The field of HVAC is a great one to enter right now, as the demand for HVAC technicians in the United States is rising at a strong pace. And HVAC worker salary is growing too, especially for those who complete their training in one of the OH accredited HVAC schools.
If you are looking for a stable career in a growing and competitive field, becoming an HVAC technician might be the right move for you.
HVAC schools in Ohio are training students to have a well-rounded education in all things HVAC, preparing workers to enter into the field who are skilled and eligible for high-paying jobs.
This page is designed to give you all the information you’ll need to know about accredited HVAC schools in Ohio, HVAC worker salary, and HVAC certification and licensing. There is also a tool to help you search for accredited HVAC schools in Ohio.
- What Is HVAC/R?
- Demand For HVAC Technicians in Ohio
- Becoming an HVAC Technician in Ohio
- Differences Between HVAC Certification and Licensing
What Is HVAC/R?
HVAC/R is an acronym that stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration.
Not all HVAC technicians do refrigeration work, as there are some added requirements. There will be more information about refrigeration provided later on in this article.
HVAC technicians focus on installing and repairing heating and air conditioning systems for HVAC companies, commercial or residential companies, construction companies, etc. These companies can be large commercial organizations or small neighborhood businesses, but they all need HVAC technicians to do the work in which they specialize. Many HVAC technicians are also hired for the maintenance and upkeep of the HVAC system in a large building like a school, hospital, or office. Some HVAC technicians prefer to work for themselves, and go into business offering their skill and expertise to companies and customers of their choosing.
Many Career Options
HVAC technicians will often have specific areas of focus. For example, an HVAC technician might specialize in boilers, and only work on the installation and repair of boilers. Another might exclusively install new equipment, without offering repair or diagnostic services.
Some might prefer to only work with equipment that uses refrigerant. These are all areas of specification that are up to the HVAC technician to choose. If you are planning to go to school for HVAC, different areas of specification are something you can expect to encounter and consider during your education. You don’t have to choose an area of specification, but it is good to be aware of your options so that you can choose what makes the most sense for you.
Demand For HVAC Technicians in Ohio
HVAC is a rapidly growing field. As populations around the nation rise, the demand for HVAC technicians is rising along with them. Ohio is one of the best places in the nation to be an HVAC technician, because there are very few restrictions on what certifications the state requires. For instance, unlike many states, Ohio does not require any licensing at the state level. This makes Ohio a great state for a career in HVAC, especially when combined with the fast-growing demand for more HVAC technicians. By 2028, Ohio is projected to have a 13% growth increase in HVAC careers.
HVAC Technician’s Salary In Ohio
As of 2019, the average annual HVAC worker salary for a technician in the state of Ohio was $48,350. This comes out to an hourly wage of about $23.24. This is just an average, and the actual pay you can expect will depend on your qualifications, skill, and experience. An entry-level HVAC technician might start at a wage closer to $30,000 per year. A skilled and experienced HVAC tech in Ohio could make an annual salary of $70,000 or more. If you become an HVAC Journeyman, a highly trained HVAC technician with a range of HVAC certification and licensing, you will have an even higher earning capacity.
For more information on HVAC worker salary in Ohio, check out this ONet page.
Becoming an HVAC Technician in Ohio
There is more than one way to become an HVAC technician. Some HVAC companies offer opportunities to become an apprentice or intern, and to learn the trade through hands-on learning and experience. Some people who aspire to become an HVAC technician may try for an entry-level job at a smaller HVAC company, and eventually work their way up.
However, the most secure and highly recommended way to become an HVAC technician is to go to an accredited school’s HVAC training program, and earn an Associate’s Degree. If your end goal is to have a secure job with a high-paying salary in the field of HVAC, this is probably the best move for you. This is something you can do as soon as you are finished with highschool or have acquired a GED. There are many places that offer HVAC training, including trade schools, community colleges, public and private universities, and even online.
HVAC Training School Cost
An Associate’s Degree is a two-year program that can range in price. The cost of your HVAC education will depend on your school. At a community college, you will be able to find a relatively inexpensive training at around $7,000-$10,000. If you go to a trade school or a university, an HVAC Associate’s Degree may be more in the $20,000-$40,000 range.
If this sounds daunting to you, don’t worry! There are scholarships available for HVAC students, and you always have the option to take out a student loan for your HVAC education, to be paid back once you are graduated and working in the field.
An Associate’s degree is the basic HVAC training. This is a two-year program that will prepare you for work in the field, and equip you with all the knowledge you will need in order to find work in the HVAC industry.
