Do you want to become a HVAC technician? If YES, here are the best HVAC schools & online classes and how much it cost to get trained as a HVAC technician.
The relatively short educational preparation needed to become an HVAC technician has also attracted those who possess the technical savvy and interest to work in this profession. But before you venture into this industry fully, you need to go to a HVAC technician school to get the necessary training.
A certificate or associate’s degree program will teach you how to read blueprints to install, maintain or repair HVAC systems, connect wirings and controls and repair defective parts. It will also prepare you to take the certification exams that will measure your competencies and skills so that you can become certified or licensed.
Note that just like going to college, HVAC technician school is going to cost money. You will be expected to pay your tuition, fees, books and supplies as well as the expenses associated with room and board. How much you pay for college will depend on where you go to school and whether you attend a public or private school and the kind of degree that you will be taking.
It will also matter if you will be taking your degree online or on-campus. Don’t forget that attending a public school as an in-state student will help you save money because of the substantial discounts that are usually given by public colleges to residents.
But, out-of-state students won’t receive this benefit. While private colleges, on the other hand, charge the same fees to all students regardless of residency. Certificate programs that last for only a year or less will certainly be cheaper compared to associate and bachelor’s degrees in HVAC technology. Getting your degree online will also be more cost-effective since the flexibility will provide you with the opportunity to work while you’re studying.
Steps to Becoming a Certified HVAC Technician
Step 1: receive a high school diploma- successful HVAC technicians need to excel in subjects like mathematics, physics and vocational education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends that students complete high school diploma courses in plumbing, and electrical work.
Step 2: complete an accredited HVAC program – some complete formal classroom based training and are accredited by organizations.
Step 3: complete a HVAC apprenticeship: according to bureau of labor statistics, the candidate must go through apprenticeship of at least 3 to 5 years. Apprentices work with trade professionals and in some cases earn stipends during their course as an apprentice. Apprenticeship makes candidates industry savvy in blueprint reading, tools application and safety practices.
Step 4: apply for additional industry competence certification and pass exams. You will be required to take exams like North American technician excellence exams or the federal written EPA certification exam.
Step 5: pursue national and state certification and license. Individuals who work as HVAC technicians need to acquire the license of the state they reside and work.
Table of Content
Best HVAC Schools in the United States
- Altierus Career College
- Cabell County Career Technology Centre
- University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
- Northern Michigan University
- Ferris State University
- Pickens Technical College
- Trenholm State Community College
- Orange Coast College
- Lurleen B Wallace Community College
- State University of New York at Canton
- Moraine Park Technical College
- Southeast Technical Institute
- North Dakota State College of Science
- Bevill State Community College
- Gadsden State Community College
- Wallace Community College
- Pennsylvania College of Technology
- Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
- Chippewa Valley Technical College
- University of Alaska Anchorage
- Copiah-Lincoln Community College
- Baker College
- Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus
- CUNY New York City College of Technology
- J F Drake State Community and Technical College
How Much it Cost to Get Trained as a HVAC Technician
An HVAC certificate costs $1,200-$15,000 and may be completed at a technical school or community college in 6-12 months. Northwest HVAC/R in Spokane, WA, offers a one-year certificate program for $6,500. Dorsey Schools with multiple Michigan locations offer HVAC training for $13,500 for the nine-month program, EPA examination fees and a basic tool kit.
Also, HVAC certificate programs offer basic training in refrigeration, motor controls, heating systems, applied physics and technical math to get students started on the field. Note that an associate’s degree in HVAC Technology costs $15,000-$35,000 and can be completed in two years.
The Refrigeration School in Phoenix, AZ, offers HVAC training via a one-year certificate program for $19,125 or a two-year associate’s degree for $29,420. HVAC apprenticeships typically cost $500-$2,000 and may last 3-5 years.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of America provide a home-study course for apprenticeships at around $512 to $732 per year of the four-year program. Note that the self-study coursework is equivalent to classroom training and should be completed in conjunction with an on-the-job training from an approved employer.
Meanwhile, the Air-Conditioning Contractors of America offers apprenticeships that cost $1,300-$2,000 to cover coursework over the four years. Apprentices may also work under the supervision of an HVAC technician while earning a percentage of a typical wage. Local chapters of national home-building organizations, like the Associated Builders and Contractors, also sponsor HVAC apprenticeship programs. Licensing fees for HVAC technicians are $75-$300.
In Virginia for instance, license fees are $90 and exam fees cost $30- $90. While in Texas, there is a $50 application fee, $90 exam fee and a $115 license fee. After one year, the license must be renewed for $65. Certifications are offered by North American Technician Excellence, with an exam cost of $155 -$205.
The fee and content of this exam varies by state. Some states require HVAC technicians to have completed an apprenticeship program or 2-5 years of work experience to be licensed.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certifies technicians to handle refrigerants, with a cost of $40-$240. Additional costs for HVAC students range from $500 to $1,000 for books and supplies and $5,000-$10,000 per year for housing and food.
Goals of Enrolling In an Online Class
- To obtain the basic training necessary to enter the HVAC field.
- To increase knowledge and quality for more career opportunities and better pay.
- Prepare for industry sponsored and government mandated certification exam on HVAC.
Online HVAC classes teach some essential skills such as:
- design and installation of system that fits manufacturer specification.
- Handling refrigerants in compliance with environmental protection agency guidelines.
- Test electrical circuits and measure voltage
- Install and repair motors, ducts, and compressors
- Communicate with customers and supervisors and peers
- Safety on job site
They are also provided with essential knowledge such as system design, electrical wiring and conduit convection, radiation, refrigeration, heat pump operation, compressor operation, super heating and super cooling. Because it is an online course which is short, applied theory is one main focus.
Certificate requirement: online HVAC schools help students prepare for license and certification exams. An HVAC certificate from one of these agencies is highly regarded.
- NATE: North American Technician Excellence
- AHRI: Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute
- HVAC Excellence
- EPA section 608 refrigerant testing
When an online training is completed, HVAC apprenticeship comes next to get hands-on training; this is aimed towards achieving certification. After completing the apprenticeship program, certification exams need to be taken to launch out as an HVAC professional. It takes between six months to two years to earn a certificate.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Online HVAC School
- Find a school that offers both certificate and training
- Make sure the class prepares you for the special exam required by the environmental protection agency.
- Look for a school that offers these agency certifications; North America technician, HVAC excellence, the national occupational competency testing institute, and the refrigeration service engineer’s society.
Note that the path through a career in HVAC is never as linear as it sounds, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be confusing or difficult. Have the right preparation and the right experience, will ensure you’re never confused of what your next step should be. Take your time to analyse your skill set and the needed requirement in your area.