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.
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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.
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|
Regional Salary in California
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|El Centro, CA||140||$64,860||$31.18||$101,120||$36,940|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||10,780||$68,680||$33.02||$106,030||$40,080|
|Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA||780||$60,370||$29.03||$81,540||$37,710|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||5,510||$56,730||$27.28||$80,210||$36,870|
|San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||3,950||$64,420||$30.97||$95,860||$38,120|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||4,540||$80,300||$38.61||$128,960||$47,560|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||2,310||$88,990||$42.79||$148,370||$48,830|
|San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA||260||$61,170||$29.41||$93,150||$37,710|
|Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA||160||$72,060||$34.65||$105,510||$45,620|
|Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA||410||$65,260||$31.37||$99,000||$38,090|
|Santa Rosa, CA||550||$68,780||$33.07||$100,320||$46,030|
|Yuba City, CA||80||$59,080||$28.4||$78,220||$37,240|
* 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.
- 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.
|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|
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:
- Law and Business exam
- 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
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.