HVAC/R technicians deal with servicing the HVAC/R systems.
They install and repair these as well as provide maintenance services.
But before you can perform this job, you must receive a formal education or training experience first.
Luckily, enrolling in an HVAC school isn’t that expensive, so you can afford to take a course.
On this page, you’ll find details on the expenditures of attending an HVAC training program.
- Career Trajectory of an HVAC Technician
- How Much an HVAC School Costs
- How Much an HVAC Certification Cost
- Starting Your HVAC Technician Career
Career Trajectory of an HVAC Technician
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:
1 – Obtain a High School Diploma or GED Equivalent
HVAC training programs require students to at least have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
In this way, you have the basic knowledge of match and sciences to understand the HVAC concepts.
2 – Get Post-secondary Education
To step into the HVAC field, you will need some type of post-secondary education.
You can take HVAC training courses at trade schools and vocational and community colleges.
In the program, you’ll receive…
- Classroom instructions
- Technical skills practice
- On-the-job training or an apprenticeship
3 – Obtain Certification and License
Upon completing the HVAC training program, you should work toward earning your certification.
One mandatory certification required by the industry is the EPA Section 608 Technician Certification.
You can also choose to get certifications from other organizations, such as:
- North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
- HVAC Excellence
Also, do note that some states and localities require that you get an HVAC license.
So, you should check with your state or local office for the requirements for getting one.
How Much an HVAC School Costs
The cost for HVAC training can vary depending on three factors:
- Which school you want to enroll in
- The course curriculum of the school’s HVAC training program
- What type of training you prefer – an externship or an apprenticeship program
Let’s read on to know the details of the education cost of attending an HVAC school.
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.
Meanwhile, associate programs range between $15,000 and $35,000.
The programs that cost more may include the EPA exam fees and a tool-set.
The average length of a certificate program can be from six to twelve months.
Meanwhile, the associate’s degree is usually longer and can take two years to complete.
Some programs have flexible class schedules so you can continue working while learning.
With shorter programs, you can finish your education and start an entry-level job faster.
In public community colleges, an in-state student may spend $4,868 on average.
For out-of-state students, it may be $8,614.
Meanwhile, private colleges can cost more than $15,000 on average.
Community colleges commonly offer associate degrees compared to certificate programs.
An associate’s degree can take 2 years to complete.
Meanwhile, it takes up to 1 year for certificate programs.
Because associate degrees are usually full-time, you may have lower chances to continue your current work.
However, some schools allow you to take fewer classes per semester so you can work while taking the program.
The cost of an apprenticeship program ranges between $500 and $2,000.
Sometimes, a private company or union will sponsor the program to train prospective employees.
The apprenticeship can last from three to five years.
During the apprenticeship program, you work under the direction of a senior HVAC technician.
Because being an apprentice is considered having a job, you can receive a salary.
How much you get will equal a percentage of your supervisor’s salary.
How Much an HVAC Certification Cost
To work in the HVAC industry, you need certification to prove your competency in the field.
Plus, not only can it help improve your resume, but it can also expand your career opportunities.
Let’s take a look at some important HVAC certifications below.
EPA Section 608 Technician Certification
Anyone who 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 to pass one or more certification levels.
The costs will vary from type to type as well as depending on the testing site and study materials.
For instance, a Type I certification can cost at least $20.
State HVAC License
Most U.S. states require state HVAC licensing.
For those that don’t, like Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, etc., they may require local HVAC licensing.
The cost for obtaining a state and/or local licensing varies, depending on…
- Type of work that you do (residential, commercial, etc.)
- Size of the job you’ll do
- Type of license you’ll have
Approximately, it can cost you somewhere between $50 and $200.
There are HVAC organizations that provide industry certifications, like NATE and HVAC Excellence.
The cost will depend on the type of certification you are after.
Starting Your HVAC Technician Career
The cost involved in attending an HVAC school depends on the following:
- Education route you pick
- Certification and licenses you need
So before committing to this, you should plan your HVAC training in advance.
In this way, you can handle and manage your educational expenses better.