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How Much Does HVAC School Cost?

Last Updated on July 11, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Earning an HVAC certification or degree opens the door to an in-demand career installing, troubleshooting, and repairing heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. But what is the true cost of attending HVAC trade school?

With excellent job growth projected over the next decade, expert HVAC technicians are in high demand across commercial and residential building sectors. Technical training provides the complex hands-on skills, theories, and certifications needed to excel in the field.

This comprehensive guide examines popular accredited HVAC program options, tuition costs, registration fees, tools/supplies, certification exam expenses, financial aid availability, and tips to keep your investment in this bright career path affordable.

How Much Does HVAC School Cost?

Total tuition and fees for top programs can range from $5,000 for basic certificates up to $30,000 for comprehensive associate’s degrees depending on the duration, school selected, and other variables.

Tuition varies substantially based on the type and length of program, school selected, and geographic region. Typical price ranges include:

  • Vocational Technical Schools – $10,000 to $20,000 for condensed programs
  • Community College HVAC Associate’s Degrees – $4,000 to $8,000 per year, so $8,000 to $16,000+ total
  • Accelerated Trade School Programs – $5,000 to $15,000 for shorter certificate courses
  • Online On-Demand Training – $2,000 to $5,000 for self-paced video instruction
  • Employer-Sponsored Apprenticeships – Often little to no tuition cost when sponsored

Carefully weigh program format, duration, and school reputation against the tuition costs. An affordable HVAC education exists for nearly any budget.

The Refrigeration School Inc. (RSI) website provides detailed information on the cost of their HVAC training program. According to the website, the total cost of the HVAC Technician training program is $20,995. This includes tuition, books, tools, and supplies needed for the program. RSI offers financial aid options to help students cover the cost of their education.

The Tulsa Welding School website lists the cost of their HVAC training program as $20,995. This price includes tuition, books, tools, and supplies. The website also mentions that financial aid is available for those who qualify.

The Fortis College offers an HVAC training program with a total cost of $17,995. This price includes tuition, books, and supplies. Fortis College has multiple campuses across the US and offers financial aid to those who qualify.

The Lincoln Tech provides information on their HVAC training program, which costs $21,995. This price covers tuition, books, tools, and supplies. Lincoln Tech has campuses in several states and offers financial aid options to help students pay for their education.

The Porter and Chester Institute lists the cost of their HVAC training program as $19,995. This includes tuition, books, tools, and supplies. The website also mentions that financial aid is available for those who qualify.

HVAC Training Programs Explained

Vocational Technical Schools – Condensed hands-on HVAC/R training programs focusing exclusively on technical skills for the trade. Typically 6 months to 1 year.

Community Colleges – Two-year HVAC associate’s degree programs teaching specialized technical skills plus required general education courses.

Trade Schools – Usually accelerated 9-month to 1-year HVAC diploma or certificate programs tailored for hands-on trades education.

Online Courses – Self-paced interactive HVAC training allowing more flexible scheduling. Requires discipline.

Apprenticeships – Paid multi-year on-the-job HVAC training combined with required classroom coursework. Offered through unions and employers.

Program types, lengths, formats, and training methods vary significantly. Evaluate which model best fits your learning style, schedule, and budget.

Other HVAC Training Program Expenses

  • Books, uniforms, and specialized tools/supplies – $500 to $1,500+ per year
  • Lab material fees for hands-on practicals – $100 to $500
  • Industry certification exam fees – $100 to $500 per test attempt
  • School registration and enrollment fees – $100 to $500
  • Relocation costs if moving for school – Extremely variable depending on location
  • Lost income while attending classes – Highly dependent on personal circumstances

You might also like our articles about the cost of dental assistant school, trade school, or massage therapy school.

Factor all potential direct education costs as well as indirect living and opportunity expenses into your HVAC school budget. Unexpected costs can quickly arise.

Geographic Location, School Type, and Program Length

  • Public state and community colleges are often the most affordable options, especially for in-state students.
  • Location greatly affects pricing, with prestigious urban schools usually costing substantially more.
  • Well-regarded private trade schools and technical institutes may charge higher tuition due to their brand recognition.
  • Multi-year associate’s degree programs entail higher total costs than quick certificate programs due to increased training.
  • Schools with modern training equipment and technologies often price higher.

Carefully weigh tuition against factors like quality, convenience, training methods, and program outcome rates when selecting an HVAC school. Find the best value balancing costs against benefits.

Is Financial Aid Available?

HVAC Training SchoolYes, potential financial assistance to cover HVAC tuition includes:

  • Federal Pell Grants – Up to $6,895 per year based on eligibility
  • Federal subsidized and unsubsidized student loans – Vary based on individual need
  • Military benefits – 100% tuition coverage for active duty through GI Bill
  • Scholarships – $500 to $5,000 partial tuition awards, competitive
  • Employer HVAC training sponsorship – Partial or full tuition coverage
  • Cash payment plans – Interest possible but allows predictable budgeting
  • Grants for women, minorities, and economically disadvantaged – Assistance programs available

Never assume HVAC school is out of financial reach. With diligence, tuition can often be covered through some combination of savings, aid, loans, and scholarships.

Courses and Subject Material

While curriculums vary, most schools cover core knowledge like:

  • HVAC principles – Refrigerant chemistry, psychometrics, fluid dynamics
  • Electrical circuits – Reading wiring diagrams, installing control components
  • Heating technology – Gas, electric, steam, geothermal, solar
  • AC and refrigeration – Ductwork design, heat pumps, commercial cooling
  • HVAC equipment – Installation, repair and replacement methods
  • Testing and diagnosing – Assessing and troubleshooting issues
  • Building codes and standards – Proper permitting, compliance
  • Business practices – Estimating, billing, compliance issues

Both conceptual and hands-on learning build expertise across essential HVAC topic areas.

Credentials and Designations

Typical credentials include:

  • HVAC technician certificate
  • HVAC installer and repairer diploma
  • Associate’s degree in HVAC/refrigeration technology
  • Journeyman HVAC license after on-job hours
  • EPA refrigerant handling certification
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification in specialties

Multiple industry-recognized accreditations signal competence to employers.


The initial monetary investment in pursuing quality HVAC technical training pays sustainable dividends for years through access to a stable, engaging, and potentially lucrative skilled trade career path.

With financial aid availability plus employer-sponsored assistance, the costs of HVAC school prove very manageable relative to the rewards. For those with aptitude, HVAC represents a reliable vocation full of problem-solving challenges. Let diligent financial planning open the door to a brighter future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is HVAC worth getting into?

Yes, the high salaries and excellent job outlook make HVAC a worthwhile and financially stable trade career. Technicians experienced at troubleshooting enjoy the hands-on, logical nature of the work. It also allows going into business for yourself later in your career.

Is HVAC a stressful job?

HVAC work can be physically demanding with long hours at times. Emergency calls in extreme weather and dealing with frustrated homeowners under time pressure contributes to stress. But overall job satisfaction remains high in the trade.

Is HVAC difficult to learn?

HVAC requires continuous learning to build expertise across heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. However, foundational programs teach the essential skills to prepare technicians for entry-level work. Critical thinking is equally key to diagnosing issues. Hands-on experience consolidates knowledge.

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