HVAC Schools in California (Top Programs Listed)

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HVAC Schools in California

The HVAC industry is quite lucrative in California, offering a rather steady work-field.

If you feel this profession is your calling, check out the steps you need to take in order to work in HVAC.


In California, this type of technician earns on average $52,105 per year, while the highest salaries reach $59,043 per year.

The national average salary for this occupation is lower than in California, $46,648 per year.

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The highest salary at a national level is also lower than in this state: $52,858 per year.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles $52,511
San Diego $50,154
San Jose $58,543
San Francisco $58,450
Long Beach $52,012
Fresno $46,741
Sacramento $50,421
Oakland $55,277
Santa Ana $52,059
Anaheim $52,129

Regional Salary in California

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA910$60,840$29.25$90,350$37,430
Chico, CA180$55,120$26.5$78,820$38,200
El Centro, CA140$64,860$31.18$101,120$36,940
Fresno, CA1,040$61,380$29.51$95,220$38,130
Hanford-Corcoran, CA80$66,200$31.83$95,710$46,590
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA10,780$68,680$33.02$106,030$40,080
Madera, CA110$59,290$28.5$79,790$37,620
Merced, CA150$58,150$27.96$77,620$38,440
Modesto, CA450$62,560$30.08$96,960$39,400
Napa, CA120$63,190$30.38$84,960$45,970
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA780$60,370$29.03$81,540$37,710
Redding, CA160$57,060$27.44$77,180$37,580
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA5,510$56,730$27.28$80,210$36,870
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA3,110$66,380$31.91$101,750$38,650
Salinas, CA310$61,680$29.65$83,070$38,690
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA3,950$64,420$30.97$95,860$38,120
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA4,540$80,300$38.61$128,960$47,560
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA2,310$88,990$42.79$148,370$48,830
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA260$61,170$29.41$93,150$37,710
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA160$72,060$34.65$105,510$45,620
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA410$65,260$31.37$99,000$38,090
Santa Rosa, CA550$68,780$33.07$100,320$46,030
Stockton-Lodi, CA480$62,960$30.27$92,350$37,580
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA500$61,030$29.34$85,230$39,100
Visalia-Porterville, CA390$55,620$26.74$81,710$35,780
Yuba City, CA80$59,080$28.4$78,220$37,240
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers, OCC Code 49-9021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to get an HVAC license in California

In this state, the licenses are issued by The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and entering the field is easier than in other states.

Although no education is needed for an HVAC license, you still need to meet some requirements.

These are:

  • Experience of at least 4 years in the field working as a journeyman
  • Job experience as a supervisor, contractor or owner-builder is also accepted
  • Apprenticeship experience only is not accepted for this license

While education may not be required, an apprenticeship program will help you transition into journeyman work.

If you want to go through an educational program instead, you can check the list of schools below, however, you’ll still have to go through an apprenticeship period after you graduate.

School Name Address
Antelope Valley College 3041 West Ave K Lancaster, California 93536
Brownson Technical School 1110 Technology Cir Ste D Anaheim, California 92805
CET 49-111 Highway 111, Ste. 5 Coachella, California 92236
Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center 5451 Lemon Hill Ave Sacramento, California 95824
Charter College 27125 Sierra Hwy Ste 329 Canyon Country, California 91351
Citrus College 1000 W Foothill Blvd Glendora, California 91741
City College of San Francisco 50 Phelan Ave San Francisco, California 94112
College of the Desert 43-500 Monterey Ave Palm Desert, California 92260
College of the Sequoias 915 S Mooney Blvd Visalia, California 93277
Cypress College 9200 Valley View Cypress, California 90630
El Camino Community College District 16007 Crenshaw Blvd Torrance, California 90506
Fresno City College 1101 E. University Ave Fresno, California 93741
Imperial Valley College 380 E. Aten Road Imperial, California 92251
Institute for Business and Technology 2400 Walsh Avenue Santa Clara, California 95051
Institute of Technology, Inc 564 W Herndon Clovis, California 93612
Laney College 900 Fallon Sreet Oakland, California 94607
Long Beach City College 4901 E. Carson St. Long Beach, California 90808
Mayfield College 35-325 Date Palm Dr Ste 101 Cathedral City, California 92234
Merced College 3600 M St Merced, California 95348
Mt. San Antonio College 1100 N Grand Ave Walnut, California 91789
North American Heating & A/C Training Center 2025 W Park Ave Redlands, California 92373
Orange Coast College 2701 Fairview Road Costa Mesa, California 92626
Riverside City College 4800 Magnolia Avenue Riverside, California 92506
Sacramento City College 3835 Freeport Blvd Sacramento, California 95822
San Bernardino Valley College 701 South Mount Vernon Avenue San Bernardino, California 92410
San Diego City College 1313 Park Boulevard San Diego, California 92101
San Diego Continuing Education 4343 Ocean View Blvd San Diego, California 92113
San Joaquin Delta College 5151 Pacific Ave Stockton, California 95207
San Joaquin Valley College 10641 Church St Rancho Cucamonga, California 91730
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This can be later used to apply for the HVAC license.

If you are an owner-builder, you will need to provide proof of skill along with a filled-in Construction Project Experience form.

Getting Your Experience Verified

A supervisor or any individual who you worked within the industry should fill in the Experience Certification section in the form.

Any experience you claim must be backed up by papers that prove it.

Educational Qualifications Credit

If you have a technical degree, it can be a substitute for 3 years of work experience.

However, you will also need one year of practical job experience.

Applying for the exam

You will receive a notification about the exam taking place at least 3 weeks before.

The centers are located in San Diego, San Bernardino, Norwalk, Oxnard, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, and Fresno.

The location you choose should be based on your zip code.

Attending the HVAC certification exam

This exam lasts for 3.5 hours, has multiple choice questions and is split into 2 parts:

  1. Law and Business exam
  2. HVAC trade-specific exam

In order to get licensed, you have to pass all sections of the testing,

The exam is open book and reference books will be provided to you in PDF format.

The testing must be attended within 1.5 years of submitting an application.

You can retake the exam for a fee of $60 if you didn’t make it the first time.

How to receive your license

The results of the exam are available on the same day.

After passing the test, you need to follow the next steps to get your license issued:

  • Pay a licensing fee of $180 and renew it every other year
  • Submit a bond of $180,000
  • Provide a $12,500 Qualifying Individual bond
  • Submit your Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Provide LLC Employee/Worker Bond and LLC liability insurance
  • Adhere to the fingerprint requirements

After complying with all the requirements, you will receive:

  • A wall license that includes your certification number and its classification.
  • A pocket card made of plastic highlighting your license number, the name of your company, classification, and the date when your license expires

Final Considerations

As the California requirements aren’t as strict as in other states, you can get your HVAC license easier.

All you have to do is prepare accordingly using the manuals and enrolling in a class.

USA HVAC Schools by City

USA HVAC Schools by State

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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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