California has the highest employment of HVAC professionals, with 32,640 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, May 2021)
This just proves how in-demand HVAC technicians and contractors are in the state.
So if you’re interested, this page has important information that you’ll find helpful in becoming an HVAC professional in California.
HVAC Programs in California
To learn the trade, you must acquire fundamental knowledge and technical skills in HVAC systems.
You have 2 options:
- Enroll in an approved HVAC program
- Apply for an apprenticeship program
Most aspirants usually choose the first option because…
- It lets them have an HVAC training background
- Employers prefer to accept apprentices who graduated from approved HVAC programs
Listed below are some of the accredited HVAC schools in California that you can consider.
58 HVAC Schools in California
|Ashworth College | Online Training for HVAC||6625 The Corners Pkwy NW #500, Norcross, GA 30092|
|Abram Friedman Occupational Center||1646 South Olive, Los Angeles, CA 90015|
|Antelope Valley College||3041 West Avenue K, Lancaster, CA 93536|
|Anthem College||9738 Lincoln Village Dr., Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95827|
|Baldy View ROP||8265 Aspen Avenue #100, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730|
|Barstow College||2700 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311|
|Brownson Technical School||1110 Technology Circle, Ste. D, Anaheim, CA 92805|
|Capstone College||1110 Titus Street, Van Nuys, CA 92805|
|Center for Employment Training||6853 65th Street, Sacramento, CA 95825|
|Central County Regional Occupational Center||11852 Knott Street, Garden Grove, CA 92841|
|Citrus College||1000 West Foothill Blvd., Glendora, CA 91740|
|City College of San Francisco||50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112|
|College of the Desert||43500 Monterey Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260|
|Commercial Refrigeration School||565 Birch #A, Colton, CA 92324|
|Community Business College||3800 Mchenry Ave M, Modesto, CA 70437|
|Contra Costa Community College||2600 Missouri Bell Drive, San Pablo, CA 94806|
|Cypress College||9200 Valley View Street, Cypress, CA 90630|
|East Bell Facility||1617 E. Ball Road, Anaheim, CA 92805|
|East Los Angeles Occupational Center||2100 Marengo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033|
|El Camino College||16007 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, CA 90506|
|Fresno City College||1101 East University, Fresno, CA 93741|
|Harbor Occupational Center||740 N. Pacific Avenue, San Pedro, CA 90731|
|HVAC-R Training Institute||623 Bangs Avenue, Modesto, CA 95356|
|hvacredu.net (Online Training)||P.O. Box 77, Heron, MT 59844|
|Imperial Valley Reg. Occup. Program||687 State, El Centro, CA 92243|
|Institute for Business & Technology||2550 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95050|
|Institute of Technology - Clovis Campus||731 W. Shaw Avenue, Clovis, CA 93612|
|LA Trade and Technical College||400 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015|
|Lemon Hill Career Center||5451 Lemon Hill Drive, Sacramento, CA 95824|
|Long Beach City College||1305 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90806|
|Los Angeles Trade Technical College||400 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015|
|Merced College||3600 M Street, Merced, CA 94530|
|Modesto Junior College||435 College Avenue, Modesto, CA 95350|
|Mt. San Antonio College||1100 North Central Avenue, Walnut, CA 91789|
|National Institute of Technology||2161 Technology Place, Long Beach, CA 90810|
|North American HVACR Training||2025 W. Park Avenue, Redlands, CA 92423|
|North Orange County ROP||301 S. Acacia, Fullerton, CA 92831|
|Orange Coast College||2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92626|
|Oxnard College||4000 S. Rose Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93033|
|Palo Verde College||811 W. Chanslorway, Blythe, CA 92101|
|PHCC Vocational School-Greater LA Area||2869 Glenview Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039|
|Riverside Community College||4800 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA 92506|
|Sacramento City College||3838 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 92506|
|Sacramento County ROP||10541 Norden Avenue, Mather, CA 95655|
|San Bernardino Valley College||701 South Mt. Vernon Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92403|
|San Diego City College||1313 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101|
|San Joaquin Delta College||5151 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95207|
|San Joaquin Valley College||295 E Sierra Avenue, Fresno, CA 93710|
|San Jose City College||2100 Moorpark Avenue, San Jose, CA 95218|
|Santa Clara Co Sheetmetal Training Center||2350 Lundy, San Jose, CA 95131|
|SDCC-Continuing Ed.||3890 Modoc Street, San Diego, CA 92117|
|Shasta Builders Exchange Training Ctr.||2990 Innsbruck Drive, Redding, CA 96003|
|Specialty HVAC Institute||5250 E. 2nd Street, Benicia, CA 94510|
|Techexcel Career Schools||820 E. Avenue K, Suite A, Lancaster, CA 93535|
|UC Berkeley-University Extension||1995 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94720|
|West Coast Contra Adult Ed||6028 Ralston Avenue, Richmond, CA 94805|
|West Valley Occupational Center||6200 Winnetka Avenue, Woodland Hills, CA 91367|
|Wyotech | Train to be an HVAC Technician||multiple locations, Fremont & Long Beach, CA 94587|
How to Get Licensed in California
In California, HVAC technicians don’t need a state-level license to provide HVAC services.
