Best HVAC Schools in Alabama – 2020 Guide

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Alabama has some of the hottest summers in the United States, which means that air conditioning engineers and technicians have a lot on their plate. For a secure and stable career path, Alabama is an excellent state to become a certified HVAC engineer or technician.

With a wide range of incredible schools to choose from in Alabama, you’ll progress quickly and easily to better benefits and high paying salaries.

To help clear all your questions about becoming a certified HVAC professional, this guide covers details regarding licensing requirements, job prospects, salary information, and reviews of some of the best schools. Keep reading to see where you can go from here!

Requirements to be an HVAC Technician in Alabama

All HVAC technicians in the state must be licensed and well-trained in order to practice legally. If you want to become a certified HVAC technician in Alabama, you’ll need to go through an examination process that costs around $150. In order to be eligible for the exam, you’ll have to provide proof that you’ve graduated from a certified and approved curriculum, or have completed an apprenticeship. 

After successfully passing the examination and submitting the required application forms, an HVAC technician must continue receiving four hours of education every year. It’s advisable to do this by completing a formal learning program from an accredited learning institution.

Along with the primary licensure exam, HVAC contractors must also take the Alabama Licensure Exam and the EPA Certification Examination. The EPA Certification enables technicians to purchase refrigerants in the United States, while the Alabama Licensure Exam comprises regulations, techniques, and information regarding heaters and furnaces, exhaust and ventilation systems, residential load calculations, heat pump, and air conditioning systems, and refrigerants.

Salary and Job Outlook in Alabama

As of April 27, 2020, the average salary of an HVAC technician in Alabama is around $44,321, but the range usually falls between $50,220 and $39,236. In terms of how this ranks nationally, Alabama is the 40th best state to become a licensed HVAC technician. Although this is not a high rank, it still means a good, healthy salary. 

Graduates usually start at $34,606 annually, but as they gain experience, their salary increases. Highly experienced HVAC technicians who have been working for a long time can earn as much as $55,592 per year.

In Alabama, the average base salary for an HVAC technician is around $18.77 per hour and $39,042 per year, which is 12% lower than the national average. The average salary for technicians with 6 to 9 years of experience is $23.43 per hour, while technicians with more than ten years of experience earn as much as $27.82 per hour.

With advanced training, you can increase your income and work your way up to an HVAC engineer or contractor. Schooling also helps you to specialize and diversify your job market, leading to bigger and better salaries.  

Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating installers and mechanics is expected to increase by 13% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than other occupations. Residential and commercial building construction is expected to increase employment growth, and job prospects for HVAC technicians are projected to be good.

Quick Take: Best HVAC Schools in Alabama

These are our recommendations for the best HVAC schools in Alabama:

  1. Wallace State Community College
  2. Lawson State Community College
  3. Fortis College

List of the Top HVAC Schools in Alabama

The quality and standard of training and education you’ve received ultimately depends on your schooling. To help you become a certified HVAC technician, here are some of the best HVAC schools in Alabama:

List of Programs

  • HVAC & Refrigeration 

Contact Info

  • Address: 801 Main St NW, Hanceville, Alabama 35077
  • Phone: (256) 352-8000

Our Review of the Program

Wallace State Community College provides up-and-coming refrigeration, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning service technicians and installers with the skills and knowledge needed to pass licensing and certification procedures, helping them gain employment in this incredibly high-demand field. The college’s HVAC/R program has an excellent reputation. 

Due to the ever-changing advancements in technology and the rising need to meet trade and ethical standards, the industry favors individuals that have completed an accredited and formal technical program, like the one offered at Wallace State. 

The HVAC/R program offers a highly academic environment and primarily focuses on the industry’s technical foundations, as well as hands-on exercises and practical demonstrations that help students develop and enhance their own marketable skills and knowledge. 

The program further helps students prepare for all available industry certifications, guiding them towards the best path to reach their professional goals. It’s highly recommended to obtain both minimal and advanced certifications in order to become successful in the HVAC industry. 

Along with these certifications, the program also equips students with craft skills, business skills, soft skills, and knowledge that significantly increase their chances of success.

List of Programs

  • Certificate in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration 
  • AOT Degree in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration
  • Short Certificate in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration

Contact Info

  • Address: 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, Alabama 35221
  • Phone: (205) 925-2515

Our Review of the Program

Lawson State Community College boosts economic growth, offers accessible and affordable quality educational opportunities, and improves the quality of life for the students it serves. Its mission is to prepare students for college transfer, workforce development, gainful employment, and career advancement by providing lifelong learning opportunities and varied instructional modes.

