Technology makes life comfortable. One of the ways technology has impacted significantly on lives is the innovation of HVAC systems which inarguably is a key technology that has become a part of mainstream architecture and engineering.
HVAC innovation and technology has not just impacted on our lives but as found its ways in one of the very core of modern building designs and architecture. This is the major reason HVAC is a preferred course to study and become trained in.
HVAC Training Schools Near Me
The HVAC systems are very peculiar and require those who are quite knowledgeable and experienced to handle it. There are certain professionals who are capable of installing, repairing, and servicing the HVAC systems, known as the HVAC Technicians.
HVAC technicians undergo several training programs, where they learn more about the HVAC systems, especially its practical aspects. Most things they learn about include the HVAC piping systems, air quality, refrigeration, and several other aspects of how these HVAC systems works.
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician
There are certain criteria you need to meet before you are considered a professional in HVAC Systems. These include;
- You need to have at least a high school diploma and have a basic knowledge of physical sciences. Most jobs in the industry will require you to be at least a high school graduate, an HVAC Technician job is not any different.
- You need to attend an accredited HVAC training school. There are a lot of schools to pick from as long as they are accredited. Although attending an HVAC school might not be necessary if you take some accreditated courses on HVAC systems either online or conventionally. But it is better to be on the safer side as an accreditated school is more likely to give you the best.
- You must make sure to acquire an apprenticeship experience. It is not enough to go to an HVAC training school and learn both theory and practical coursework without apprenticeship. This is because practicing in a lab can be quite different from real-life experiences. It will also help you get a better understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the job.
- You should become EPA certified. Before you can begin to work as an HVAC Technician, ensure that you are universally certified or at least certified in your area of specialization. This helps you to create a trustworthy and professional environment for your future employers and clients.
The Path to Being an HVAC Technician
There is a high demand for this skill in the construction industry. This has created an increase in individuals seeking a career in this field, thereby increasing competition in the labor market for HVAC technicians. Hence, there’s a need to stand out in order to be successful.
There are a couple of established paths you can take which majorly include enrolling in a training or technical school or enroll in an apprenticeship program. Although it is quite possible and advisable to have a combination of the two. Is one better than the other? Well it depends on what you are trying to achieve in your career or what best works for you.
Training School VS Apprenticeship: Weighing your options
A lot of contractors might tell you that an apprenticeship program isn’t the best option for you. It provides real-world situations experience and you start to earn money right away. But you have to put into consideration whether you are willing to remain under an apprenticeship union for as long as it takes, commitment is important in apprenticeship.
A training school on the other has its own benefits that might appeal to you. As a result of the variety of HVAC programs available, you get to pick which one best suits you in terms of cost, schedule, and career goals.
But the downside of this is that not all schools offer job placement assistance after graduation, so you might graduate and not have a place to work early enough and they can be quite expensive. This is why it is very much advisable to do a combination of both instead of picking one over the other, but in the end, it all boils down to you and what you want or what you can afford.
Do HVAC Technicians Make Good Money?
As stated earlier, there has been a spontaneous increase in the demand for HVAC technicians especially putting into consideration the increasing complications of climate control systems.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an increase in the jobs of HVAC technicians by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, this is even faster than the rate of employment on a general level. This goes to show that if you do decide to venture into the field of HVAC, you won’t be getting out of jobs to do anytime soon provided you stay relevant.
Overall, technology is evolving rapidly which means that new innovations in cooling and heating technologies are evolving as well. And with the increase in job opportunities, comes an equal increase in salary.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medium wage of an HVAC technician is between $14.94 to $24.84 per hour and following the breakdown by Indeed.com, the average HVAC technician makes $43,000 a year. So when you ask, ‘Do HVAC technicians make good money?’ The answer is a very big yes.
Things to Consider When Looking for an HVAC Training School
Before choosing from the various HVAC Training Schools available, there are certain things you need to put into consideration first so as to enable you to make the best choice. These include;
Having explained the importance of accreditation earlier, it is important to emphasize it again. Even if you decide to take courses online or through conventional schools, make sure to at least consider an accreditated website or center respectively otherwise, you risk wasting your time and money into a certificate that professionals might not accept.
This is of course one of the most important things to consider. You need to know how much the programs cost and if you can afford it. It is important to not go above your means. A program might seem expensive but if it is going to give you your money’s worth and you can afford it, then by all means go for it.
This is also very important. If the school is near you, it makes it more accessible and saves you time and probably money. If you are not working and have a lot of time to spare or decide to study online, then the location might not really be a problem for you. But if you have other responsibilities, then location is a very important factor to consider.
- Coursework offered
You need to do your research and find out the courses your preferred school offers and compare it with other schools. You need to ensure that you’ll get your money’s worth and won’t get a course overload. There has to be a proper balance between theory and practical work, for too much of one over the other might affect your knowledge and skills in the long run.
You also have to consider whether the school offers apprenticeship programs or on the job training opportunities to facilitate your learning.
You also need to consider how available you’ll be for the program. Some schools offer evening or weekend classes that allow for part-time students who have other responsibilities while some others prefer their students to be available at a specific time or full time. You’ll need to find the one that best works for you.
- Licensing and Certification
If you are looking for just a hands-on knowledge of the program and not necessarily a career opportunity or if you are already licensed and just looking to add to your skillset, then you might not really bother about whether the school will provide you with license and certification at the end your program.
But if that is not the case (i.e you want an HVAC career), you might want to consider looking for a school with a full experience that involves licensing and certification at the end of the program. In the end, this saves you money and time.