There is also a four-year Bachelor’s degree in HVAC. This is the highest degree you can attain in the HVAC field. Only five percent of people working in HVAC hold this degree, so it is eye-catching to potential employers and leads to higher HVAC worker salary and benefits! Some HVAC technicians earn their two-year Associate’s degree and then work in the field for a while gaining experience, and return to earn their Bachelor’s later on.
Earning a Bachelor’s in HVAC is not at all necessary, but if this is something you are interested in, there are some great benefits.The first, of course, is the ability to stand out among other HVAC technicians, in order to get better jobs. Another benefit of earning a Bachelor’s degree is all of the specialized training you will receive. In addition to the basics of HVAC training that you will have already received, you will be trained in subjects of higher complexity, such as energy audit and analysis, environmental impacts, alternate sources for heating and cooling, and contracting.
Is an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in HVAC Really Necessary?
While it is not necessary to earn an HVAC degree, it will help you immensely in your career. Because HVAC is a rapidly-growing and competitive industry, technicians need ways to stand out and show that they have the skills to handle a good, high-paying job in HVAC.
Especially within the last several years, the HVAC industry has developed many cutting-edge innovations including smart and mobile-friendly technology, sustainable-energy HVAC systems, energy-analysis software, and more. An HVAC degree is crucial for a technician who wants to be up-to-date on HVAC technology and educated about the future of the HVAC industry.
This knowledge is in high-demand, and employers are willing to pay more for a well-trained technician. HVAC technicians with degrees earn significantly more money than those without them. Many states even allow some of the time spent working towards your degree to count towards a journeyman certification for you as well, so you will be in the best position possible to get a great job that pays quite well.
Becoming an HVAC Engineer
Being an HVAC engineer means that you hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in engineering with a concentration on HVAC studies. The benefits of being an HVAC engineer are that you will be able to work on the design and creation of HVAC systems, even for very large construction projects, and you will have the ability to oversee the construction and installation of those systems and earn a higher HVAC salary.
Benefits of an HVAC Education
There are many benefits of having an HVAC education. Here is a brief explanation of a few of the top benefits that your HVAC degree will provide:
The demand for HVAC technicians with a degree is high, so it will place you at the top of the employment pool.
A degree will reassure prospective employers that you have the credentials needed to do the job. You will be eligible for better jobs with a higher salary than those without degrees. In the past, you could pretty easily get an entry-level position at a small HVAC company to learn the trade and work your way up. Today, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC systems are so high-tech, complex, and rapidly innovating that employers will consider job candidates with a degree in HVAC before candidates who have completed apprenticeships.
An HVAC degree can provide long-term career and financial stability. Your HVAC degree greatly increases your likelihood of establishing a well-paying career in a stable industry. It will provide you with the opportunity to work anywhere in the country, because HVAC technicians are needed everywhere. Acquiring an EPA 608 certificate, allowing you to work with refrigerants, will also further your position in the job market.
An HVAC degree provides you with the knowledge needed to work with newer Green practices. HVAC is a rapidly changing industry, due in part, by the need to meet The Department of Energy standards for energy conservation and greener practices. Getting a degree in HVAC will bring you up-to-date on current technology, like motion-activated air conditioning, 3-D printed air conditioning units, ice-powered air conditioning, geo-thermal units, and recyclable ductwork.
Choosing an HVAC Training School
Below is a list of important things to consider when choosing an HVAC school. These considerations will help you to choose the right school for you.
- Distance: Is the school located relatively close to where you live? Would you be willing and able to move closer to the school if necessary? If you are currently employed, make sure the school is close enough to your job that you will still be able to work if necessary.
- Schedule: If you are employed, does the school offer a flexible schedule that you can handle while working somewhere else? If you have a family, make sure you will be able to attend classes and still maintain the schedule that you need. Find out if the school offers night or weekend classes.
- Accreditation: Is the school accredited? Find out what kinds of programs they offer. Consider accelerated programs and other benefits they might offer.
- Degrees Offered: What degrees does the school offer? Watch out for schools that only offer certificate programs. This will only teach you the information needed for specific certificates, rather than the well-rounded education of an Associate’s degree.
- Online vs. In-Person: Are you looking for online schooling, or in-person? If you are planning on going to school online, find out how and where the school provides hands-on learning experience.
- Finances: What is the tuition cost of the school’s HVAC program? Can you afford it? Find out what financial aid is available, and if you are eligible for any scholarships. Ask if tuition payments are to be paid every semester, or every month.