The college’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program prepares students to successfully service, troubleshoot, and install HVACR systems. As technicians, students will be skilled and apt in both residential and commercial services. 

The program’s instructional process starts by teaching students about the fundamentals of electricity and refrigeration. Upon the completion of these courses, advanced courses can be taken by students in a sequence that best suits their individual interests. 

Every course equips students with the specific knowledge and skills required by HVAC technicians on the job. Job sheets and assignments are given through all parts of the study, and hands-on learning is provided on industry-standard equipment.

Lastly, the program offers four different awards to graduates, which include one certificate, one short-certificate with a major appliance repair specialty, one short-certificate, and an A.O.T. degree.

List of Programs

  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration training program 

Contact Info

  • Address: 100 London Parkway, Suite 150 Birmingham, AL 35211
  • Phone: (205) 940-7800

Our Review of the Program

The HVAC program offered by FORTIS helps students gain an entry-level employment position as an HVAC technician. The program offers training in computerized diagnostics, allowing students to repair and service today’s incredibly complex heat pumps, air conditioning systems, and commercial refrigeration systems. 

As an HVAC student, your qualified instructors will guide you on how to skilfully troubleshoot and manage ventilation systems. This helps ensure a comfortable and healthy environment in all types of buildings, including residential, commercial, and industrial. 

Furthermore, HVAC students learn to apply principles and theory taught in lab and class settings, enabling them to select, operate, develop, and test a wide range of air conditioning, ventilating, and heating equipment.

Once students have completed the training program, they’ll be prepared for an entry-level employment position as an HVAC technician. Each campus also boasts a Career Services Center, which helps graduates with career placement. 

By providing interview coaching, motivation, resume development, and maintenance of ethical standards, FORTIS equips graduates with the skills required for a successful job interview.

List of Programs

  • Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology Long Term Certificate
  • Associate in Applied Science in Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology 

Contact Info

  • Address: 2631 Temple Avenue N, Fayette, Alabama 35555
  • Phone: 800-648-3271

Our Review of the Program

Bevill State Community College is a learning-centered, accredited institution that provides quality training and educational opportunities and enhances the lives of its students economically, culturally, and intellectually. 

Its Fayette campus employs 150 full-time and part-time employees and enrolls around 800 students. Located in northern Fayette county, the campus comprises a library, student center, residence hall, observatory, campus bookstore, conference rooms, gymnasium, auditoriums, twenty-eight classrooms/labs, and an incredible cafeteria.

Bevill State’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program teaches basic theories and equips students with a working knowledge of heating and air conditioning systems. Students are taught the fundamentals of mathematics, electricity, physics, mechanical wing, and blueprint reading. 

Upon completion, graduates can enter the fields of installing, maintaining, planning, and operating all types of air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating equipment. This program is further approved by the Alabama Contractor’s License Exam and the Alabama Board of Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration. 

It’s also accredited by the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation or PAHRA.

In recent years, this program’s placement rate has also surpassed 95%, with numerous Bevill State students gaining employment before graduation.

List of Programs

  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration A.A.S.
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Certificate
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Short-Term Certificate

Contact Info

  • Address: 1001 George Wallace Dr, Gadsden, Alabama 35903
  • Phone: (256)-549-8200

Our Review of the Program

The mission of Gadsden State Community College is to prepare and train students from all cultures and backgrounds for success by providing innovative workforce development, inclusive global and community engagement, and quality education. 

Gadsden State’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program focuses on the fundamental principles of refrigeration and air conditioning. Students are instructed in the theory of heat transfer and refrigeration, HVAC/R system components, specialty and common tools for HVAC/R, and the application of basic compression refrigeration concepts. 

The program also teaches students about the proper installation methods of refrigerant tubing and piping for the refrigeration, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry. It further provides students with the essential knowledge of circuitry and electrical theory, emphasizing on symbols, circuits, safety, electrical test instruments, definitions, and laws. 

Moreover, the program equips students with the basic features of customer relations required by an HVAC technician, including employability skills combined with job performance, certification requirements, business ethics, record keeping, local ordinances, and service invoices. 

The college also prepares students for the State Certification Examination, focusing on all piping procedures, load calculation, pertinent codes, installation procedures, duct design, air distribution, and psychometrics. 

Lastly, graduates also receive hands-on experience in the workplace. All students are given a training plan that’s designed by the instructor and employer, which further guides and enhances the learning process.

