Schools that teach HVAC provide courses that enable students to test, repair, troubleshoot, and install systems according to local and federal codes. With surprisingly diverse training and career opportunities, HVAC professionals will have intimate knowledge of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration devices.
Some HVAC technicians work as independent contractors, while others are hired by HVAC or repair companies. They work primarily in homes, office buildings, schools, stores, and factories. Regardless of their environment, professionals require hands-on training in working with HVAC systems, as well as understanding local building codes and blueprints.
Are you interested in becoming an HVAC technician? You first need to obtain the required education, including an HVAC license and certification. The following information will cover HVAC school cost and time, as well as what you can expect to learn.
What is HVAC Certification?
Because HVAC systems are complex, employers require job applicants to possess specialized post-secondary training. In addition to a GED or high school diploma, you’ll need to complete either a certificate program or an associate degree in HVAC.
These programs are typically offered at community colleges or vocational schools and will provide hands-on education alongside classroom learning. Newly hired HVAC technicians will begin their careers as apprentices, working with a more experienced colleague before taking jobs on their own.
Along with formal education, most states will require you to obtain a license before working as an HVAC technician. Additionally, if you want to work in refrigeration, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require you to be certified in the proper handling of refrigerants. HVAC school should prepare you to complete this certification. Many employers and associations also offer training programs to help technicians pass this test.
How Long is HVAC School?
Certificate programs on average can be as short as six months and associate degrees typically take up to two years to complete. However, the length of the curriculum depends on what kind of program you choose to complete, as well as your choice in school.
How Much Does HVAC School Cost?
HVAC school costs will largely depend on your location, which college you attend, and which degree program you select. Typically, tuition for certificate programs will cost less than associate degree programs. The average yearly tuition costs for an associate degree program is $3,570 at a public college and $14,587 at a private one. To give you a good idea of the range of HVAC school costs, take a look at a sampling of HVAC school programs across the country:
|Georgia Piedmont Technical College||Atlanta, Georgia||Associate’s Degree||$10,736|
|Ferris State University||Big Rapids, Michigan||Bachelor’s Degree||$13,204|
|Austin Community College||Austin, Texas||Certificate||$7,233|
|Salt Lake Community College||Salt Lake City, Utah||Associate’s Degree||$4,347|
|Indian River State College||Fort Pierce, Florida||Associate’s Degree||$1,235|
|Moraine Valley Community College||Palos Hills, Illinois||Certificate||$4,848|
|Cypress College||Cypress, California||Associate’s Degree||$2,836|
|Monroe Community College||Rochester, New York||Certificate||$4,746|
In addition to tuition and fees for college, you’ll need to plan for licensing and certification fees. State license fees vary by state, with most of them landing between $75 and $300.
What You’ll Learn in HVAC School
HVAC education programs teach students practical knowledge about how to repair and install heating, ventilation air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. Coursework will typically include the following:
- HVAC and refrigeration theory and system design
- Energy management
- Industry code standards
- Ductwork and piping systems
- Climate control
- Air quality
- Facility management
- Licensing requirements and preparation
- Safety practices
- Blueprint reading
- Cutting and soldering pipes
- Basic electrical principles and safety
A Career in HVAC
Because of the growing interest in energy efficiency — both to save money and protect the environment — HVAC is a steadily growing industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the HVAC industry is projected to add 48,800 new technician jobs in the next decade. Employment in the trade is expected to increase by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026. In 2017, HVAC technicians made an average of $47,080 per year.
Working in HVAC will provide an interesting, hands-on career, especially if you are interested in providing solutions for people. The work can be challenging, complex, and varied. If you are interested in landing a job in this field, start by researching and applying to HVAC school programs near you.