Best HVAC Schools in the Bay Area – 2022 Round-up

| Last Updated: June 15, 2021
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As the temperature starts to warm up, the demand for certified HVAC professionals increases considerably in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. They may be sought regarding various problems of cooling, heating, and ventilation systems. 

Luckily, for people considering to adopt the profession of HVAC, there are numerous schools offering hands-on training. The training equips professionals with technical skills regarding electrical, plumbing, welding, and other trades. 

In this article, we will review some of the best schools offering HVAC training for aspiring HVAC workers. 

Requirements to Be an HVAC Technician in the Bay Area

Getting your HVAC Technician certification is not at all complicated according to the state requirements that apply to the Bay Area. 

According to the Contractors State License Board of California, no educational qualification is required to appear in the examination for your certification. However, qualifying work experience of 4 years is crucial. Experience earned at the journeyman level is accepted as a minimum while higher levels of foreman, supervisor, contractor, or owner-builder also apply. 

The work experience can be verified by a former or current employer, colleague, supervisor/foreman, contractor, building inspector, or an architect. Experience gained during an apprentice or as a trainee is not applicable.

If you possess an educational qualification, it will count towards a maximum of 3 years of experience. In such a case, you will still need to provide one year of relevant and verified working experience. 

The board may request documented proof or verification of the applicant’s experience and/or qualification. Failure to entertain any of these requests may result in disqualification of the applicant, rejection of application or cancellation of license if it has already been provided. 

Salary and Job Outlook in the Bay Area

The situation seems fairly suitable for someone who decides to become an HVAC technician in the Bay Area, California. With the average salary touching approximately $47,301 per year, an increase may be expected with gain in experience. Experience of 3-4 years may add about $1,217 to the median pay of the job. 

Job prospects seem better for those who are familiar with computers and electronics, as well as those who have technical training backed by troubleshooting skills. The growing demand for climate control and energy-efficient systems is expected to increase the demand of HVAC technicians massively as the systems might need to be upgraded, refurbished, or replaced altogether.

Employment of HVAC technicians and installers is expected to increase by a huge margin of 13% by 2028. This is amongst the highest recorded for different professions. 

Entry-level pay for apprentices is usually about half that of the median pay of experienced workers. However, it grows with experience. Educational qualification and a growing experience contribute to getting higher wages.

The industry may demand the technician to work irregular hours, double shifts, or weekend shifts in addition to their full-time job. Moreover, the demand is steadily increased during peak winter and summer seasons.

List of the Top HVAC Schools in the Bay Area

To become a professional HVAC technician, one needs to learn the skills of the trade. This profession requires a thorough understanding of the working and construction of the many systems one might come across. To gain strong knowledge and to become a skilled worker, it is best to learn from the best available schools. 

In this section, we will list some of the top tier schools providing HVAC training in the Bay Area, California.


University of California – Berkeley

Contact Info

Address: 1995 University Ave., Suite 200 Berkeley, California

Phone: 510-642-3175

List of Programs

Professional certification HVAC

Our Review of the Program

This school provides one of the best experiences, knowledge, and training in the field of HVAC to its students. There are many success stories narrated by their students from when they joined the professional world after taking a course from UC Berkeley Extension School. 

The department of Construction and Stability at this school offers a well-planned Professional Certificate in HVAC. The course work is thorough and covers wide aspects of the training. The course work requires a minimum of 3 semesters to complete and must be completed within five semesters. It has four required and two to three elective courses.

After completing 11-semester units worth 165 hours, the students must maintain an overall minimum grade point of 2.5. Only then will they be awarded a certification. 

Students at Berkeley report that taking the course not only helped those who were beginning their careers but also those who had some experience. 

Indulging in the certification work gave them a deeper understanding of the workings of the systems. As a result, they were able to better identify problems and use calculations to come up with better solutions.

Overall, taking the professional certification in HVAC from UC Berkeley Extension helped many attain better positions in their careers as well as gave a boost to those who were just starting. 


Institute for Business and Technology

Contact Info

Address: 400 Walsh Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95051

Phone: 800-915-3562

List of Programs

EPA Certification by ESCO

Our Review of the Program

The program at IBT is an EPA certification by ESCO. It involves hands-on training, understanding the working mechanisms, and preparation for certification tests.

The length of the course varies. The course may be completed in different amounts of time, where the students can take their time to relearn concepts and skills. 

The students take practical training in electrical theory and controls, welding and soldering, and plumbing. All three aspects cover the needs and requirements to be an HVAC technician. 

The training teaches them the installation of heating, cooling, and air conditioning systems at residential as well as commercial level. In addition, the staunch knowledge gained throughout the duration of the program makes them better at troubleshooting.

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Graduates are able to maintain EPA regulations while installing, repairing, servicing, or troubleshooting systems. This overall enhances their reliability and leaves a good impression on their customers.

After completing the degree program, graduates are ready to appear in certification exams. They are fully equipped to apply for any of these certifications: ESCO EPA certificationHVAC Excellence, 410A, and OSHA.

Professionals who completed their training from IBT report that they are much better at their job. They understand the working mechanisms of systems fully, no matter how recent the technology is. This helps them deal with problems in a much more informed way that is beneficial for them as well as the customer.