List of Programs

  • Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, A.A.S.
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Short-Term Certificate
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration/Advanced ACR Short-Term Certificate
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration/Renewable Energy Short-Term Certificate
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration/ACR Fundamentals Short-Term Certificate

Contact Info

  • Address: 6250 Hwy. 31 North Tanner, AL, 35671
  • Phone: (256) 306-2500

Our Review of the Program

At Calhoun Community College, over 80% of the faculty have a master’s degree in their respective discipline, and many have also received their terminal degrees. The college’s commitment and dedication to higher education are further showcased by the fact that a significant number of their staff have earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees in their respective fields.

Calhoun’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration degree offers practical experiences to teach students about ventilation, refrigeration, heating, and cooling systems that are used to control the humidity, air quality, and temperature in schools, office buildings, hospitals, and homes. 

Along with being skilled in refrigeration and air conditioning maintenance, graduates of this program also become qualified in commercial and residential construction. The program further teaches students about the repair and installation of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment in restaurants, theaters, factories, food stores, and several other establishments.

Moreover, the practical experiences offered by the program help students become more proficient in cutting pipe, duct, and load design, and in the maintenance and repair of air conditioning and refrigeration systems. 

Lastly, the college has a Student Services Division that enhances the growth and development of students by providing support and services through various departments. These services include financial aid, student orientations, counseling, quality academic advising, a testing center, and a library.

List of Programs

  • Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Occupational Certificate

Contact Info

  • Address: 750 Roberts Street; Wadley, AL 36276
  • Phone: 256-395-2211

Our Review of the Program

The Southern State Community College aims to provide relevant and quality learning and teaching in technical, health, and academic programs that are accessible, responsive, affordable, and equitable to the incredibly diverse needs of the community, industry, government, business, and students. 

The college’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program prepares students for entry-level employment in the industry as HVAC/R technicians. It places emphasis and focuses on thermodynamic principles, safety, basic refrigeration and electrical theory, and their respective applications to different types of HVAC equipment.

The program trains students in troubleshooting and the different service techniques required to service, repair, and install numerous types of equipment. They also receive specific equipment training, including heat pumps, electric heating, commercial refrigeration, gas heating, commercial ice makers, and light commercial and residential air conditioning.

Furthermore, students receive training in the different laws governing correct refrigerant handling procedures as set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Upon completion of the program, graduates are required to engage in credentialing activities, including the R-410a Refrigerant Safety Certification, NOCTI, EPA Section 608 Refrigerant Handling, and the Industry Competency Exam.

List of Programs

  • Associate of Applied Science Degree in Heating and Air Conditioning

Contact Info

  • Address: 3421 Meridian Street North; Huntsville, AL 35811
  • Phone: (256)-539-8161

Our Review of the Program

The J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College communicates and works with industry and local businesses to establish and design programs and courses dedicated to specially identified cross-training and community employment needs.

The college’s Associate of Applied Science Degree in Heating and Air Conditioning places emphasis on the principles of cooling and heating air in controlled conditions. Problem-solving techniques are used by instructors to provide the applications and knowledge of refrigerants and electricity, enabling students to analyze malfunctions and repair commercial, industrial, and residential systems. 

Furthermore, the curriculum is specially designed to aid students in the preparation of employment in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning field. All graduates of this program can become employed as a facility maintenance supervisor, an air conditioning and heating business owner, a service technician, or an air conditioning and heating lab technician. 

Lastly, the J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College also has a Career Services office, which helps provide career placement assistance and guidance to all students and alumni.

List of Programs

  • Air Conditioning / Refrigeration Short-Term Certificate

Contact Info

  • Address: 1900 Highway 31 South; Bay Minette, Alabama 36507
  • Phone: 800-381-3722

Our Review of the Program

With a wide variety of academic and social organizations, Coastal Alabama Community College offers students numerous opportunities to enhance and develop their network and social skills. From outstanding student clubs, beach parties, and trips to excellent music, athletics, and drama productions, the college believes that education is more than just books. 

The Air Conditioning/Refrigeration program offered by the college focuses on the fundamental principles of refrigeration and air conditioning. Students are instructed in the principles and theory of heat transfer and refrigeration, specialty and common tools for HVAC/R, different HVAC/R system components, and application of the basic concepts of compression refrigeration.

It also covers refrigerant cycle diagnoses and performance checks, with emphasis on refrigerant coils, industry codes, refrigerant recycle units and the proper procedures of recovering and charging refrigerants. 

The program further provides individuals with the fundamentals and basic knowledge of circuitry and electrical theory, focusing on definitions, electrical test instruments, safety, laws, symbols, and circuits. 

