Best HVAC Schools in Tampa – 2021 Guide

Tampa is a Floridian city located on Tampa Bay. It is an important business center that is best known for its museums and cultural offerings. Naturally, locations showcasing artifacts cannot function without proper climate control. 

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is a fast-growing industry across Florida and Tampa is no different. No matter how hard you look, you will rarely come across a structure that functions without HVAC equipment. One of the reasons is its humid subtropical climate. Tampa has two distinct seasons: hot and wet, and mild and dry, so residents cannot do without proper climate control. 

The high number of HVAC installations directly translates to higher demand for HVAC workers. No wonder the field is a great option to start your career in. If you are a Tampa resident who aspires to work as an HVAC tech, we have some good news for you. You don’t need a license to work as an HVAC technician here. But you must have the necessary knowledge and credentialing because this is a risky career. To help you out, we have rounded up the best HVAC schools in Tampa. Read on to learn their facts, figures, and more. 

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How Long is HVAC School?

While you don’t necessarily need a formal education to start your HVAC career, you do need to have the required experience. You can earn this experience by applying for an apprenticeship program. And if you opt for the formal education route, the credit hours and training you earn will also count as experience. Plus, clients prefer professionals with proper accredited education. 

Several educational institutions around Tampa offer comprehensive accredited HVAC programs. They vary in length from seven months to two years. You can enroll in the day program, and if that does not suit you, you can apply for an evening program.

The only thing these educational institutions require is a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate. And the one thing you have to be sure about is the institute’s accreditations. Being accredited means that the school has passed a quality evaluation by an independent agency. These agencies evaluate both the curriculum and instructors, and once satisfied, grant accreditation. When choosing a school for yourself, make sure that it is accredited by a reputable organization.

Multiple industry organizations evaluate and accredit HVAC educational programs around Tampa. These include the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and HVAC Excellence. Together, these organizations have accredited more than ten HVAC programs offered at different schools. The schools we have reviewed are accredited by these renowned organizations. 

Also, if you are planning to work with refrigerants, choose a school that offers to train for EPA Section 608 Certification. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made it mandatory for technicians working with refrigerants to earn it. 

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How Much Does HVAC School Cost?

When we think about formal education, the first thing that concerns us is the cost. All around us, we see top-of-the-line professionals still struggling with student loans. This is not a desirable prospect. Fortunately, in the field of HVAC, the cost is something you don’t have to worry about.

Yes, apprenticeship programs are a great way to learn and earn at the same time, but HVAC schools are not very far behind in supporting their students financially. You can apply for grants, loans, and financial support through your school. Furthermore, for skilled trades like HVAC that are high in demand, the government also offers several grants. And, you don’t have to pay back these grants either, so you can graduate debt-free.

Here is a short overview of the different types of HVAC programs and their costs. 

Certification Programs

These programs last anywhere from six to twelve months. Community colleges usually offer them for $1,200 to $15,000. They are basic entry-level programs. Their cost mostly includes toolkits and exam fees.

Associate Degree Programs 

You can enroll in one of these at a college. The two-year degree program is suitable for technicians who want to learn management skills. They are comprehensive and expand over the basics of HVAC. Including the textbooks, toolkits, and supplies, these programs cost from $15,000 to $35,000. 

Quick Take - Best HVAC Schools in Tampa

Just looking for the top 3 schools in your area? Here are the best HVAC schools in Tampa:

  1. Altierus Career College
  2. Erwin Technical College
  3. Southern Technical College

List of the Top HVAC Schools in Tampa

Tampa is well-known for its humidity. No month is without rain. In summer, the temperature ranges from 70°to 90°F, while in winter, it drops down to around 50°F. You really cannot live in such conditions without HVAC equipment controlling the inside climate. And the industry needs more technicians to install, maintain, repair, and troubleshoot this equipment. You can study to become one by enrolling in any of the following best HVAC schools in Tampa. 

Address: 3319 W Hillsborough Ave Tampa, FL 33614
Phone: 833-692-4264

List of Programs:

  1. HVAC Refrigeration Technician Certificate Program
  2. HVAC Technician Certificate Program

Our Review of the Program

Altierus Career College is a private, non-profit institution. It is a two-year college operating in multiple locations. One of these is Tampa. The institute boasts a 100 percent acceptance rate. The students studying here enjoy the city atmosphere that offers a lot of educational and entertainment experience. 

It has a large city campus that houses spacious classrooms and a training laboratory. The laboratory features a modern setup with all the necessary industry tools and equipment. The students receive hands-on training on professional tools and equipment. These include Commercial Walk-in Refrigeration, Low-Temperature Condenser, Commercial Machine, and Rack Compressor System

It has an amazing full-time faculty percent. You can rely on your teachers to be there for you as the institute has a 100 percent full-time faculty percentage. This is significantly higher than the national average of 47 percent. The student-teacher ratio, however, is 24:1. This is certainly higher than the national average of 15:1, so you can expect your classes to be larger. 

Altierus Career College offers two certification programs in the HVAC trade. These are HVAC Refrigeration Technician Certificate Program and HVAC Technician Certificate Program. You can choose between either of these or even work as both. But you will need to cover some additional coursework first. 

