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List of HVAC Trade Associations

HVAC trade associations offer a plethora of valuable resources to contractors.

When you work in an industry like heating and cooling, you end up operating solo for a good chunk of your days. You may have several people on your team, but you probably only see them at the shop in the morning or evening. Generally, techs go out in the field and don’t see their coworkers for the vast majority of the day. As the owner or manager of your HVAC company, you may not interact much with other HVAC companies aside from going to the occasional trade show. However, there is another way to get involved with the HVAC community–joining a trade association.

What is a trade association?

Trade associations are nonprofit entities that form to promote a specific business interest. Its activities center on improving business conditions across the board, for all individuals in that field as a whole. Note: trade associations do not work on behalf of a single person, but rather everyone in that business.

How is a trade association different from a union?

If a trade association sounds a lot like a union, you aren’t entirely wrong. Both entities work to protect people in an industry. However, unions do a ton of things that trade associations never do. Unions benefit specific individuals (generally their members) within an industry as opposed to the entirety of the industry. They negotiate pay, provide legal advice, and offer benefits like insurance to their members.

HVAC Trade Associations

The HVAC industry has a large number of trade associations. Some of these are location-specific, serving one region, while others have a broader reach. You will also find some that focus on a specific element of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Any organization could be a good one for you to join. You just need to do your research to see which one or ones will benefit you the most.

Here is a list of some of the most popular HVAC trade associations to get you started:

ACCA: Air Conditioning Contractors of America

ACCA is a trade association that focuses its efforts on the “indoor environment contracting” energy–aka air conditioning. It has over 60,000 members. The ACCA does four things. It writes standards for the way indoor environment systems should work, connects contractors with each other, provides business resources, and lobbies on behalf of air conditioning contractors.

ACTA: Air Conditioning Trade Association

ACTA also serves air conditioning contractors. It does less lobbying and more training. ACTA runs a state and federally approved apprentice program for sheet metal and service tech training. It also offers apprenticeship training.

AGC: Associated General Contractors of America

AGC has a very broad focus. It works in building construction, civil construction, and utility construction, so if you take on big HVAC jobs or civil work, this trade association may be a good fit. It offers advocacy as well as education opportunities and conventions where you can network. AGC has 26,000 members, but only around 6,500 are general contractors. More than 9,000 AGC members are contracting firms and there are over 10,500 suppliers and service providers.

AHRI: Air Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute

AHRI represents the companies that manufacture HVACR equipment and lobbies for their interests. It has a certification program that is very well-respected. Around 90% of the HVACR equipment in North America is certified by these guys. They also have several events every year that could be worth your time, such as the massive AHR Expo.

AMCA: Air Movement and Control Association

AMCA is an international non-profit. They work to educate people about air handling systems (including contractors), while working to certify professionals in the field, holding conferences, and publishing research. This trade association is perfect for HVAC pros who want to expand their knowledge of the industry and best practices.


ASHRAE has been around for more than 125 years. It used to be known as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, & Airconditioning Engineers, but in 2012 it rebranded as ASHRAE in an effort to improve its global reach and evolve with the times. ASHRAE’s mission is to advance the fields of heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning. It has more than 57,000 society members and offers over 235 educational courses.

PHCC: Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association

PHCC offers lobbying and training opportunities to its network of more than 65,000 members. It has been around since 1883 and has a long history of benefiting the HVAC industry. In fact, it created the first apprenticeship system in HVAC. PHCC holds several events throughout the year, each in a different region of the United States.

Benefits of Joining a Trade Association

Joining an association is smart because it allows you to stay informed about changes to and within your industry. Members generally receive special newsletters or magazines and they become part of a larger community. Becoming part of a trade organization may also get you access to seminars and conferences that are not open to the public or that cost non-members considerably more. Trade associations also tend to offer opportunities for continuing education within your field, such as training, certifications, and courses.