Lastly, the program is also EPA-approved and includes material pertaining to the requirements needed for universal type I, II, and III certifications. Once the program is completed, graduates can easily give the EPA 608 certification examination.

List of Programs

  • Certificate in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology

Contact Info

  • Address: 9500 Old Greensboro Rd; Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
  • Phone: (205)-391-2211

Our Review of the Program

A two-year community college, Shelton State is one of the biggest two-year colleges in Alabama. It enrolls around 7000 students in some type of coursework every year and houses approximately 3000 full-time students. 

The college’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program equips students with the skills and training needed to service, repair, and install air conditioning and refrigeration systems. It instructs them in the theory of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration, along with equipment sizing, selection, and installation. 

Moreover, practical work and theory are provided to students in heat pumps, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and special systems. The program is further taught throughout the year during the evening and the day to accommodate different schedules for part- and full-time students. 

The core skills developed by students upon the completion of this program include installation, operation monitoring, quality control analytics, equipment maintenance, troubleshooting, and repairing.

Lastly, the college also offers Career Services and provides guidance to all alumni and students, helping them choose career paths and preparing them for the workforce through well-developed job search skills. Etiquette and career advising are also offered, along with opportunities to attend and network career fairs.  

HVAC Schools in Alabama Comparison Table

With a steady increase in demand for HVAC technicians in Alabama, a large number of schools offer an HVAC program. Some provide exceptional hands-on practice, some have more experienced teachers, and some offer excellent job placements. To help you narrow down your options, the following is a comparison table for HVAC schools in Alabama:

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • HVAC & Refrigeration
  • 801 Main St NW, Hanceville, Alabama 35077
  • 256-352-8000
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • AOT Degree in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration, Short Certificate in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration and Certificate in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration
  • 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, Alabama 35221
  • 205-925-2515
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration training program
  • 100 London Parkway, Suite 150 Birmingham, AL 35211
  • 205-940-7800
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Associate in Applied Science in Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology and Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology Long Term Certificate
  • 2631 Temple Avenue N, Fayette, Alabama 35555
  • 800-648-3271
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration A.A.S., Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Certificate and Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Short-Term Certificate
  • 1001 George Wallace Dr, Gadsden, Alabama 35903
  • 256-549-8200
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, A.A.S., Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Short-Term Certificate, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration/ACR Fundamentals Short-Term Certificate, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration/Advanced ACR Short-Term Certificate and Air Conditioning and Refrigeration/Renewable Energy Short-Term Certificate
  • 6250 Hwy. 31 North Tanner, AL, 35671
  • 256-306-2500
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Occupational Certificate
  • 750 Roberts Street; Wadley, AL 36276
  • 256-395-2211
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Associate of Applied Science Degree in Heating and Air Conditioning
  • 3421 Meridian Street North; Huntsville, AL 35811
  • 256-539-8161
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Air Conditioning / Refrigeration Short-Term Certificate
  • 1900 Highway 31 South; Bay Minette, Alabama 36507
  • 800-381-3722
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology and Certificate in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology
  • 9500 Old Greensboro Rd; Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
  • 205-391-2211
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

Conclusion

Although Alabama is not among the highest-ranking states for an HVAC technician, the engineering demand is still relatively high. In Alabama, both HVAC engineers and technicians earn a good, decent salary and can finish their studies in five years to advance into higher-level positions. 

If you want to fast-track to a better job, going to an accredited HVAC school is an excellent idea and paves a more focused learning path towards your goal. Make sure you go through all the aforementioned reviews and choose the school that you like best!

People Also Ask 

Becoming a licensed HVAC technician to further your career can be a confusing and often difficult task. To help clear away any confusions you might have, here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

How Do I Get My HVAC License in Alabama?

In order to get an HVAC license in Alabama, you’ll need to graduate from an approved and certified HVAC program. You’ll then need to enroll in an HVAC apprentice program. Once you’ve completed the program, you’ll be eligible for the refrigeration contractor and HVAC contractor examinations. After passing the exam, you’ll receive your HVAC license.

How Do I Become EPA Certified HVAC?

There are four different types of certifications under Section 608, and each requires a specific course of study and an examination to achieve certification. A Type 1 certification exam can be completed online, while Type 2 and Type 3 need to be given in a proctored environment.

How Long Does it Take to Get Certified in HVAC?

An HVAC degree can be completed at a community college or a trade school and takes an average of two years to complete. Some schools also offer an accelerated program that can be completed more quickly, while some provide a job-ready certification that can be received within 15 weeks. However, most licenses require either the completion of a training program or a total work experience of 2 to 5 years.