- Curriculum: Does the curriculum look interesting and thorough? Do they cover everything you are interested in learning? Find out if the program includes refrigerant training and preparation for the EPA 608 refrigerant certification?
- Experienced Instructors: Have the program instructors worked in the HVAC industry? Are they experienced in the hands-on world of HVAC technicians, or do they only have textbook knowledge? Are they up-to-date on the newer innovations of the HVAC industry?
- Class Size: How many students will be in the classrooms and labs? Smaller classes will give you more individualized education from the instructors, and more hands-on time in the lab.
- Reputation: Does the school have a good reputation within the HVAC industry? Is this school a better choice than others? You can find information about this online, including school rankings. You can also call and ask HVAC companies themselves which schools they recommend.
- School Visits: If possible, visit the school and sit in on some classes. Ask the students if they are satisfied with their experience thus far, including their opinion on the instructors and coursework. Ask if the school is meeting their expectations, both in the classroom and the lab. This is one of the best ways to learn if a school is right for you, and if it can offer what you’re looking for.
- Job Placement Assistance: Learn if the school offers any job placement assistance. Will the school help you find a job upon your graduation? Are they partnered with any trade organizations that offer paid internships or apprenticeships? Some schools offer job guarantees, and even have a department that is for the sole purpose of helping students locate jobs after completing their degree.
The Importance of Accreditation
Accreditation means that the school has been reviewed and approved by an outside organization and has been found to meet established standards of educational excellence and competence. An accredited school will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in the HVAC/R industry, educate you about government regulations surrounding climate control, and teach you how to provide quality customer service. Accreditation lets you know the school is legitimate and has international credibility.
The most common accrediting organization in the HVAC industry is Partners for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Another is HVAC Excellence. Here is the link to an article that provides further information about the value of attending an accredited HVAC school.
Try our Search Tool for Accredited Schools: Pick HVAC has created a unique search tool designed to help you locate the top Accredited HVAC Schools in Ohio. Just type in your zip code, and you'll not only find the schools, but also be able to easily request more information about schools that interest you.
HVAC Training School Curriculum
HVAC training school will teach you about heating and air conditioning systems, their components, and how to install, maintain, inspect, diagnose, and repair them. You will also learn about current innovations in the field, how to increase energy efficiency, and about government regulations for these systems.
Labs offer hands-on experience with heating and air-conditioning units, teaching you to use the appropriate tools to install and repair these systems.
Here is a list of some typical subjects covered at an HVAC training school:
- Electricity and HVAC electrical systems, including motors, wiring, and circuits
- Automated HVAC controls
- Refrigeration and air conditioning practices
- HVAC tools and their use
- Ductwork size and installation
- Various fuels, including natural gas, petroleum, and steam
- Heat pumps, boilers, and zone systems
- Codes, ordinances, safety practices, EPA and OSHA regulations
Differences Between HVAC Certification and Licensing
HVAC certifications are provided by industry organizations, like NATE, and recognize that you are qualified to work in a specific area of the field.Certifications can act as professional credentials and make you more interesting to employers. Here are some certifications that are available:
● EPA Type I Certification - For servicing small appliances, air conditioners, domestic refrigeration, vending machines
● EPA Type II Certification – For servicing high pressure systems, residential air conditioning and refrigeration units, heat pumps
● EPA Type III Certification – For servicing low pressure systems, chillers
● Universal EPA Certification – Covers all of the above
Licenses, on the other hand, are always provided by a government office, and recognize that you have passed an exam and are qualified to practice the profession. Some states require an HVAC license, but others, like Ohio, only require licensing for specific areas, like refrigeration or commercial jobs.
EPA 608 Certification for Refrigerants
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) 608 Certification is required for any technician who maintains, services, repairs, or disposes of appliances that contain regulated refrigerants.
Acquiring the EPA 608 certification indicates that you have passed an exam and understand refrigerants and the refrigerant cycle and are qualified to work in that capacity.
NATE stands for North American Technical Excellence. It is the nation’s largest non-profit certification organization for HVAC technicians. NATE is owned, operated, and supported by the entire HVAC/R industry. They offer certifications at various levels including those below:
- #1) Ready to Work Certification
- #2) HVAC Support Technician
- #3) NATE Certification: Core and Specialty Tests
- #4) Senior Level Efficiency Analyst Certification
- #5) Certified HVAC Professional (CHP-5)
Get more information on the NATE website.
Licenses for Self-Employment
In Ohio, self-employed HVAC technicians are required to have a state license issued to them by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB).
For more information on how to apply for a license, look here.