California HVAC Training

When I was a kid I worked at a place in the San Fernando Valley that sold Air Conditioning, Heating, and Plumbing supplies. I was not trained as an AC technician at all, and had completed none of the California HVAC education and training requirements walking in, but before I was done it was as almost as if I had been through one of the HVAC schools in California. We sold everything from thermostats to flashing, and electrical wire to filters. We did not sell much in the way of big AC units and heaters, but we sold all the pieces and parts around them that an HVAC repair guy spends most of his time working on.

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I seriously considered a career doing plumbing after working there. What would have saved me a ton of time and money is if I had gone straight into a California HVAC school, and gotten my HVAC license and certification in California. This is my own personal opinion, but I went into debt getting a college education that did not make much money. I went into debt for that education. If I had gotten a real training as an HVAC repair guy, then I could have spent a much smaller amount of money getting that education. Then I could have worked at a real job, and paid my own way through college, and not ended up in debt. At that time I didn’t have any HVAC salary information for California technicians, and if I had, I personally should have gone straight into that before going to college. Then I could have worked and paid my own way through college instead of taking on student loans. I am not honestly sure if I would have even gone to college though, once I had real training and a real job. Knowing me I probably would have opened up my own HVAC business after a year or two, and may have never looked back.

With many HVAC schools there are part-time options where students that are enrolled will attend classes for half the day, and can hold down jobs the other half. Some programs offer online courses where students can take the online versions of classes on their own time, and then go into campus for the hands-on portion only. In my research I’ve found that if somebody wanted to keep a part-time job while getting an HVAC education, they could find a program to make this possible. Most schools have HVAC programs in California are designed to be completed in 1-2 years.

Besides just avoiding a massive student loan debt, there are other qualities to an HVAC career that I greatly admire. I am the type of person who doesn’t like to be bored, and the HVAC field offers many different ways to practice the craft. I could have worked doing heating and air conditioning for commercial businesses alongside a team of other HVAC techs. I could have gone into business for myself, made my own hours and worked for families, or contracted with other organizations to get a change of scenery.

In California, the coastal region stays pretty mild all year, with the air temperature moderated by the ocean temperature. Once you get to the San Fernando valley, just being in 15 miles from the ocean, the temperatures become much more extreme. Summer days can get over 100 degrees easily, and in the winter it is not uncommon to find a light frost on the grass in the morning.

California is the third largest state in terms of size, clocking in at 163,696 square miles. But it’s the most heavily populated state in America with 38 million people living there. Metropolitan areas like San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles are the most densely populated areas. Many regions experience a microclimate, where certain areas that are inland or sheltered from the ocean tend to be much hotter than those very close by but on the shoreline. And of course, Death Valley is infamous for being the hottest location in North America.

The HVAC Schools in California

There are schools all over the state that specialize in HVAC training and education. Here are a few to get you started:

Charles A. Jones Career Education Center

Program details: 42 weeks, 1260 hours. Students learn technical know-how like installation and repair of AC and heating systems. They also get prepped for refrigerant exams and other industry tests.

Location: Sacramento, CA

Tuition: $6,950

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Fresno City College

Program details: 2 years. Students learn fundamental skills and knowledge of how AC, electrical, and industrial systems function. Other certification programs are offered in specialty areas of HVAC.

Location: Fresno, CA

Tuition: $1,140 for in-state students and $6,780 for out-of-state students


Merced College

Program details: 2 years. Students can pick between the HVAC tech program and the commercial refrigeration program. An EPA requirements course is offered as well as classes in heating and control systems, and welding.

Location: Merced, CA

Tuition: $1,138 for in-state students and $5,890 for out-of-state students


Sacramento City College

Program details: 2 years. Classes include lessons in drafting and air conditioning system designs, as well as teaching students how to do computer-aided designing. Some of the elective class options include courses in piping, blueprint reading, and sheet metal drafting.

Location: Sacramento, Ca

Tuition: $1,104 for in-state students and $7,200 for out-of-state students


San Joaquin Delta College

Program details: 2 year. This school offers two different programs which students can choose to complete. The first earns the student an associate’s degree in Heating and Air Conditioning. The second is a Certificate of Achievement in Heating and AC. The first program requires 38 units in the major courses (these include residential gas heating and components of air conditioning, among others) and 24 units in general education classes. Required courses include a basic training class in electricity and troubleshooting techniques for AC systems. The second program (Certificate of Achievement in Heating and AC) is comprised of 44 unites among which include classes in industrial health, safety, and mathematics.

Location: Stockton, CA

Tuition: $1,104 for in-state students and $5,664 for out-of-state students