The Best Schools and Programs for HVAC Technicians
Careers in HVAC—heating, ventilation and air conditioning—are both skilled trades and high-tech jobs. This means that to become an HVAC technician you need both hands-on training and classroom instruction. The instructional part of your training can come from a post-secondary program at a community or technical college and is usually in the form of a two-year associate degree. There are many programs available, so take care in choosing the one that will serve you best.
How to Choose the Best HVAC Program
There are many factors to consider when choosing a program for learning to be an HVAC technician. You have a lot of options, because many schools now offer great degree programs that can launch your career. Consider factors like location, tuition and whether or not you meet the requirements to be accepted to a program.
Other important considerations should include the degree of hands-on learning offered and whether or not there is an apprenticeship component or assistance with placement as an apprentice. Some programs will culminate in national certification or EPA 608 certification for working with refrigerants, which may help you land a job after graduation. Check out what schools have to offer before making your choice.
Accredited HVAC Programs
Another important consideration when choosing the best HVAC programs is accreditation. This is a distinction that ensures the education you’ll get from the program is comprehensive, appropriate and high-quality. Here are some of the programs accredited by the leading agencies, HVAC Excellence and PAHRA, the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation:
- Mount San Antonio Community College, Walnut, CA. Both PAHRA- and HVAC Excellence-accredited, this program in the Bay Area reaches many students. The air conditioning and refrigeration technology associate degree program prepares students to begin working in HVAC and includes both classroom instruction and hands-on training. Graduates are connected to professionals in the industry to help them land their first jobs.
- Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana. Ivy Tech’s programs are accredited by HVAC Excellence. They are offered at campuses around the state, including South Bend, Bloomington, Evansville, Lafayette, Muncie and Terre Haute, to give more students access. The HVAC program at Ivy Tech includes classroom learning and lab training. Graduates earn national certification.
- Central New Mexico Community College, Albuquerque, NM. Central New Mexico’s HVAC program is accredited by both agencies and includes the option to earn a certificate in residential or commercial HVAC or to earn a two-year degree. Students are prepared for entry-level jobs after graduation.
- University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, OH. This school offers a degree program in HVAC and refrigeration that is accredited by HVAC Excellence and by PAHRA. Most graduates, 87 percent, are either employed in the industry or furthering their educations. Class sizes are small, and 70 percent of the coursework is done in a hands-on setting.
- College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas and Henderson, NV. The HVAC Excellence-accredited programs here offer students the chance to earn one of several different certificates and degrees. These include topics like food service refrigeration, central plant air conditioning technology, critical systems and general air conditioning technology. Graduates earn their EPA 608 certification as well as an HVAC employment readiness certification from HVAC Excellence.
These are just a handful of the proven, high-quality schools and programs for learning to be an HVAC technician. Don’t forget that apprenticeship programs are another option for getting into this career. A good apprenticeship program will offer you both the classroom instruction and the hands-on training you need to learn this skilled trade. When choosing the right program for you, consider personal factors like cost and location, as well as accreditation and other professional factors.