How to Become an HVAC Technician in Nevada
Working as an HVAC technician means being an important part of making homes and other buildings comfortable. HVAC workers install and repair systems that supply heat, cooling and ventilation. To do this, they have to be skilled and must go through training. With a few years of education and work experience, you can be ready to enjoy a great HVAC career in Nevada with a good salary and job stability. [Leer en español]
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Nevada
Entry-level, apprentice and journeymen HVAC workers do not need to be licensed by the state of Nevada. HVAC contractors do need to be licensed, though, as do journeymen HVAC technicians working in Clark County.
Generally, there are two requirements for getting into an HVAC career in the state: taking HVAC classes and getting on-the-job training. You can either enroll in a post-secondary program or an apprenticeship program to meet these requirements.
HVAC Programs in Nevada
One path to becoming an HVAC tech in Nevada is to begin a community college or technical college program. These offer the necessary classroom hours and many have hands-on training as well. Nevada is home to two schools with accreditation from HVAC Excellence. There are also some programs that are not accredited but still provide a good start to a career in HVAC.
- Advanced Training Institute, Las Vegas. The 42-week program at ATI costs about $14,000 in tuition and fees. Students learn in the classroom and in a hands-on setting. Graduates are prepared to become certified for working with air conditioning and refrigerants and to begin entry-level HVAC jobs.
- College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas. At this Las Vegas campus, students can earn a degree in air conditioning technology, which includes all aspects of HVAC, including refrigeration. Completing the program prepares students for jobs in HVAC and to be refrigerant certified.
- National Technical Institute, Henderson. NTI offers a short program that takes just a few months to finish. It is not accredited but provides a good introduction to help students learn the basics and find out if HVAC is a career they really want to pursue.
Another path to an HVAC career is Nevada is to apply for an apprenticeship program through a local union or non-union organization. These programs can be competitive but provide all instruction and paid training necessary to begin an HVAC career. Some examples of apprenticeship programs include the Local 350 Plumbers, Pipefitters and HVAC apprenticeship and training center in Sparks and the Reno- or Las Vegas-based program offered through the Nevada Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.
Certification and Licensing for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Nevada
The state of Nevada does not require HVAC technicians to be licensed. However, HVAC contractors must be licensed through the State Contractors Board. Requirements for contractor licensing include four years of work experience beyond an apprenticeship (three of those years can come from an academic program), a passing score on an examination and purchase of a bond.
While there is no statewide licensing for HVAC techs, you do have to pass an exam set by the Contractors Board. It is a test in refrigeration and air conditioning. Furthermore, any HVAC worker in the state whose work will involve refrigerants must be certified by federal law. The Clean Air Act requires workers handling refrigerants get certified through the Environmental Protection Agency section 608, which requires passing an exam.
Clark County, which is home to Las Vegas and many of the state’s HVAC jobs, does require that journeyman HVAC technicians be licensed. Licensing is through the county’s Building Inspection Services and requires passing a test. The exam is administered through the International Code Council.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
You can expect a great career outlook in Nevada if you get into the HVAC industry. The number of jobs available in HVAC across the country is growing by 15 percent, much faster than the average rate of job growth.
HVAC techs also earn a great living. In Nevada, the average HVAC tech salary is $52,810 per year and $25.39 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These wages are higher than the national average.
Working as an HVAC Technician in Nevada
You can expect to get your first job in HVAC with a contractor, although it may be a small business with one or two other workers or a large company with hundreds of employees. Most HVAC techs work for contractors, but some go on to be contractors themselves and to own their own businesses. Look for the most job opportunities in and around Nevada’s largest cities: Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City.