Colorado has the second-highest projected job growth rate for HVAC technicians in the nation.The US Department of LaborColorado does not have a statewide licensing or credential requirement for HVAC technicians. If you work as an employee of an HVAC company you are not required by state or local regulations to hold any specific credentials.
However, all HVAC techs who work with common refrigerants throughout the state must meet specific federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification requirements.
Any company that hires HVAC techs sets its own standards for employment. These often include a preference, if not a requirement, for the following:
This can be particularly advantageous because it shows you have experience with advanced concepts and the concrete skills that employers are after, including:
College-based education programs also often include courses that will qualify you for EPA refrigerant certification.
Contractors in Colorado, companies that bid on projects, are also not licensed at the state level. However if you’re aiming to become an HVAC contractor you will likely run into qualification requirements at the city or county levels of government.
Industry Recognized Training and Experience
You can always gain experience by finding an employer who is willing to hire and train you as a greenhorn. However there are also more formal routes to gaining these valuable résumé boosters:
Industry-recognized credentials – These commonly include the following. Check around in your local area to see what employers commonly prefer:
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Industry Competency Exams
- OSHA 10-hour construction industry training
Labor unions and trade associations – These organizations offer HVAC apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs:
- Local Union #58 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and HVAC Service Technicians in Colorado Springs
- Local Union #208 Pipefitters of Denver
- Local Union #9 Sheet Metal Workers in Denver, Lakewood, and Colorado Springs
- Local Union #145 Plumbers and Pipefitters in Grand Junction
- Rocky Mountain Pipe Trades District Council #5 in Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Aurora, and Denver
- Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Rocky Mountain Chapter in Englewood
EPA Section 608 Certification
If you work with pressurized refrigerant you need the federal EPA’s Section 608 certification. There are four types of this certification that depend on what type of work you’ll be doing:
To earn any of these certifications you must pass the EPA exam specific to the certification type. Same-day education and certification programs are common. Check with your local HVAC college program, with your employer, or with the EPA to find out when and where the next nearest training is.
If you are working with motor vehicle air conditioning (MVAC) systems you must complete a separate Section 609 EPA-approved technician training and certification program.
HVAC Contractor Licensing Requirements in Colorado’s Largest Cities and Counties
There are no state-wide licensing requirements for HVAC contractors. You’ll need to check with your local jurisdiction to see what, if any, requirements you must meet when operating your own contractor business.
Here are the largest jurisdictions that have specific HVAC contractor licensing requirements:
HVAC Techs in Colorado Face Staggering Growth
It would be an understatement to say Colorado’s HVAC marketplace is robust.
In the decade leading up to 2022 Colorado is projected to have the second-highest growth rate of HVAC tech jobs in the nation, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the US Department of Labor (USDOL). With a projected rate of increase at 43.5 percent, that amounts to an average of 340 HVAC job openings throughout the state each year.
USDOL also reports HVAC techs in the rural northwest section of the state earn the second-highest average salary of all non-metro regions in the nation. Overall, HVAC techs in Colorado earn the 12th-highest average salary in the nation.
The demand for HVAC technicians in Colorado stands on three important pillars:
Colorado’s deserts, mountains, hills, and valleys have a complex influence on its overall climate, causing extremes in weather that necessitate widespread climate control.
In February 2016 Colorado was second only to Arizona for having the highest combined sector electricity cost from all states in the mountain region. Arizona is the state with the highest projected HVAC tech job growth in the nation.
Whether it be a nod to Colorado’s environmentalists and sustainability streak or motivations for greater energy efficiency, a range of private-sector businesses, utility companies, and government agencies offer incentives and rebates to help businesses and residents afford HVAC upgrades and retrofits. Examples include:
- Boulder County’s low interest loan program to fund upgrades to heating and cooling systems as part of its EnergySmart initiative
- Colorado Natural Gas’ Excess is Out rebate program to fund HVAC efficiency upgrades
- Xcel Energy’s equipment efficiency rebates for businesses
HVAC Technician Salaries in Colorado
Colorado has the second-highest projected job growth rate for HVAC technicians in the nation. In the decade leading up to 2024 the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment estimates these jobs will increase by 43.5 percent. That means an average of 340 HVAC technician job openings throughout the state every year.
Why such a high demand in Colorado? Unique factors combine to make perfect conditions in the state for HVAC technicians:
- Colorado has a relatively high percentage of its population who are environmentally conscious and want the most energy efficient HVAC systems
- Of all states in the Rocky Mountain corridor Colorado has the second most expensive electricity
- Colorado’s climate includes hot summers and cold winters
- Colorado’s tech sector is one of the best in the nation outside Silicone Valley and has a significant influence on the smart HVAC sector
At the state level Colorado offers HVAC technicians the seventh-highest average salary in the nation. This comes out to an hourly median wage of $26.08, which is $54,250 annually. More experienced HVAC technicians – those in the top tenth percentile – earn $76,630 annually (US Department of Labor, 2015).
Colorado HVAC Technician Salary (median)
Colorado HVAC Technician Salary (top 10%)
Demand and salaries are typically highest in the state’s metro areas, however Colorado’s non-metropolitan areas cannot be overlooked. In fact, of all rural areas in the nation HVAC technicians earn the third-highest average salary in northwest Colorado: $56,990 (US Department of Labor, 2015).
HVAC Technician Salaries in Colorado by City
The following salaries are hourly and annual statistics. They are presented as a range between the median and the 90th percentile figures. These salary statistics are sourced from the US Department of Labor in May 2015: