How to Become an HVAC Technician in Missouri

As a heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician (HVAC tech) in Missouri, you can expect to earn a good living and enjoy great job security while doing work that is challenging, useful and different every day. This is a career that involves a skilled trade, so expect to do some classroom learning and training on the job in an apprentice role before you can become an independent worker. The few years you put into that education and training will be well worth it in the end, as you become a successful HVAC technician. [Leer en español]

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Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Missouri

Missouri is one of a few states that do not require technicians or contractors to be licensed in order to work on HVAC systems. The requirements for becoming an HVAC worker, if there are any, are determined by cities and counties. It may be useful to check with the area in which you hope to work before beginning your journey to become an HVAC tech, but in general the best way to start out is to enroll in either a post-secondary academic HVAC program or an apprenticeship.

HVAC training programs may include topics such as:

  • Forced air heating
  • heat pumps
  • Refrigeration systems
  • Air conditioning technology

In most cases, HVAC apprenticeship programs are four years long and combine on-the-job training with classroom learning. During your apprenticeship you will be paid while you work and learn, and at the end you will receive a nationally recognized certificate.

HVAC Schools in Missouri

Post-secondary HVAC programs are accredited by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence. Aspiring HVAC professionals can rely on these programs to provide you with the education needed to start an HVAC career:

  • Hillyard Technical Center, St. Joseph. Hillyard offers a program for high school students. It takes two years to complete and offers young people a way to get a jumpstart on this career and to be ready for an apprenticeship position.
  • State Technical College of Missouri, Linn. State Tech’s accredited HVAC program combines classroom learning with hands-on training. It also includes an internship to really prepare graduates to begin working.
  • Jefferson College, Hillsboro. The HVAC and refrigeration program at Jefferson is a two-year associate’s degree program. It prepares students to begin working in entry-level and apprenticeship positions.

An alternative to starting with a post-secondary degree is to enroll in an apprenticeship program that provides both classroom learning and work experience. The Missouri Division of Workforce Development can connect you with an apprenticeship position in the state.

HVAC Certification and Licensing for Becoming a Technician in Missouri

There is no statewide licensing or certification for HVAC workers in Missouri, but many cities and counties do require licensing. One example is St. Louis County, which requires licensing for mechanical workers, including those in the HVAC profession. The Department of Public Works licenses apprentices, journeymen and mechanical contractors. To be an apprentice you must be enrolled in an appropriate program. To qualify for a journeyman license requires 7,500 hours of combined classroom and work experience and a passing journeyman exam score.

The city of Springfield also requires that mechanical workers be licensed. Journeyman and master contractors must be licensed, but apprentice licensing is not required. Many other local governments in Missouri license only contractors and business owners.

All HVAC workers in the state who handle refrigerants must be additionally certified. The federal Clean Air Act requires that these workers pass an exam to achieve Environmental Protection Agency section 608 certification.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The salary data for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021.00) in Missouri, as compared to the national average, showcases the state’s competitive wages for this occupation. In Missouri, these professionals earn an average annual salary of $50,150, which is slightly below the national average of $51,390. The salary range in Missouri extends from $31,680 at the 10th percentile to $92,670 at the 90th percentile, indicating a broad range of earning potential based on experience, specialization, and other factors.

National vs. Missouri Salaries for HVAC Technicians

Location Annual Low (10%) Annual Median Annual High (90%)
United States $36,170 $51,390 $82,630
Missouri $31,680 $50,150 $92,670

National vs. Missouri Salaries for HVAC Technicians

Region Annual Low (10%) Annual Median Annual High (90%)
Kansas City, MO-KS $36,190 $59,580 $98,150
St. Louis, MO-IL $35,450 $55,600 $98,320

HVAC Trends in Missouri

In Missouri, the employment outlook for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021.00) is notably positive, with a projected growth of 11% from 2020 to 2030. The number of employees in this occupation is expected to increase from 6,160 in 2020 to 6,850 by 2030. Annually, there are projected to be 680 job openings in Missouri for this occupation during this period, which includes openings due to both industry growth and replacements. This growth rate is significantly higher than the national average growth rate of 6% for the same period, indicating a strong demand for HVAC technicians within the state.

Employement Trends

Aspect Missouri United States
Employment (2020 for MO, 2022 for US) 6,160 employees 415,800 employees
Projected Employment (2030 for MO, 2032 for US) 6,850 employees 438,800 employees
Projected Growth 11% 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030 for MO, 2022-2032 for US) 680 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 Missouri

HVAC technicians usually work for HVAC or construction contractors. There may also be some opportunities to work for different types of companies or government agencies, and with a few years of experience on the job you can become a contractor and hire other techs.

The greatest job opportunities in Missouri are in and around the bigger cities, including Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia and Independence. Regardless of where you hope to work, though, just a few years of training and learning are all you need to work in this exciting skilled trade.

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How to Become an HVAC Technician in Missouri

  • 1. Check the licensing and certification requirements for your specific city or county
  • 2. If needed, get a degree or enter an apprenticeship to meet those requirements
  • 3. Complete your local licensing application process, if one exists, and seek work

Is there a lot of math in HVAC school?

Most people think that HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technicians just need to know how to use a few tools and follow some instructions. However, HVAC school actually requires students to have strong math skills. Knowing how to calculate air flow, pipe sizing, and ductwork design are all important parts of the job. In addition, many HVAC systems today are computerized, so technicians also need to be able to understand and work with complex software.

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