Rather, it is the HVAC contractors, through the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB), who need one.
CSLB will issue them the Class C Specialty Contractor License: C-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Contractor.
To qualify for this license, you need to meet the following:
- Total cost (labor and materials) of one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more
- Journeyman-level or higher experience for at least 4 within the last 10 years in the chosen classification
Taking the Licensure Exam
After meeting the qualifications, you can proceed with your Original C-20 Exam Application.
To apply, submit the following to CSLB:
- Completed, signed, and dated Application for Original Contractor License form
- Completed, signed, and dated Certification of Work Experience form
- Payment of the required fees
- Application fee – $450 per classification
- Initial license fee
- Sole owner – $200
- Non-sole owner – $350
Once CSLB approves your exam application, you can schedule and sit for the exam administered by PSI.
Here are the exam details:
- You’ll take 3 exams:
- Law and business
- Asbestos open book examination (for new applicants who have yet to take it only)
- Each exam portion will take 3.5 hours to complete and will consist of multiple-choice questions
- Score results will be given immediately after finishing the exam
- If you fail, you have 18 months from the date of application to successfully pass the exam
Submitting to a Background Check
While waiting for your exam, you can complete the fingerprint/livescan for submission to CSLB.
Your fingerprints will be compared to the records of the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether you have a criminal history.
- Make sure to submit your fingerprints within 90 days of receiving the Fingerprinting Live Scan packet
- You must make full disclosure for all criminal convictions you may have regardless of nature and time of occurrence
License Issuance Requirements
After successfully passing the exam, you will submit to CSLB the following:
- Contractor bond or cashier’s check of $15,000
- Bond of Qualifying Individual (if applicable) of $12,500
- Completed asbestos open-book examination
- Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Certification of Self-Insurance of Workers’ Compensation from the Department of Industrial Relations
- Exemption from workers’ compensation, if no employees (C-39 Roofing contractors may not submit an exemption)
- Fingerprinting requirements
- LLC Employee/Worker Bond (if applicable)
- LLC liability insurance (if applicable)
After CSLB accepts your requirements, they will issue the following to show your licensed status:
- Wall certificate
- Pocket card
Your license is only valid for 2 years from the last day of the issued month.
It can be renewed…
- Every 2 years if you have an active status
- Every 4 years if you have an inactive status
To renew, you must submit to CSLB the following:
- Completed and signed renewal form
- Payment of the applicable renewal fees (amount will depend on the business entity and license status)
Eventually, you’ll handle refrigerant-containing equipment in your HVAC work.
These refrigerants are harmful chemicals that can damage the ozone layer, which is why it needs proper and safe handling.
So to ensure you can service and dispose of them, you must get certified.
The EPA Section 608 Technician Certification has 4 types that you can apply for:
- Type I
- Type II
- Type III
To know which type to get and how to prepare for its exam, check out our guide to the EPA certification.
BLS reported the following salary information for HVAC technicians in California:
- Annual mean wage – $61,670
- 10th percentile – $37,200
- 90th percentile – $94,740
Do note that your potential salary will always depend on several factors, like education, experience, certification, etc.
As such, your starting salary may be different from the figures mentioned.
The table below shows the salaries in 10 of California’s cities for your reference.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of HVAC Techs in California