Best Online HVAC Training: Schools and Costs

Best Online HVAC Training

With demand for HVAC technicians high, it is a great time to learn about the best online HVAC training available. To get right to it, see the Pick HVAC school search for accredited HVAC schools that offer online classes – and get started today!

HVAC or heating and cooling technicians are in need throughout the entire country.  With the proper training, HVAC certification and licensing plus experience, you can become an HVAC technician and earn a healthy salary.  The average HVAC worker salary is around $53,000, but can reach over $100,000 in many areas with the right degree and work situations.

Online Accredited HVAC Schools are Your Start

How do you become an HVAC technician?  Where do you start?  Can you do it from home?

These are all questions that this article will answer.  First of all, in order to become a certified HVAC technician, you need to have some education.  This article will help you find the best online training for a career in HVAC.  Life is busy and it is difficult to find time to actually go to a physical place to get your education. Enrolling in an online school to achieve your online training is a great way to earn a degree, get the proper education, and become a certified, licensed HVAC technician.

Use our HVAC School Search to find the best accredited online HVAC schools to learn more or to apply today.

Why Demand for HVAC Technicians is So High

As new homes are built and current homes are aging, HVAC work is constant and the demand for HVAC technicians has never been higher. Old equipment needs repair and replacing while the need for new equipment in new construction – both residential and commercial, continues to be very strong.

Like almost every other trade in the country, HVAC technicians are needed.  The number of technicians that are currently available is not enough to keep up with the amount of work in the field of HVAC.  

The Basics 

When most people first think about HVAC or heating and cooling professionals, they generally think of only heaters/furnaces and air conditioning.  HVAC technicians also work on ventilation systems, as well as, refrigeration systems. And you can get a great education in all these areas from one of the accredited HVAC schools offering online education and training.

Here is what you need to know about what the letters in HVAC stand for:

H - HEATING - this element of HVAC generally refers to either furnaces or heat pumps.  

V - VENTILATION - this section of HVAC covers air circulation or air purification systems.  As air quality decreases and filtration systems are needed, this element is vital.

AC - AIR CONDITIONING - heat pumps (which also cool the house) and the various types of air conditioning units are covered in this section.

R - REFRIGERATION - industrial coolers, freezers, refrigerators, etc...Basically, anything that uses a refrigerant. 

As you can see above there is an “R” in the acronym.  This stands for “refrigeration.”  In the article HVAC and HVAC/R are interchangeable and mean the same thing.  HVAC technicians install, maintain, and repair heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration systems in both residential and commercial settings.  Online training programs will give you the proper education to begin your career as a licensed, certified HVAC technician.

What an Online HVAC Program Can Do for You

One of the best options to get started and certified as an HVAC technician is to enroll in an online program.  Using an online program will educate you and help you get the proper HVAC certification and licensing needed.  Using an online program will allow you to work on your own schedule, but it will not make you feel isolated or alone.  There will be numerous opportunities to talk to your teachers and classmates via email, chatrooms, or virtual meetings using programs such as Zoom or Google Hangouts.  

Besides taking your classes online and meeting virtually with your class and professor, you will also want to get some hands-on experience to supplement your online education.  When enrolling or choosing an online HVAC program, try to find one that gives you a good mix of online education, as well as hands-on work in the actual HVAC field.

Types of Online HVAC Degrees

There are a number of different degrees and/or certifications you can earn via an online HVAC school.  The degrees or programs that can be obtained via online schooling are the following:

  • 9 to 10 month certificate program - This will provide you with the basic knowledge and skills, as well as a hands-on lab experience.
  • 2 year HVAC associate’s degree - This will give you an actual degree that will help you find a job in HVAC.  This makes you much more marketable, compared to HVAC technicians without a degree.
  • 4 year HVAC bachelor’s degree - If you want to become a team leader or a project manager, earning a bachelor’s degree will be very helpful.  The added education will also increase your earning potential.
  • HVAC engineer program - Earning a degree in mechanical engineering would be a huge step towards a very lucrative career in HVAC.  