Classes are conducted three times per week and supplemented by online classes and virtual coursework. After completing the 54.5 credit hours, the students receive certification for EPA Section 608 Universal Certification preparation, the OSHA 10-hour Basic Safety Orientation, NCCER Credentials, and Universal R410A.

The program fee is all-inclusive tuition that includes books, test preparation, and fees for NCCR credentials, an Alterius branded shop shirt, and an iPad that is yours to keep after graduating. 

Address: 2010 E. Hillsborough Avenue Tampa, FL 33610
Phone: 813-769-5180

List of Programs:

  1. Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning/Refrigeration Certificate Program

Our Review of the Program

Erwin Technical College is a public vocational school. Also known as D. G. Erwin Technical Center, the school is located right in downtown Tampa. It is part of the Hillsborough County Public Schools system. It is a great institution that has been training people to embark on successful careers in a short time. 

The campus features a two-story main building. All the classes and administrative offices are located there. It has a very modern feel. The overall atmosphere is very calm and peaceful, so nothing can interfere with your learning. The facilities it employs ensure that your stay here is comfortable and your studies are as high-quality as possible.

Erwin Technical College employs highly qualified instructors who are sincere in their job. They are easily accessible and are always willing to help their students. The teacher-student ratio here is 15:1. Since it corresponds to the national average, you can enjoy proper attention and training. 

The school offers one Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning/Refrigeration Certificate Program, but in two shifts. You can enroll in the daytime program or the evening program. Both the shifts have the same coursework, yet their lengths are different. You can complete the daytime program in as little as 15 months, while the evening program lasts for about 22 months

The coursework progresses on Occupational Completion Points (OCP). This means it allows interim designations as HVAC helper, assistant, mechanic level 1, mechanic level 2, and finally, HVAC technician. The program offers 80 percent of hands-on training in the laboratory. The remaining 20 percent is classroom instruction. It also prepares students for EPA 608 certification. The passing out graduates are ready to start working as entry-level technicians. 

Address: 3910 Riga Blvd, Tampa, FL 33619, USA
Phone: 877-347-5492

List of Programs:

  1. Associate’s Degree in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning/Refrigeration (HVACR)
  2. HVAC Diploma Program 

Our Review of the Program

This renowned school has multiple locations operating around Florida. It is a private, for-profit institution that offers multiple diplomas and associate degree programs. The institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). It has been preparing students for entry-level job positions since its establishment in 2001.

The campus in Tampa is modern, flexible, and professional. It is clean and student-oriented. It has a cent percent acceptance rate, so you don’t have to worry about admission. The campus atmosphere is friendly, and the facilities it offers are sure to accelerate your studies. The programs are short and condensed, so you can learn more in little time.

One good thing about studying here is the small class size. The student-teacher ratio is 20:1. Though it is higher than the national average of 15:1, they make up for it with their informed and eligible teachers. They are eager to clear doubts and answer the questions. Even if they don’t know the answer at the moment, they always get back with an answer.

You can choose between two HVAC programs, an associate degree program or a certification program. Both programs focus on nurturing technical and theoretical skills. Though the courses are quite similar, aspirants who want to acquire management skills as well should opt for the associate degree program.

The coursework includes both theoretical instruction and hands-on training experience. Courses on electricity and electronics, HVAC/R theory, motors and controls, HVAC system design, career preparation, commercial HVAC/R, and introduction to building construction are a part of the curriculum. The up-to-date lab they have installed allows students to utilize their knowledge and apply it to different situations.

Address: 9950 Princess Palm Ave. Tampa, FL 33619
Phone: 813-906-5900

List of Programs:

  1. Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Diploma Program

Our Review of the Program

There is one thing all former students of Florida Career College agree on: it is one of the best places to study in the whole state. It is a private, for-profit institution. It offers several educational programs, with associate degrees being the highest degree they offer. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) has accredited this institute. It has been helping students reach their goals for 35 years. 

The campus is very large and modern. Since the college has an open admission policy, you will meet students from all over the country. It has great student services, and the overall environment is fun and friendly. It even provides financial aid to students who need it so nothing can get in the way of their learning.

It employs friendly teachers who are highly-qualified and devoted. They facilitate the learning process with their extensive knowledge of the field and hands-on approach towards training. If you have a problem, they are there for you. The student-teacher ratio here is 15:1. The size is not very big, so each student gets the attention he/she deserves. 

The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Diploma Program it offers is a career-focused training program. This ten-month program prepares students for two professional HVAC Certifications: the EPA Section 608 Certification for Stationary Air Conditioning and Refrigeration and the Universal R-410A Safety Training & Certification. The coursework is a combination of classroom instruction and lots of time in a lab setting. Here, students work with actual tools and practice vital techniques and results. 

