Do you want to be a HVAC technician and want to know the requirement? If YES, here is a detailed guide to getting HVAC certified online and how much it cost.
HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC provides thermal control for indoor comfort, thermodynamics, and heat transfer. It is a system used for moving air between indoor and outdoor areas, along with heating and cooling residential and commercial buildings.
HVAC is not just a warming and cooling system, it improves air quality indoors, it provides comfort, and it controls temperature, humidity, air flow, and air filtering of an environment. To become proficient in HVAC systems, you must have both theoretical and practical knowledge, as both classroom and laboratory lessons are essential for becoming an HVAC technician.
These lessons would include how to read blueprints to install, maintain, repair, and connect wirings on a HVAC system. You will also need to take a certification exam that will test your competencies and skills before you can be certified or licensed. HVAC technicians after receiving technical education are usually advised to seek certification and license in other to offer home repair services. This certification is to show your competence to clients/employers.
Although there is no federal law mandating having certification, it is only advisable because the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2017) states that ‘some states and localities require HVAC technicians to be licensed’. Therefore those who do not go for certification are limited only to a few places to work. Having a certification broadens the scope of your potential.
5 Steps to Becoming a Certified HVAC Technician
The steps to becoming an HVAC technician are:
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.
Getting HVAC Certified and How Much It Cost
Getting a HVAC degree online is more cost effective because it provides flexibility for the student to work while studying. Some colleges like Ashworth college offers professional online certification training in heating and air conditioning which can be completed in six months depending on payment plan.
The cost ranges from $698 to $898. Penn Foster career school also has HVAC technician school which offers HVAC and registration career diploma online which takes five months and it costs $699 to $899 depending on payment plan choice.
A student can get certified in HVAC from the comfort of his home. Studying online helps accommodate your schedule as you have access to your instructors. The cost is much lower and you can earn while learning at your own pace.
Online classes are accredited by the accrediting commission of the distance education and training council (DETC). You are provided with reference manuals, tutorials, study guides and other learning aids to help you with a comprehensive lecture.
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.
Types of HVAC Certification
- EPA- environmental protection agency the only certification by law
- NATE- North America Technician Excellence
- HVAC Excellence
- RSES: Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
HVAC Training Cost
- Training cost depends on the technical school or college.
- HVAC school/ trade school ranges between $1,200 and $15,000 for six to twelve months.
- Community college ranges from $4,868 to $8,614 for six months to two years.
- Apprenticeship $500 – $2,000 for three to five years.
HVAC Certification Cost
- EPA section 608 technician cost $24.95 to $120
- NATE cost $24.95
- RSES cost $25 to $30 for exam and $108 to $128 for membership.