The cost of HVAC school, that is, the cost to receive an HVAC degree, can range anywhere from $1,200 to $40,000 or more.
However, as an average, most people can expect to pay about $16,000 for an HVAC Associate’s degree, which is the standard two-year program that most HVAC technicians choose to receive. The cheapest HVAC school options tend to be technical/trade schools and community colleges.
The importance of HVAC school: Keep in mind that the level of training you receive will help determine the HVAC worker salary you’ll start with. And remember that your HVAC education cost is an investment because current demand for HVAC workers is near an all-time high.
Most HVAC technicians pay around $10,000 to $20,000 for their education. However, student aid and grants can lower the cost significantly. Plus, some employers will pay for their technicians to get more education, which makes them more useful and brings higher HVAC technician salary.
Do you want to find the best HVAC schools in your area? Use the exclusive Pick HVAC School Search Tool below. Just add your zip code, and the list of the top HVAC education schools will show in the list.
The Cost of HVAC School
The cost of an HVAC education can really vary. Different factors that will affect the cost of HVAC school include where you live, which school you choose, and what kind of degree you are getting.
Below is a list of HVAC training options, with the length and approximate cost for each one:
HVAC Technical School/Trade School
Average Cost: $7,400
Length: 9-12 months
At an HVAC trade school or technical school, you can earn an HVAC certificate or a career diploma. It is a shorter program, and may be a good option for you if you don’t have much money to spend on schooling, or want to enter the workforce as quickly as possible.
Cost in-state: Average cost – $5,000 per year
Cost out-of-state: Average Cost – $9,000 per year
Length: 2-Year Associate’s Degree
Average Cost: About $22,000
Length: 2-Year Associate’s Degree
Did you know? Online HVAC school is also an option. It allows you to consider a wide range of schools regardless of where they are located. See our guide to HVAC Online Schools for more information.
Length: 3-5 years of on-the-job training
Did you know? Some employers will cover any apprenticeship costs involved such as getting the proper HVAC certification and licensing because these achievements will make you a more valuable employee. When the HVAC contractor can offer NATE certified technicians to potential clients, for example, they’ll get more of the jobs they bid. See NATE certification information below and what it can do for your career.
An apprenticeship means that you will work with a master HVAC technician, and learn under them for the duration of your apprenticeship. Don’t worry about the longer time frame of an apprenticeship; you can earn wages for your work during this time. This is basically a higher level of learning on the job. You pay for the advantage of working closely with someone who is a master in the field, and learning in a hands-on setting.
An apprenticeship may also include some required coursework for you to do on your own, in addition to on-the-job training. The demand for HVAC technicians is rising across the United States. As technology and environmental awareness progress, there is a growing need for well-trained HVAC technicians who are up-to-date on the latest developments of the field.
Accredited HVAC Schools are Important
Most schools are accredited. This means that an accrediting agency has reviewed the schools curriculum, instructors and other factors to determine that the school meets acceptable educational standards. An HVAC employer, whether a commercial contractor or a residential heating and air conditioning company, will prefer to hire those who have completed their education at one of these accredited HVAC schools.
Use our Search Tool to find accredited HVAC schools in your area. Then select the schools you want more information about.
Is HVAC School Worth the Cost?
How much does HVAC school cost? That’s a question we answered above. Now, how much is an HVAC education worth? That’s how many career-minded people approach education.
HVAC school “pays for itself” in just a few years.
The cost of HVAC school has a great return on investment. In other words, HVAC school is a great idea for anyone who is planning to be an HVAC technician.
Getting trained is the most direct path towards landing a secure, high-paying job in the HVAC industry, because having an HVAC education will ensure future employers that you have the training necessary to do the job right.
As technology improves and new environmentally conscious practices are implemented in the field of HVAC, there is a huge need for technicians with up-to-date training and knowledge of current practices. Additionally, having an HVAC education will increase your likelihood of getting a job that pays well. In general, the higher your education level and number of certifications, the higher income you will have as an HVAC technician.
In short, going to HVAC school and earning a degree is worth it, because it increases both your chances of getting good job offers and your likelihood of having a higher salary.
Demand for HVAC Technicians
Here’s why HVAC school pays for itself – The HVAC industry has a projected career growth of 13 percent by 2028, which is much higher than other fields. The average projected growth for all other fields is around only 5 percent. As you can see, this makes becoming an HVAC technician a strong career choice for aspiring workers.
