HVAC Classes in California (Top Schools)

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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

School NameAddress
Ashworth College | Online Training for HVAC6625 The Corners Pkwy NW #500, Norcross, GA 30092
Abram Friedman Occupational Center1646 South Olive, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Antelope Valley College3041 West Avenue K, Lancaster, CA 93536
Anthem College9738 Lincoln Village Dr., Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95827
Baldy View ROP8265 Aspen Avenue #100, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Barstow College2700 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311
Brownson Technical School1110 Technology Circle, Ste. D, Anaheim, CA 92805
Capstone College1110 Titus Street, Van Nuys, CA 92805
Center for Employment Training6853 65th Street, Sacramento, CA 95825
Central County Regional Occupational Center11852 Knott Street, Garden Grove, CA 92841
Citrus College1000 West Foothill Blvd., Glendora, CA 91740
City College of San Francisco50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112
College of the Desert43500 Monterey Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260
Commercial Refrigeration School565 Birch #A, Colton, CA 92324
Community Business College3800 Mchenry Ave M, Modesto, CA 70437
Contra Costa Community College2600 Missouri Bell Drive, San Pablo, CA 94806
Cypress College9200 Valley View Street, Cypress, CA 90630
East Bell Facility1617 E. Ball Road, Anaheim, CA 92805
East Los Angeles Occupational Center2100 Marengo Street, Los Angeles, CA 90033
El Camino College16007 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, CA 90506
Fresno City College1101 East University, Fresno, CA 93741
Harbor Occupational Center740 N. Pacific Avenue, San Pedro, CA 90731
HVAC-R Training Institute623 Bangs Avenue, Modesto, CA 95356
hvacredu.net (Online Training)P.O. Box 77, Heron, MT 59844
Imperial Valley Reg. Occup. Program687 State, El Centro, CA 92243
Institute for Business & Technology2550 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95050
Institute of Technology - Clovis Campus731 W. Shaw Avenue, Clovis, CA 93612
LA Trade and Technical College400 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
Lemon Hill Career Center5451 Lemon Hill Drive, Sacramento, CA 95824
Long Beach City College1305 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90806
Los Angeles Trade Technical College400 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
Merced College3600 M Street, Merced, CA 94530
Modesto Junior College435 College Avenue, Modesto, CA 95350
Mt. San Antonio College1100 North Central Avenue, Walnut, CA 91789
National Institute of Technology2161 Technology Place, Long Beach, CA 90810
North American HVACR Training2025 W. Park Avenue, Redlands, CA 92423
North Orange County ROP301 S. Acacia, Fullerton, CA 92831
Orange Coast College2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Oxnard College4000 S. Rose Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93033
Palo Verde College811 W. Chanslorway, Blythe, CA 92101
PHCC Vocational School-Greater LA Area2869 Glenview Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Riverside Community College4800 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA 92506
Sacramento City College3838 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 92506
Sacramento County ROP10541 Norden Avenue, Mather, CA 95655
San Bernardino Valley College701 South Mt. Vernon Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92403
San Diego City College1313 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101
San Joaquin Delta College5151 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95207
San Joaquin Valley College295 E Sierra Avenue, Fresno, CA 93710
San Jose City College2100 Moorpark Avenue, San Jose, CA 95218
Santa Clara Co Sheetmetal Training Center2350 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 Institute5250 E. 2nd Street, Benicia, CA 94510
Techexcel Career Schools820 E. Avenue K, Suite A, Lancaster, CA 93535
UC Berkeley-University Extension1995 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94720
West Coast Contra Adult Ed6028 Ralston Avenue, Richmond, CA 94805
West Valley Occupational Center6200 Winnetka Avenue, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Wyotech | Train to be an HVAC Technicianmultiple 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
    • Trade
    • 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

Renewal Requirements

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)

EPA Certification

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
  • Universal

To know which type to get and how to prepare for its exam, check out our guide to the EPA certification.

Potential Salary

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

City NameSalary
Los Angeles$52,849
San Diego$50,241
San Jose$57,008
San Francisco$58,877
Long Beach$52,102
Santa Ana$52,149
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 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 49-9021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

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