Laney College

Contact Info

Address: 900 Fallon St, Oakland, CA 94607

Phone: 510-464-3292

List of Programs

Residential and Light Commercial HVAC 

Refrigeration and Commercial HVAC Systems

Our Review of the Program

The department of environmental Control Technology at Laney College offers two HVAC certificates. These are Certification in Residential and light commercial HVAC and Certification in Refrigeration and commercial HVAC systems.

The former is a two-semester and 27-credit-hour course. It familiarizes students with the fundamentals of systems as well as their mechanics. It also teaches them how to read blueprints. The theory is followed by training in installation, repair, problem diagnosis, and energy management to enhance efficiency, etc. 

Meanwhile, the latter is a four-semester and 52.5 credit-hours-long course. This certification, in addition to the basic knowledge, gives a more detailed understanding of digital controls, system designs, data analysis for monitoring performance, control system networking, etc.

The courses at Laney College are taught by highly experienced individuals from the field of HVAC. The instructors expose the students to real-world scenarios with guidance every step of the way. The college also boasts one of the best-equipped labs in the Bay Area. 

The course has helped experienced individuals with HVAC as well as beginners. The graduates were able to perform well and carry out successful maintenance and building operations. The learning kept them up to date with the latest technologies, enhancing their work efficiency and hence increasing their demand. 


City College of San Francisco

Contact Info

Address: 50 Frida Kahlo Way, San Francisco, CA 94112

Phone: 415-239-3000

List of Programs

Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Certificate of Accomplishment

Our Review of the Program

This certification course at City College of San Francisco is 9.5 credit hours long. In the quick duration, the students are able to develop a deep understanding regarding thermodynamics, load calculations, horsepower, etc. of the systems as well as right tool selections and identifying and recording problems.

The program is based on theoretical and practical knowledge. The theory gives a clear picture of the working and the mechanics, while practical knowledge gives hands-on experience to take on the challenges of this field.

The students are required to maintain a minimum of Grade C in all their courses to pass the program. The minimum time required to pass the program is two semesters and depends on the student’s preparation as well as the number of units per course.

Upon completion, the students have brighter job prospects. Beginners get a kick start in their career owning to their complete knowledge regarding their trade. For those who already have the experience, the course further strengthens their abilities, introduces them to newer technologies, and is a great way to attain higher HVAC certification.


San José State University

Contact Info

Address: 1 Washington Sq, San Jose, CA 95192

Phone: 408-924-1000

List of Programs

HVAC Systems Design

Our Review of the Program

San Jose State University also offers a quick course in HVAC. It comprises two hours of coursework and three hours of lab experience. 

However, it is not open to all. For admission in the course, the applicants must be a junior or a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Outsiders and other majors cannot join.

The academic background of mechanical engineering students helps with gaining considerable knowledge in a short period of time. This way, the course can skip through introductory and basic lectures and cut right to the chase. The students don’t miss out on anything as they are already well aware of those introductory concepts.

The major focus of the course lies in calculation relating to heating and cooling loads, Psychrometrics, and ways to enhance human comfort via HVAC systems. In addition, students are also taught about heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and equipment in useful detail.

This course is an incredible initiative by the university for its students. It helps them gain practical knowledge during their degree duration. The course aids the graduates in defining the professional path they plan to adopt as well as give them an upper hand in the job market.


With the introduction of climate-friendly and energy-efficient technologies each passing day, the demand for skilled HVAC professionals is on the rise. Hence, training that equips a professional with theory and practice while at the same time, enabling them to apply for certification is always recommended. 

To cater to the expected rise in the demand of HVAC techs, many schools are present in the locality to train individuals for the field. The key is finding the right one and securing a bright future. 

People Also Ask

The above article discusses in detail the requirements for an HVAC certification in Bay Area, California. It also gives a rundown of some of the best schools in the Bay Area, offering extensive and detail-oriented courses in HVAC. 

However, keeping the importance of the profession in mind, there might still be a few aspects that might have remained unanswered. In this section, we discuss some of the most sought-after questions regarding this topic.

How Much Does HVAC School Cost in California?

Different schools have different fee charges for their programs. The fee usually depends upon the duration of the program and the number of courses offered. On average, the programs cost between $900 and $12,000 depending upon the school and the depth of the course.

How Do I Get HVAC Certified in California?

For getting a certification in HVAC in California, the person needs to pass two exams, business and law, and a trade-specific test. Before appearing in the exam, the applicant needs to provide proof of at least four years of working experience in the field of HVAC or an educational or vocational qualification with one year of experience. 

Upon passing the exams, the applicant is awarded HVAC certification by The Contractors State License Board of California.

Is it Worth Going to School for HVAC?

Getting school training for HVAC is always advisable for experienced individuals as well as beginners alike. The school programs impart a deeper knowledge of the design and working of systems, which proves to be helpful in the overall trade. 

Moreover, at school, the students are taught by very well experienced and licensed technicians who teach by simulating real-life scenarios. Additionally, a vocational or an educational certification can contribute to 3 years of qualification experience requirement for HVAC licensing

Is HVAC Training Hard?

HVAC is a profession that requires the utmost education. A professional might need to work odd hours. He or she might have to work in tight, cramped, or dark spaces, under hot or cold climatic conditions, or in vast open spaces. Professionals are high in demand in residential as well as commercial areas. 

HVAC training makes you ready to take on the demanding life of an HVAC tech. It not only imparts physical characteristics in you but also gives you thorough knowledge to carry out your tasks with extreme efficiency.

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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My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.