Address: 6305 State Road 70 East Bradenton, FL 34203
Phone: 941-751-7900

List of Programs:

  1. Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning/Refrigeration (HVAC/R) Certificate Program

Our Review of the Program

Manatee Technical College is a small public college in Tampa that offers multiple degrees in technical and vocational fields. It operates in three different campuses around Florida. The institution is accredited by the Commission of Occupational Education (COE) and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 

The school is well-known for its big and airy campus with all the latest facilities required for modern education. The staff is cooperative and eager to help. It operates in a peaceful and calm environment so students can learn better. They offer great financial aid programs. It is reported that 92 percent of the enrolled undergraduate students here have received financial help for their education. 

The school has a student-teacher ratio of 9:1, so each student gets individual attention. The teachers here care for their students' learning and push them to do better each day. They even train them to be better people outside of the school too. 

Their Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning/Refrigeration (HVAC/R) Certificate Program is offered in both day and evening shifts, so you can choose to enroll in the shift more suitable for you, though the length of each program is different.

HVAC Schools in Tampa Comparison Table

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  • Only professional gear is used in training
  • Flexible online classes to keep in touch
  • Wide variety of courses to choose from
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  • Short 12 to 15 month courses to get you going
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  • Short part-time technical training available
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  • A wide range of courses available for students
  • You get the essential skills to start a career
  • Many years of training experience from trainers
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  • Many flexible program options available
  • First rate education for everyone
  • Personal training for every student
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  • Easy applying steps to get registered
  • Best advice for your career options
  • A wide range of courses available for students
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What Makes Tampa a Great Place to Start an HVAC Career?

Tampa is an important city in the Sunshine State. It is a tourist destination that is well-known for its attractions. But, this diverse and vibrant city is also known for hot, humid weather, which includes plenty of intense thunderstorms—no wonder the city is a great place to start an HVAC career. Let’s look at some other aspects that make it so.

No License Requirement

The best thing about starting an HVAC career in Tampa is that, as an entry-level technician, you don’t need a license to work. Tampa follows the Florida State regulations and does not license HVAC technicians. But since working with HVAC equipment is somewhat risky, you should have the necessary knowledge. 

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Higher Demand 

Tampa is well-known for its humid subtropical climate. Sitting on the peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, the summers here are characteristically hot. The number of HVAC installations is increasing rapidly, and so is the demand for HVAC workers. 

Tourism

With its rich and diverse roots, Tampa is a center of tourist attractions. Tourists from all over the world visit Tampa to enjoy its beauty and rich history. Places like museums are crowded with visitors day and night. To keep them comfortable, such places require proper climate control and, ultimately, more HVAC workers to keep them in their top working conditions. 

Great Job Outlook and Compensation

According to BLS, the HVAC industry in Florida is growing even faster than the national average. Tampa, being a part of Florida, also has a growing market for HVAC technicians. Their salary is also market comparable with an annual mean salary of $54,816 as of November 2020. Since Floridians enjoy a lower cost of living than the national average, this is a great reason to start your HVAC career here. 

Apprenticeship Programs 

One more reason to begin your HVAC career in Tampa is the multiple apprenticeship programs that the Local Education Agencies (LEA) offer. The Florida Department of Education registers, implements, and oversees these programs. As you enroll in one of these, you are paired with a master-level professional who trains you. This way, you receive hands-on training while earning a small wage at the same time. 

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Job Outlook and Salary For HVAC Techs in Tampa

The job outlook for HVAC techs is prosperous nationwide and in Tampa. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15 percent increase in job openings for HVAC technicians nationwide. This is more than double the seven percent increase reports for all the other occupations across the US. They predict a higher than national increase in Florida with 26.8 percent more opportunities statewide. HVAC aspirants in Tampa are sure to benefit from such a fast-growing industry.

The city itself is a great place to live with lots of attractions and work opportunities. HVAC technicians can progress their careers rapidly. With sufficient experience, they can go on and apply for a contractor license and start hiring other technicians to work for them.

A study reported that HVAC workers with high school diplomas earned $1.6 million in their lifetime. Meanwhile, those who have some certification or college associate degree earned $1.8 million (Education and the Workforce by Georgetown University’s Center 2011),

The average annual salary of an HVAC technician across the US is estimated at $63,990. In Tampa, it reported $54,816 annually as of November 2020. The salary margin is not big as is, but when you factor in the lower cost of living that Floridians enjoy, you will agree this is decent pay. Depending on the experience, the salary you can expect is:

Entry Level: $48,729 per annum 

Mid-Level: $54,816 per annum 

Master-Level: $62,045 per annum

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Conclusion

HVAC is a vast and varied field. The technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining, troubleshooting, repairing, and replacing the equipment throughout its service time. This is a job that requires proper knowledge and training. There are two ways to obtain these, education and apprenticeship. We suggest that you go for education as it has better long-term benefits. 

Tampa is one of the most scenic cities in Florida, with one of the harshest climates. The population here greatly relies on HVAC systems to keep them comfortable. Since the number of installations is high, so is the demand for new talent. 

The institutes we have listed above are the best HVAC schools in Tampa. If you aspire to join the HVAC task force, there is no better place to start your career. We have included all the necessary information to help you pick a suitable one. Act now and start your journey towards a successful career!

Nearby HVAC Schools

Here are some HVAC schools in nearby states: