HVAC systems mean heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning.
It is also known as HVAC/R.
R stands for refrigeration.
HVAC/R technicians deal with servicing the HVAC/R equipment.
They install and repair is as well as provide maintenance services.
Job opportunities in the industry are perspective.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States (BLS) data, the employment rate will increase by 15% by the year 2026.
The rapid growth of climate-control technology and steady construction industry are the reasons for the high HVAC/R employment rate.
If you consider entering the HVAC area, you need to be aware of the educational costs in the HVAC schools.
Below you will find details on the expenditures you can expect to bear to become an HVAC tech.
HVAC Career Trajectory
You will need some type of post-secondary education to enter the HVAC field.
Today, employers prefer to hire workers with formal HVAC training.
The reason for this is the increased complexity of modern HVAC systems.
To become an HVAC technician, you will typically have to take the following steps:
Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent
The minimum requirement for post-secondary education is a high school diploma or similar certification (e.g., GED).
To start HVAC training, you will need to have either one.
Get Post-secondary Education
Prospective students can take an HVAC post-secondary trade program in a vocational school or community college.
The training is also available through the apprenticeship program or onsite training.
Obtain Certification and License
There is a mandatory certification that everyone who wants to work in an HVAC industry must pass.
It is an EPA Section 608 Certification which proves that you are able and entitled to safely work with refrigerants.
You can also choose to take a certification exam from the industry organizations.
Such certificates demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to potential employers and customers.
Besides, depending on the state where you reside and want to work, you may have to obtain a license.
In some states, you can’t work as an HVAC tech without one.
HVAC Education Cost
The cost for an HVAC training can differ based on a school or program as well as the way you consider getting the training.
There are short programs that allow you to enter the industry quicker, but they may cost more.
You can also make some living during the training program (e.g., apprenticeship), but it can take several years to accomplish.
Read on to get more details:
The HVAC program costs can vary depending on the scope of the program.
Typical HVAC certificate programs can cost somewhere between $1,200 and $15,000.
The programs that cost more may include the EPA exam fees and a tool-set.
The price for the Associate’s degree related to HVAC technology ranges between $15,000 and $35,000.
The average length of a certificate program can be from six to twelve months.
The Associate’s degree is usually longer and can take two years to earn.
- Job opportunities.
Some programs have a flexible schedule, so you can take a part-time job while in training.
Some schools offer both daytime and evening classes.
With shorter programs, you can finish your education and start an entry-level job faster.
The average annual cost for public community college programs is $4,868 and $8,614 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively.
The programs in private colleges cost $15,467 annually on average.
The Associate’s degrees are more commonly offered at the community colleges.
Typically, they last for two years.
Certificate programs are shorter and take up to a year to accomplish.
- Job opportunities.
The Associate’s degree program is usually full-time.
However, at some schools, you may take fewer classes per semester and get a part-time job.
The cost of an apprenticeship program ranges between $500 and $2,000.
An apprenticeship can last from three to five years.
- Job opportunities.
During an apprenticeship program, you work under the direction of a qualified HVAC tech.
You can earn a salary, which equals to a percentage of your supervisor’s wages.
All the coursework should be done at home.
HVAC Certification Costs
To work in the HVAC industry, there is an obligatory certification you need to obtain.
Besides, in some states, you may be required to get a license to perform the HVAC work.
Other certifications you can get aren’t mandatory but can help you improve your resume and expand career opportunities.
- EPA Section 608 Certificate.
Anyone who enters the HVAC field and works with refrigerants must obtain EPA Certification.
It proves that you can handle potentially hazardous refrigerants and follow safety procedures.
Depending on the type of appliances you work with, you may need one of four types of this certificate.
The costs will vary from type to type as well as depending on the testing site and study materials.
- State HVAC License.
Most of the states require an HVAC license.
Some states that don’t require state licensure but may have a local one are Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine.
This also applies to Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.
The costs for obtaining a license vary from state to state as well.
Depending on the type of work you do (residential, commercial, etc.), the size of the job, and the type of the license, it can range from $50 to $200.
- Industry certification.
There are HVAC organizations that provide industry certifications.
Such organizations include NATE (North American Technical Excellence) and HVAC Excellence.
The cost of the certification will depend on the type you are after.
Start Your HVAC Career
The costs of the HVAC school is greatly influenced by the training course you pick and the necessary certifications and licenses.
Some HVAC courses comprise EPA examination fee in the cost.
The expenses for learning materials and supplies should also be taken into consideration together with the board and room.
Before enrolling in a training program, it’s recommended to plan your HVAC training, so you can handle and manage expenses better.