The HVAC industry is growing across the United States, and mid-sized cities like Pittsburgh have great opportunities for new and entry-level HVAC technicians to enter this profession. As the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average hourly rate for HVAC technicians will $22.07 by the year 2024 and the industry will continue to expand until then and after, the opportunities for employment in this field will only increase.
A HVAC technician is responsible for the installation, maintenance, and replacement of refrigeration, air conditioning and heating equipment. This requires a love of problem solving and ability to pay close attention to detail. As well, HVAC technicians in Pittsburgh need some specialized skills and practical training to do well in the industry. To acquire the right skills and knowledge, there are numerous opportunities for HVAC training in this city.
HVAC Education & Training in Pittsburg
While being a HVAC technician is a hands-on, tactile job, there is need for a significant amount of specific knowledge to do it well. Even though Pennsylvania doesn’t currently have a licensure or certification requirement for HVAC technicians, most people in the field complete some coursework prior to employment. Certification and degrees in HVAC, and specifically for technicians, are available from several schools in Pittsburg, PA, and these schools provide interested individuals with different options for training.
• Brightwood Career Institute: This technical school and training institute offers an accredited HVAC program in central Pittsburg. It is a 48-week, full-time program that focuses on basics of electricity, refrigeration, motors and controls, heating and central air conditioning systems necessary for HVAC installation, maintenance and repair. Brightwood’s courses require both in-class and practical, training hours. Upon program completion the individual receives a certification in HVAC that can assist with employment, and provides the pre-requisites needed to take courses in EPA Section 608 Certification and Certification for Stationary Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.
o Address: 933 Penn Avenue, Pittsburg, PA 15222
o Phone Number: (412)-338-4770 or (866)-536-2023
• All-State Career School: This career school is located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburg. It offers accredited courses in both HVAC and HVACR. Overall, the focus from All-State Career School is on practical training, but the 48-week program also requires in-class hours. Tuition and fees are $17,413, excluding the cost of books or room and board.
All-State Career Schools across Pennsylvania reported a 79% job-placement rate in HVAC and HVACR, with many graduates finding entry-level work immediately after graduation. Graduates receive training on all basic HVAC materials, systems, and equipment, plus leave prepared to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s rigorous standards for HVAC Technicians.
o Address: 1200 Lebanon Road, Suite 101, West Mifflin, PA 15122
o Phone Number: (412)-823-1818
• Dean Institute of Technology: The Dean Institute of Technology, or Dean Tech, offers a 40-week night or 60-week day course in air conditioning and refrigeration technology. Individuals who complete the day course receive an associate in specialized technology degree while the 40-week night course results in a diploma. Dean Tech focuses on the basics of HVAC and refrigeration for a technician to work in either the commercial or residential setting.
o Address: 1501 W. Liberty Avenue, Pittsburg, PA 15226
o Phone Number: (412)-531-4433
• Rosedale Technical College: This technical college is located just outside Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The school provides a wide-range of courses, including automotive technology, electrical technology, and of course, HVAC technology. Their HVAC program provides coursework on both residential and commercial HVAC operation, installation, and maintenance. Upon graduation students receive an accredited associate degree in specialized technology, and have the opportunity to do additional courses for their EPA Section 608 Refrigerant Handling Certification. The HVAC program at Rosedale Technical College is only offered as part of their daytime coursework.
o Address: 215 Beecham Drive, Pittsburg, PA 15205
o Phone Number: (800)-521-6262
Employment & Salary
HVAC technicians in Pittsburg, PA make an average $19.33 per hour. This average salary takes into account both entry-level and experienced technicians in the area, and includes positions across several areas of the industry. A new HVAC technician, who is just starting a first job or only has a few months of experience, will likely make less than this average amount. As practical job experience increase, so does the average salary for HVAC technicians in Pittsburg, PA. The average hourly pay for an entry-level HVAC technician is $11.33, which amounts to an annual salary of $24,429. A technician with 10 years or more of experience is going to earn much more. The average pay for experienced HVAC technicians in Pittsburg is $29.09 per hour or an annual salary of $63,728.
Licensing for HVAC Technicians in Pittsburg, PA
There is no state-required licensing for HVAC technicians to work in Pennsylvania. However, due to this lack of state oversight, several Pennsylvania municipalities and local governments have established licensing requirements and standards to regulate the profession. Pittsburg is one city that does implement a licensing structure for HVAC technicians. However, it is only applicable to technicians that want to become contractors in the industry. In Pittsburg, a HVAC technician must meet specific pre-requisites to apply for a contractor license. These requirements include: at least 18 years of age, have a minimum four years of experience in HVAC construction, and take and pass the International Code Council #670 Certification for Pennsylvania. This is the Standard Master Mechanical Exam for the State of Pennsylvania. The application process also requires payment of $371 in fees and evidence of contractor general liability insurance with the City of Pittsburg as the certificate holder.
Associations for HVAC Technicians in Pittsburg, PA
Several associations related to HVAC operate on the state and national level. In Pittsburgh there is an active chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, which provides nationwide support and programming for HVAC professionals interested and active in contracting work. Within the state of Pennsylvania, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) is focused on sheet metal professionals, including those who specialize in sheet metal installation for HVAC. Specifically, this association accepts individuals from western Pennsylvania who are active in the industry.
The Mechanical Contractors Association of Western Pennsylvania is an association for skilled workers in the areas of HVAC, millwrights, boilermakers, electricians, operating engineers, ironworkers, sheet metal workers, and other laborers in the western part of Pennsylvania. They also provide scholarship opportunities for those interested in skilled training in HVAC and other industries within their territory. Meanwhile the Pennsylvania Air Conditioning Contractors Association is a statewide association specific to HVAC technicians and related professions. As well, some HVAC technicians in Pittsburgh are unionized through the Steamfitter UA Local 449. Not only does the union provide employee representation in the Pittsburgh area, but it also offers a five-year apprenticeship program to become a journeyman in HVAC.
Recently, there has been a noticeable shortage of skilled workers in parts of Pennsylvania. Multiple industries are affected by this drought of skilled professionals, as reported by the Observer Reporter at the start of September, and HVAC is certainly among them. However, employers are still hiring and actively looking for candidates for several positions in HVAC and similar areas. In fact, the Observer Reporter confirmed that there is a massive need for skilled labor in the area.