How to Become an HVAC Technician in Nebraska

Working as an HVAC technician in Nebraska is a great career choice for new high school graduates and older workers looking for a change. This career is growing rapidly throughout the country, and new jobs are becoming available all the time. The pay is good because this is a skilled trade. To become an HVAC tech in Nebraska, you will need to train with a journeyman or master technician. [Leer en español]

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Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Nebraska

The state of Nebraska has set no specific requirements for learning to work in HVAC. However, you will need to check with each city or county you may want to work in, to see if there are any requirements for certification and licensing.

HVAC courses might cover topics such as:

  • Refrigeration technology
  • Refrigeration mechanics
  • Refrigeration electrical theory
  • Basic HVAC electricity
  • Blueprint reading

Generally, if you choose a post-secondary HVAC program to complete, enroll in an apprenticeship program or begin some combination of these two options, you will be prepared to meet the requirements anywhere in the state of Nebraska.

HVAC Schools in Nebraska

HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation accredit post-secondary academic programs in HVAC technology. Unfortunately, Nebraska does not have any accredited HVAC programs, but there are other good options for those who wish to attend an HVAC school:

  • Metropolitan Community College, Omaha. Students in Omaha can complete an associate’s degree or certificate program at Metropolitan in HVAC and refrigeration systems. These programs prepare students to begin working and earning as apprentices. The school also offers career certificates in heat pumps, heat systems, air conditioning and refrigeration.
  • Central Community College, Grand Island. Options at Central include an associate’s degree in HVAC and refrigeration, a diploma in HVAC and refrigeration, and a certificate in basic refrigeration. Total tuition costs for the degree program for Nebraska residents is currently $6,200.
  • Southwest Community College, Milford. At Southeast Community College students can complete an 18-month associate’s degree program that includes refrigeration as well as HVAC. Graduates are prepared to begin working in the industry in an entry-level or apprentice role.

An alternative to enrolling in a community college program is to find a registered apprenticeship position through Nebraska’s Department of Labor. The department will help you find a position with a union or non-union organization. In an apprenticeship, you will train on the job and earn a salary while also taking classes.

HVAC Certification and Licensing for Becoming a Technician in Nebraska

If you plan to work as an HVAC technician in Nebraska, you won’t need to register with the state until you become a contractor and hire employees. HVAC contractors have to apply to the Department of Labor and show proof of having purchased worker’s compensation insurance for each employee.

Certain cities in Nebraska may have additional requirements for licensing or registration of HVAC workers. Lincoln, for example, licenses HVAC technicians at the apprentice, journeyman and master levels. To register as an apprentice, you must have a master technician sponsor you. To become a journeyman or master contractor HVAC worker, you have to apply through Lincoln’s Building and Safety department, submit a fee and pass the appropriate exam.

Omaha is another city that licenses air conditioner workers through its Planning Department. Applicants are required to score at least 75 percent on exams appropriate to their license level. Options include: apprentice, journeyman, contractor, commercial or residential air conditioning, and sheet metal. Licensing requires certain numbers of hours of work experience, some of which can be substituted with classroom hours.

If you will be working with refrigerants, regardless of the level of your licensing or registration, you will need to be Environmental Protection Agency Section 608 certified. The Clean Air Act requires that any refrigerant worker anywhere in the U.S. pass an exam to become certified before handling these materials.

Career Opportunities and Salary Expectations

In Nevada, the average annual wage for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers is $57,120, higher than the national average of $51,390. The lowest 10% earn $35,830 or less, while the top 10% earn $77,520 or more.

National vs. Local Salaries (Annual)

Location Average Annual Wage
United States $51,390
Nevada $57,120

Salaries by Region in Nevada (Annual)

Region Low (10%) High (90%)
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV $35,840 $78,000
Reno, NV $35,360 $77,300

HVAC Trends in Nebraska

In Nevada, the employment for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers is expected to grow by 21% from 2020 to 2030, from 3,250 to 3,940 employees. This growth rate significantly exceeds the national average of 6%. Nevada anticipates approximately 410 annual job openings in this field​ (O*NET OnLine)​.

Employement Trends

Location 2020 Employment 2030 Projected Employment Projected Growth Annual Job Openings
Nevada 3,250 3,940 21% 410
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 Nebraska

HVAC work is physically demanding and can be dangerous if you don’t follow safety guidelines and wear the correct gear. It can also be rewarding, though, and challenging on a daily basis.

Most workers are employed by HVAC contractors, but you should be able to find other opportunities, such as in industrial settings or with government and public agencies. In Nebraska, look for the most positions in and around the bigger cities of Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue and Grand Island.

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How do I become an HVAC technician in Nebraska?

  • 1. Check with your city or county for certification or licensing requirements.
  • 2. Learn the trade through one or both of the following: a) Complete an HVAC program through a community college or other type of school and/or b) Become an HVAC apprentice

How much do heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earn in the state of Nebraska?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in the state of Nebraska made an average of $51,320 per year in 2019. Entry-level heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned around $32,500 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $75,410.

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