HVAC is short for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. Some experts call it HVAC/R, with the extra R added to represent refrigeration. The HVAC or HVAC/R technician is the expert you call to service your refrigeration and HVAC equipment. This includes not only maintenance work, but also repair work and installation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, this field is seeing promising job growth. Experts talk about an expected growth in employment in this field of about 15% by 2026. This growth is due to how popular sophisticated climate-control systems are becoming and how strong the residential and commercial construction industry is.
So for people who are interested in going for an HVAC career, how much does the HVAC school cost? Below, you will find the expenses of becoming an HVAC technician.
How Much Does HVAC School Cost?
The HVAC school cost is anywhere between $500 and $35,000, depending on how and where you get the training. Some programs will allow you to enter the workforce faster, as they are shorter, but they will also cost slightly more. Other options, although take more to complete, will let you earn money while you get your training. Let’s go over each of the options:
- Cost: The average national cost of public community college is around $4,900 per year if you’re an in-state student and $ 8,600 if you’re an out-of-state student. Private colleges, on the other hand, have an early tuition cost of roughly $15,500 per year.
- Work opportunities: Students will usually have to go for a full-time enrollment if they want to complete an associate degree program in two years. There are some schools that enable you to take fewer classes per semester as long as you work part-time.
- Length: Certificate programs will usually take less than a year to complete, while associate degree programs take two years. It’s a lot more common for community colleges to have associate degree programs.
- Cost: The typical HVAC certificate has a cost between $1,200 and $15,000. The price tag differs depending on the program and what it offers. For example, you can get a tool kit and EPA examination fees when enrolling in more costly programs. You will spend between $15,000 and $35,000 to get an Associate degree in HVAC technology.
- Work opportunities: If you’re going for a program with a more flexible schedule you might be able to work while you’re in school. Shorter certificate programs, on the other hand, enable you to begin an entry-level job faster, as they require a shorter time to finish your training.
- Length: An associate’s degree program will usually take two years, while a certificate degree program will only last six to twelve months.
- Cost: The usual HVAC apprenticeship costs between $500 and $2,200.
- Length: The usual HVAC apprenticeship lasts between three and five years.
- Work opportunities: When you are an apprentice, you will earn a percentage of the typical wage, while working under the supervision of an experienced HVAC technician. You will also have to complete the necessary coursework at home.
How much does HVAC Certification cost?
Before you can perform the specific HVAC job duties, you will have to get certifications and licenses as an HVAC technician. You can also improve your career prospects and boost your resume by obtaining industry certifications.
Industry certifications: HVAC Excellence, North American Technical Excellence (NATE), as well as other HVAC organizations provide different certifications. The type of certification you’re looking for will dictate how much each exam will cost.
EPA Section 608 Technician Certification: You can’t be a technician handling ozone-depleting refrigerants without being EPA-certified. Depending on the type of appliance you want to service, there are four types of certification you can obtain. Their prices will vary depending on the testing site, the needed study materials, as well as the type of certification.
The HVAC Career Path
You will need postsecondary when you want to start an HVAC career. With HVAC systems becoming more and more complex, employers will also look more for candidates with formal HVAC training. Here are the steps to becoming an HVAC technician:
High school diploma/GED certificate
The minimal educational requirement when enrolling in postsecondary training is a high school diploma or an equivalent to this. You will start the HVAC training by getting a GED certificate or finishing high school.
As an aspiring HVAC student, you can choose to enroll in a postsecondary skilled trades training program from an HVAC trade school. Both community colleges and vocational schools offer HVAC training programs. You can even choose to learn the trade through on-the-job training and apprenticeships.
Certifications & Licenses
You will need to get a license to start working as an HVAC technician, but the requirements to get the license, as well as the fees will differ by state. You will also have to obtain the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 Technician Certification if you plan to also work with ozone-depleting refrigerants. There are other industry organizations that offer certifications for HVAC techs.
The cost of HVAC school is anywhere between $500 and $35,000, although this will depend largely on the licenses and certifications you want to get and the educational route you choose. There are HVAC training programs that have EPA exam fees already included in their tuition fees. Don’t ignore the costs of supplies and books, as well as room and board, which will also add to the final bill.