Why Obtain an Online Degree in HVAC

HVAC technicians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is one of the fastest growing trades in the United States.  The projected growth of the profession is 13% in the next 7 years.  This is much higher than the average 5% growth in other trades.  Not only will the opportunity to find employment be plentiful, but a career in HVAC can be very lucrative.  Those technicians who earn a degree tend to earn more per hour or more per year than those who without a degree or any schooling.  

Choosing to find the best online training will help you earn a degree, earn the necessary certifications, and train you to get the licenses that are required in your specific state.  The various certifications will be covered in more detail later in this article.  Each of these certifications may be earned via online education, depending on your state and the rules for certification.

Online HVAC/R School Courses

You’ll learn the same coursework in an online HVAC school as you would in a local HVAC school.

Depending on the type of online HVAC education you choose, the information and education will vary.  The shorter the program, the more basic the education will be.  Longer education programs will be much more detailed, as well as more informative.  The basic coursework will help you with the following subjects:

  • Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation, Refrigeration and Humidity control.
  • Installing and setting up systems 
  • Repairing systems 
  • Basics of green systems 
  • Refrigerants as a specialty at some specific schools. 
  • Electric wiring, circuitry and motors and controls
  • HVAC Work codes, regulations, ethics and safety
  • EPA and OSHA regulations
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning
  • Tools required for HVAC work
  • Heat sources including natural gas, propane and petroleum systems
  • Heat zoning, pumps and zone sizing
  • Ductwork calculations, sizing and installation

The subjects listed above can be instructed via an online program.  In order to earn your actual license and the different certifications you will need to exhibit hands-on proficiency, in addition to your degree from your online training.

Cost of Online HVAC Training

This is an area that has a lot of variances throughout the country.  Basically, your training can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 a year depending on what type of online training or schooling you choose.  There are also grants, scholarships, and other financial assistance that can help lower your costs.  Also, often if you are already working for an HVAC company, but your employer wants you to further your education and training, the company may pay for your education and assist in your efforts for HVAC certification and licensing.

Think about it – employers need highly qualified, skilled HVAC workers who will get the job done right the first time. They don’t want call-backs on jobs done wrong. And HVAC employers are willing to offer excellent HVAC technician salary to those who have an education and HVAC certification and licensing that they can offer to clients.

Online Certifications/Licenses

Earning a degree from an accredited HVAC school will provide you with training and education that you need.  It does not, however, give you a license to legally do HVAC/R work.

License: The government issues HVAC licenses to those who qualify.  This is a legal document that protects you and your company.  It also ensures that you are qualified to do HVAC/R work. Check 

Certifications: Although much of this article has focused on online school/training for HVAC technicians, using the resources available to obtain various necessary certifications can often be done online.  You can study online and often take the tests or exams online to earn your needed certifications. However, there are some certifications that you will need to exhibit actual hands-on skill in a “lab” or work setting. The more certifications you have, the more marketable you become.  Also, having a number of certifications boosts your earning potential. 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifications are on the most common certifications. 

The EPA has four types of certifications. A 608 certification covers working with refrigerants. 

  • The Type I certification covers working with small appliances with 5lbs of refrigerant or less. 
  • Type II certification deals with medium, high, and very high pressure appliances. 
  • Type III certification covers low pressure appliances. 
  • The fourth certification is a Universal Certification, which covers all three types of certification mentioned above. 

NATE Certifications

North American Technical Excellence, or NATE, is the largest organization for HVAC technicians.  This organization offers the following NATE certifications:

  • Ready to Work Certification
  • HVAC Support Technician
  • NATE Certification: Core and Specialty Tests
  • Senior Level Efficiency Analyst Certification
  • Certified HVAC Professional (CHP-5)

Find more information at the NATE website.

Conclusion

Online training or education in the field of HVAC or HVAC/R is a rapidly growing field.  The future forecast for both employment and need for technicians is higher than ever, and it continues to grow.  One of the most efficient ways to obtain the proper training is to enroll in an online training program.  This can be a one year program, all the way up to a bachelor’s or master's degree program. 

The more education you get, the higher your earning potential will be.  For instance, if you make just $5 an hour more for the length of your career the total increase for your earnings will be over $300,000.  Getting the proper certifications, licenses, and education will help you start and maintain a HVAC worker salary that is higher than average and be more prepared for the rigors of a career in HVAC.

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