How to Become an HVAC Technician in Montana

HVAC technicians are the workers who make our homes and other buildings warm in winter and comfortably cool in summer. If you’re interested in a new career and don’t want to earn a four-year degree, consider training to become an HVAC tech. Demand is high for qualified technicians in Montana, and training includes a year or less of classwork and paid, on-the-job work experience. [Leer en español]

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Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Montana

There is no statewide license or specific requirements for working as an HVAC technician in Montana. You will only need to be licensed through the state if you become a contractor and hire other workers. Some local areas in the state have their own requirements and licensing, so it is important to check with the city or county where you hope to work to make sure your training will meet those local requirements.

In general, the way to become an HVAC tech in Montana is to enroll in an apprenticeship program or a post-secondary HVAC program at a college. In either case you will need to have a combination of classroom hours in HVAC topics and hands-on training in order to be hirable for an entry-level HVAC position.

Topics that may be covered by HVAC training programs include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Heating systems
  • Refrigeration systems
  • Electrical controls
  • Air quality

HVAC Schools in Montana

Montana has one program accredited by HVAC Excellence. It’s an online program, so it is accessible to students throughout the state, even in remote and rural areas. offers several accredited online programs including commercial refrigeration, NATE-certified HVAC technician and building automation. NATE is North American Technician Excellence, an organization that certifies HVAC workers. NATE certification is not usually required, but it can make you more employable. The online programs offered by include the option of spending 10 days at the school’s hands-on training center.

There are also campus-based HVAC programs that are not accredited. Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell and Libby offers an apprenticeship program with classes for HVAC and refrigeration. Students take classes in the evening and work and earn in an apprenticeship role during the day. The University of Montana in Missoula offers a certificate program with 12 credits of classes that can be used along with an apprenticeship to learn the trade.

You can find an apprenticeship through Montana’s Department of Labor and Industry. The department will help match you with a local union apprenticeship program, a non-union position or an independent contractor willing to sponsor and train an apprentice

HVAC Certification and Licensing for Becoming a Technician in Montana

The only statewide licensing requirement for HVAC workers in Montana is for contractors. If you work independently or for a contractor you do not need to be licensed. HVAC contractors are licensed when they begin hiring other technicians to work for them. The requirements for this license include purchasing workers’ compensation insurance for each employee and an application fee. The application can be accessed through the Department of Labor and Industry.

Some cities in Montana also require separate licenses for business owners, contractors or both. For instance, Billings requires that all businesses are licensed in the city to ensure business taxes are paid. Construction contractors in Missoula must have a city business license and a contractor license that includes passing a background check.

Any HVAC workers employed to work with refrigeration units and to handle refrigerant materials must be Environmental Protection Agency Section 608 certified. This is required through the Clean Air Act and applies throughout the U.S. You need to pass a test to achieve certification.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

In Montana, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers earn an average annual wage of $49,150, with a range extending from $38,460 at the lower end to $76,400 at the higher end. This reflects a competitive wage environment relative to the national average for this occupation.

National vs. Local Salaries (Annual)

Location Average Annual Wage
United States $51,390
Montana $49,150

Salaries by Region in Montana (Annual)

Region 10th Percentile Median 90th Percentile
Billings, MT $35,730 $50,310 $76,490

HVAC Trends in

In Montana, the employment for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers is expected to experience a significant growth of 35% from 2020 to 2030, with the number of employees rising from 1,630 to 2,200. This represents a considerably faster growth rate compared to the national average of 6%. The state is projected to have around 240 annual job openings in this occupation​ (O*NET OnLine)​.

Employement Trends

Location 2020 Employment 2030 Projected Employment Projected Growth Annual Job Openings
Montana 1,630 2,200 35% 240
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 Montana

Look for the greatest job opportunities in the higher population centers in the state: Billings, Missoula, Great Falls and Bozeman. Even in the rural areas of Montana there will be a need for HVAC techs, but these areas will have fewer jobs available.

You can expect to work for a contractor as you start out on your HVAC career, but you may also have opportunities to be employed by the government, by construction companies or by industrial companies. For young people in Montana, this is a great career choice, and jobs are expected to keep growing.

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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Is HVAC in high demand?

  • It's in high demand because it's a necessary service for keeping people comfortable in their homes and workplaces.
  • HVAC is an important part of maintaining a comfortable environment, and that's why it's in high demand. People need HVAC services to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and businesses need them to keep their employees productive and comfortable. There are also many different types of HVAC systems, so people with specialized knowledge about them are always in high demand.

How to Become an HVAC Technician in Montana

  • 1. Meet any training requirements that apply in your part of the state
  • 2. Complete a degree or HVAC program to make yourself more employable
  • 3. Get licensed at a later date if you hope to become an HVAC contractor

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