HVAC Education and Training Requirements in Nevada
Undergraduate Education Options
For Nevada residents looking to become licensed HVAC technicians, there are certain steps to take, starting with choosing a Nevada HVAC training program and enrolling. There are seven HVAC schools in Nevada that offer specialty training and certification in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. These programs range from 6 months to 2 years in length. The Nevada schools range from community colleges, like Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, to technical schools, like the Advanced Training Institute in Las Vegas, so figuring out which program is right for you is important before enrolling. Employers like to see certificates and associate degrees, backing an HVAC technician’s capabilities. The salary of a Nevada HVAC technician is often times determined both by type of degree earned, as well as the number of years’ experience.
There are also certain HVAC license and certification requirements in Nevada, which some schools can get you started on. For instance, Career College of Northern Nevada’s program prepares students to sit for the EPA Section 608 certification exam. The National Technical Institute in Henderson, Nevada actually includes the EPA 608 Universal Certification Exam as part of their 4-month certification program. And Quality Technical Training Center in Las Vegas offers a $150 EPA preparation course that includes a review class, study booklet, and the test fee itself.
Training and Education
Students enrolled in a Nevada HVAC training school will study topics such as motor controls, the basics of electricity, industrial refrigeration systems, and of course trouble shooting, maintenance, and installation on HVAC systems. Some schools require a high school diploma or GED to enroll in courses, and others only require it if a student is declaring a degree program. For instance, Truckee Meadows Community College does not require students to have a HS diploma/GED unless they are formally declaring a major. In general, the trade schools that do not offer actual degrees tend not to require high school diplomas, and in fact even welcome high school students wishing to take courses alongside their high school curriculum.
Some of the shorter programs may cover the more basic aspects of an HVAC career, while the 2-year programs have more time to get into in-depth studies. For instance, the Career College of Northern Nevada has a program which includes 99 credit hours of HVAC and refrigeration coursework, taught by service technicians. Some of the courses include fundamentals of HVAC/R, electrical theory and application, refrigeration systems, and heating systems. Vice versa, the Quality Technical Training Center in Las Vegas’s program is completed in only 3 months (144 hours), and includes such classes like Fundamentals of Refrigeration, and courses on heat pumps, troubleshooting, and electrical heating and cooling systems.
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Another route is to obtain an apprenticeship. The Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner states that apprenticeships are designed to be supervised training programs, which result in the certification of a trade or craft. The idea is to combine hands-on, real-job training with class time education and coursework. The Nevada State Apprenticeship Council regulates all apprenticeships in Nevada, including the HVAC programs. HVAC apprenticeships in Nevada do require all applicants to be 18 years or older and hold a high school diploma or GED (or obtain one within a year of enrolling, if beginning the apprenticeship before graduation.)
Apprenticeship programs last from one to five years, during which the apprentice attends in-class courses while working in the HVAC industry under licensed and trained professionals. On average, an HVAC apprentice will earn about 40% of the wages of an HVAC journey worker. Most apprenticeship programs will advance the pay rate over time, as the apprentice progresses in training and experience.
The two Nevada Department of Business and Industry registered apprenticeship programs are:
No. Plumbers Local 350 JATC
1150 Greg Street, Sparks NV 89431
So. Plumbers Local 575 JATC
750 Leigon Way, Las Vegas NV 89220
Licensing & Certification Exams
There is not a country-wide standard for HVAC technicians in terms of licensing, although many states have their own specific requirements. In the state of Nevada, there is a general State of Nevada licensing exam which is required of HVAC contractors and supervisors to take and pass. This license is necessary for an HVAC journeyman who is in the position of supervising the HVAC work being done on a site. This exam is called the Nevada State Contractors Board, and costs $300 to take. After the application is approved, and before the license is issued, there is a required $600.00 biennial licensing fee which the technician must pay.
Some HVAC mechanics may choose to test for the Clark County, Nevada, Journeyman HVAC Mechanic Card. A Nevada HVAC technician who passes this test and holds this card receives the title “Journeyman HVAC Mechanic,” and is considered highly qualified to work in all areas and aspects of HVAC mechanics. The exam costs $100 and must be taken every 3 years to renew one’s license. The exam is based on mechanical code requirements taken from the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and tests a technician’s knowledge of his trade and associated coding. There is disciplinary action if a card holder does not comply with the card requirements, which starts by a verbal warning and can eventually result in a misdemeanor if not resolved.
There is one national requirement for certification which has to do with adhering to federal standards for ozone protection. In Section 608 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Air Act, it requires all technicians to be certified in order to work on refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Any type of refrigeration or AC work, including repairs, servicing, maintenance, and disposal, falls into this category. The certification involves sitting for and passing the EPA Refrigerant Certification (Section 608) test. Schools like Quality Technical Training Center in Las Vegas have a program that focuses on preparing students and technicians for all material covered in the test. QTTC’s program takes place on Saturdays, and costs $150. This includes a study booklet, the review class and the cost of the test itself. To sit for the EPA test is usually around $30-60, depending on where it is done. Most of the Nevada schools prepare students to sit for this exam.