Local Salaries (Annual)

Location Average Annual Wage
United States $51,390
Michigan $50,040

Salaries and Percentiles by Region in Michigan (Annual)

Region 10th Percentile Median 90th Percentile
Ann Arbor, MI $38,800 $62,820 $89,840
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI $37,200 $49,150 $80,350

HVAC Trends in Michigan

In Michigan, the employment for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers is projected to grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030, an increase from 9,050 to 9,880 employees. This growth rate aligns with the national average growth projection. Michigan expects about 970 annual job openings in this field, reflecting both growth and replacements.

Employement Trends

Location 2020 Employment 2030 Projected Employment Projected Growth Annual Job Openings
Michigan 9,050 9,880 9% 970
United States 415,800 (2022) 438,800 (2032) 6% 37,700

Sources of data:

  • For employment trends and projections: Projections Central’s 2020-2030 long-term projections.
  • For national employment and wage data: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2022-2032 employment projections.

Working as an HVAC Technician in Michigan

Heating, cooling and ventilation are important everywhere, but nowhere more so than in places where the weather and temperature change drastically. HVAC technicians will always be needed in Michigan, and they are often employed by HVAC contractors. Many workers in this field are self-employed and may be small business owners. Other employers include schools, government agencies, and retail and wholesale companies. While HVAC techs are needed throughout the state, you’ll find the most opportunities in the Detroit metropolitan area.

A career in HVAC is a smart choice for any high school graduate who enjoys working with their hands and earning a good living. Skilled trade careers are growing, and HVAC techs will continue to be in demand for years to come, in Michigan and elsewhere.

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How to Become an HVAC Technician in Michigan

  • 1. Gain three years of HVAC experience by going through an apprenticeship program or working as an entry-level assistant
  • 2. Meet any additional requirements imposed by potential employers
  • 3. Obtain your technician’s license from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

How much is HVAC school in Michigan?

  • There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the cost of HVAC school can vary depending on the specific program and school you choose. However, we can give you some general information about the average cost of HVAC programs in Michigan.
  • According to our research, the average cost of an HVAC program in Michigan is around $9,000. This figure includes both tuition and fees, so it's a good estimate of what you'll need to budget for your education. Of course, there will be some schools that are more expensive than others, so it's important to do your research and find the program that fits your budget.

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