If you are interested in becoming an HVAC technician, HVAC school is a great investment. At HVAC school, you will learn the basics of the field, and be equipped with the skills needed to enter the workforce as an HVAC technician.
If you have decided that HVAC school is the right move for you, it’s important to learn what to expect financially. This article will explain the different HVAC degrees and certifications available, and the approximate cost of each one.
HVAC Certification and Licensing
Once you’ve earned an HVAC degree, you’re ready to start thinking about different certifications that may be helpful to you in your HVAC career. They will make you more marketable – you’ll be in line for a higher HVAC worker salary.
Not all HVAC certifications are necessary in order to be a successful HVAC technician. However, the more education you have, the more you will stand out to future employers. Certifications are one of the best ways to set yourself apart from others in the industry, and to demonstrate excellence in the field of HVAC.
EPA 608 Certification
This certification allows you to work with refrigerants, and appliances that use refrigerants. The EPA 608 certification is a really good idea for HVAC technicians, and in some situations, it is even a must-have. A solid knowledge of the refrigeration industry and refrigerant science will open up more work opportunities and set you apart from other HVAC technicians, leading to higher-paying jobs in the field.
Types of EPA 608 certification
Type I: Allows you to service small appliances that use refrigerant
Type II: Allows you to service or dispose of high-pressure appliances that use refrigerant, except small appliances and motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs)
Type III: Allows you to service or dispose of low-pressure appliances that use refrigerant
Universal: Includes all three types of service
For each certification, there is an exam that will test your knowledge of the material. For the Universal certification, you will be tested on all three types. The cost for these certifications can vary depending on the testing location where you take the certification exam. However, the normal cost of the EPA 608 certification can range from $20.00 for the Type I exam online, to $150.00 for the Universal certification exam in-person at a testing location.
Did you know? Most large HVAC contractors, both residential and commercial, will pay for or at least help cover the cost of taking these exams. They want their employees to have HVAC certification and licensing that the employer can market to their potential clients.
Core Exam: The core portion of the exam is part of each level of certification, and tests your knowledge of the HVAC basics in any area that could involve refrigerants. Topics you can expect to be tested on during the core exam include Section 608 regulations, safety protocols, environmental effects, shipping techniques, and more.
If you have decided to get your EPA 608 certification, first of all, congratulations! This is a great step for any HVAC technician, and will demonstrate to others in the field that you are serious about excelling in your HVAC career. In order to succeed in the certification exam, you will want to study and practice beforehand. Fortunately, there are practice exams and study guides that can easily be found online for free, and will help you prepare for the exam. Some sections of the exam are open-book, so you don’t have to do too much memorization ahead of time, but it’s still a good idea to be familiar with the information.
North American Technical Excellence (NATE)
Once you finish your education, getting NATE certifications will help you quickly recover the cost of HVAC school and the training you receive there. You might consider the cost of NATE exams as part of the total cost of an HVAC education.
NATE is a non-profit organization that exists to offer certification programs for HVAC technicians that are nationally recognized. NATE offers certifications ranging from an entry-level certificate all the way to a senior-level certification for experts in the field. If you’re wanting to boost your HVAC credentials, earning NATE certifications is a great way to take your career to the next level.
Below are the three levels of NATE certification:
Level 1: Ready-To-Work Certification Exam
This is a $50.00 exam that will earn you a NATE certificate. It is designed for beginner workers who have 0-6 months of experience in the field, and are ready to get started.
Level 2: HVAC Support Technician Certification
This exam is widely recognized and designed for technicians who have 6-12 months of experience working in the field. The HVAC Support Certification lays the groundwork needed for NATE’s professional certifications.
Level 3: Core and Specialty Exams
These exams are for technicians with over two years of experience in the field. In order to become NATE certified, technicians must pass both the Core exam and at least one Specialty exam. There are a variety of Specialty exams to choose from, and depending on which exam you take, you will receive an Installation, Service, or Senior certification specialization.
Bottom Line – HVAC School Cost is an Investment in Your Future
As you can see, there are lots of good options for aspiring HVAC technicians. HVAC school is a great step, because it can provide both more career opportunities and higher career earnings throughout your life. Once you’re finished with HVAC school, going on to complete some HVAC certifications is one of the best ways to excel in your career and set yourself apart from others in the field. In an industry so popular and promising, don’t be afraid to push yourself towards excellence, and to work towards being the best HVAC technician you can be. Your hard work will pay off!