How to Become an HVAC Technician in Washington

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Want a well-paying career with a strong job growth outlook?

Consider becoming an HVAC technician in the state of Washington.

As their climate and technology advance, computerized climate control systems are becoming more commonplace.

This means there will be ample opportunities over the coming years for skilled service technicians like yourself to keep these complex systems running smoothly.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to launching your new career in this essential field

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How to Become an HVAC Tech in Washington: Step-by-Step

So you’ve decided HVAC is the field for you; now it’s time to pick your path to launch your career.

Most employers will consider applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent under their belt as having the minimum education.

But don’t stop there! Some companies seek techs who have furthered their learning with an associate’s degree from your local community or technical college.

While not always a strict requirement, committing to earn your associate’s degree can seriously pay off.

The added skills and knowledge will make you a more attractive candidate when applying for jobs.

Plus, there are often opportunities for faster promotions and higher pay down the line as you gain experience.

HVAC Technician Schools in Washington

There are several schools throughout the state where you can study to become an HVAC technician.

Here are a few top options:

Bates Technical CollegeBates Technical College

  • Location: Tacoma, WA
  • Time to complete: Certificate (60 weeks); AAS degree (24 months)
  • Tuition costs: Resident ($134.62 per credit); non-resident ($317.69 per credit)

Spokane Community CollegeSpokane Community College

  • Location: Spokane, WA
  • Time to complete: 24 months
  • Tuition costs: Resident ($5,766); non-resident ($8,766)

Perry Technical InstitutePerry Technical Institute

  • Location: Yakima, WA
  • Time to complete: 24 months
  • Tuition costs: $39,400.

Clover Park Technical CollegeClover Park Technical College

  • Location: Lakewood, WA
  • Time to complete: Associate of Applied Technology degree (four quarters); basic HVAC/R service technician certificate (three quarters); refrigeration specialist certificate (two quarters)
  • Tuition costs: Lower division (resident: $111.92 per credit; non-resident: $290.16 per credit); upper division (resident: $219.39 per credit; non-resident: $619.18 per credit)

Apprenticeship Programs in Washington

For those interested in an earn-as-you-learn approach, registered apprenticeship programs are another excellent option for becoming an HVAC technician.

Apprentices work on the job while attending related technical instruction, allowing them to get hands-on experience and earn a paycheck.

Some leading apprenticeship programs in Washington include:

  • Seattle Pipe Trades JATC: A five-year program teaching plumbing, pipefitting, and HVAC. Includes 144 classroom hours per year plus on-site work.
  • Spokane Construction Trades JATC: A five-year apprenticeship covering hydraulics, blueprint reading, and more. Earn while learning with guidance from journey-level workers.

Successful graduates of these state-approved programs earn journey-level certificates that help qualify them for HVAC technician roles and industry-recognized certifications.

Apprenticeships provide another affordable path if you want to jump right into hands-on training.

Research the programs carefully to choose the best school to fit your location and educational needs.

Licensing and Certification Requirements in Washington

So you’ve got the skills – now it’s time to prove yourself with licenses and certificates!

While not 100% necessary in Washington, taking these extra steps will seriously reward your career in HVAC.

When you’re working in HVAC, refrigerants are part of the job.

But did you know there’s an important test you’ll need to pass before touching the good stuff?

The EPA Section 608 rule requires technicians who service equipment using regulated refrigerants to hold certain certifications.

Getting your EPA cert is a major career move worth making.

Refrigerants are involved in nearly every commercial and residential HVAC system out there.

Potential employers want to know technicians are competent and up-to-code.

The main license in WA is your HVAC/Refrigeration Specialty Technician one from the Department of Labor and Industries.

You’ll also need to specialize in an area like heating or ventilation.

Focusing on your skills will make your license much more valuable to companies seeking your specific expertise.

Another industry-recognized certification can boost your career, such as the NATE certification through the North American Technician Excellence program.

School Name Address
Bates Technical College S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405, United States
Spokane Community College 1810 N Greene St, Spokane, WA 99217, United States
Perry Technical Institute 2011 W Washington Ave, Yakima, WA 98903, United States
Clover Park Technical College 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499, United States

HVAC Technician Salary in Washington

The average annual salary for HVAC technicians in Washington is $67,777, with typical wages ranging from $40,000 to $69,000 depending on experience level and employer.

Factors impacting pay scales include:

  • Experience level: Entry wages are around $21/hour compared to about $52/hour for experienced technicians.
  • Sector – Those working in commercial construction saw the highest earnings at around $56,000 versus $50,000 annually in residential work.
  • Location – Salaries tend to be highest in the more expensive Puget Sound region compared to other parts of the state.
  • Skills – HVAC technicians with an associate’s degree, certifications, or specialized skills in areas like commercial refrigeration earn higher salaries.

As the region continues to grow and climate control systems evolve, demand for qualified HVAC technicians in Washington is expected to remain strong.

With experience and ongoing training, you have excellent salary potential and room for growth in responsibilities throughout your career.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Seattle $54,100
Spokane $48,266
Tacoma $52,728
Vancouver $50,950
Bellevue $54,100
Kent $52,623
Everett $53,129
Renton $54,048
Spokane Valley $52,289
Federal Way $54,048

Regional Salary in Washington

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA310$63,000$30.29$92,360$37,920
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA230$61,050$29.35$80,870$45,300
Kennewick-Richland, WA550$63,960$30.75$93,350$39,210
Longview, WA100$60,170$28.93$78,300$40,450
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA110$57,940$27.86$79,800$39,300
Olympia-Tumwater, WA240$63,370$30.47$94,180$39,740
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA3,800$70,410$33.85$101,660$47,090
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA570$58,780$28.26$78,710$39,350
Walla Walla, WA80$57,080$27.44$74,850$40,820
Wenatchee, WA130$55,910$26.88$75,280$38,990
Yakima, WA200$56,750$27.29$74,790$37,820
* 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have better job opportunities based on what part of Washington I'm located in?

Yes, the Puget Sound region, including Seattle and surrounding areas, has high demand due to its large population and economy.

Rural areas have fewer opportunities but may offer a lower cost of living.

Consider job listings and wages in different cities as you plan your career.

Do I need any state-specific certifications besides an HVAC license in Washington?

Not necessarily, though refrigerant handling certification is recommended due to EPA regulations.

Knowledge of local codes is valuable, so curriculum from WA-based schools and apprenticeships covers what’s needed to work in Washington legally and competently.

How does the union's presence affect the HVAC field in Washington?

Unions have a strong presence, so union apprenticeships provide another good route.

While not required, union membership improves earning and benefit potential, especially for large commercial projects.

Consider all the options that fit your situation.

What's the typical climate I'd be working on systems for in WA?

As a maritime northwest state, WA sees mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers.

Systems focus more on comfort cooling compared to extreme climates.

Experience with marine environments is beneficial for areas near coastlines and Puget Sound.

HVAC Technician Info by State

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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