How Long does it take to get an HVAC degree and what are the options available?
Careers in HVAC are growing exponentially over the past couple of years as a result of the high demand for talent, and labor in the industry.
A typical HVAC degree is completed in a trade or training school and it takes an average of two years to complete, it could be less, depending on the program. For example, a Bachelors’s degree can take up to four years, an Associate degree generally takes two years to complete and a certificate program can be completed in as low as fifteen weeks.
What to expect in an HVAC degree
As explained earlier, you can decide to have a Bachelors’s degree, an Associated degree, or a Certificate program depending on what best suits you. Here is a list of some of the topics you should prepare your mind for, depending on whichever option you pick.
In this program, you should expect to come in contact with these topics;
- Refrigeration systems
- Electrical systems
- Residential and light commercial systems
- HVAC system design and installation.
An individual pursuing an Associated degree should expect the following in addition to the certificate programs
- Metal fabrication
- Heat pumps
- Electricity in relation to HVAC systems
- Technical physics
In addition to the Certificate and Associate degree topics, an individual pursuing a Bachelor’s degree might be exposed to the following topics
- Control theory
- Load analysis
- Energy audit and analysis
- Commercial HVAC system design
- Contracting issues
- Hydronic system design.
A Certificate program is the least time-consuming way to enter into the HVAC industry. Although it may not be as comprehensive as other higher degrees, it prepares an individual for a career in this field and prepares a foundation for pursuing additional education later on.
An Associate degree may take longer than a Certificate program to complete but it exposes an individual to various aspects of HVAC and provides a lot of knowledge for a leading career.
A Bachelors’s degree program takes the most time, but if you have the time to spare, it is most definitely worth it. It provides a more comprehensive knowledge of HVAC and prepares an individual for all types of jobs in the industry ranging from supervisory roles to management positions and an even better opportunity for a person who wishes to start up their own business eventually.
Certificate Courses and Specialization in HVAC
There are online platforms where you can study and probably get a Certificate program in HVAC courses, some of these platforms include Udemy.com, edx.com, Coursera.com, and even YouTube. For the benefit of those who just want to gain new skills, brush up their existing skills, or looking for an area of specialization to choose and focus on, here are some Certificate courses you can do.
- Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
This is an important course for maintenance technicians, building managers, HVAC technicians new and old, and many others who wish to improve their Air Conditioning and Refrigeration skills or looking to specialize in this subfield of HVAC.
- Boiler Operation Maintainance and Safety
This course ensures individuals gather the necessary skills, procedures, and practices to manage and eliminate disaster. It provides you with useful knowledge of commercial, industrial, and utility boiler systems to maximize safety and efficiency.
- Air Conditioning and Boilers
This is a combination course. It combines the objectives of both courses into one, providing students with a crash course on Air Conditioning and Refrigeration along with Boiler Operations maintenance and safety measures.
- Electrical Controls Air Distribution
This course is designed for workers or HVAC Technicians who want to specialize or already work with Air distribution systems. It covers the basic aspects of HVAC electrical controls through air distribution, how to use fundamental air distribution, comfort and efficiency in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in buildings and facilities.
- Chilled Water Systems
A certificate course in Chilled Water Systems provides HVAC technicians with the knowledge of chillers, cooling towers, and other chilled water systems. It exposes them to information about the components used in chilled water systems, its uses, and applications among others.
The Best HVAC Schools Near Me
Here are some of the Best HVAC Training Schools Nearby
- Ferris State University
This University is among the best schools offering HVAC courses. This school is located in Michigan, in the United States. They only offer an online bachelor’s degree program, which requires the students to perform “in-person workshops” for a week, every year. With this requirement, students are expected to be on the school campus for the workshops.
All basic courses about HVAC systems, and their applications. With the online class, you can easily study anywhere you are. The one-week practical work has made this school better than some other online programs.
- Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
This school offers basic courses on HVAC systems, with their excellent HVAC Program. This school is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
The school is located in Boston, MA. It is a non-profitable trade school that specifically analyzes how refrigerant chemicals work. It is a nine-month-long program with about 800 hours of class experience. These classes are held both day and night, you can easily choose between the day and night classes. During the weekends, workshops are held for practical works.
Of recent, the cost of running this program in the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is about $16,500. All the classes in this school have a lecture room and a laboratory. The school equipment is of high quality and are usually used under the guidance of the Hampden Engineer trainers.
- Miami Dade College
This college offers Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Systems Technology program. This school provides a full associate’s degree program. The program in HVAC technologies has a total credit load of 64 credits, and can be completed within two to three years. There are some online classes options to fit your schedules.
Apart from the basic HVAC courses, this school also. offers essentialism communications and humanities courses, which allows students to have great communication skills.
- North Michigan University
This college is based in Marquette, MI, and they offer an intensive two-year certificate HVAC program. This program has a credit load of 44 credits, and also provide a great practical experience. With the small class size, there is great interaction between the lecturers and the students, and between the lab instructors and the students.
These schools teach the aspects of safety, environmental impacts, and refrigeration, more intensively. This is due to the fact that, this course is also available for non-technicians who are interested in creating businesses (that require HVAC systems) and dealing with safety.
- Ashworth College
Ashworth College provides a short time course that prepares aspirants for the state HVAC certification. It covers everything you need to know, and all you require to pass your state certification test.
This online program is accredited by ESCO, one of the top groups in HVAC training and certification. It is important to note that the ESCO are also the ones in charge of the certification test. The school’s tuition is quite inexpensive and covers almost everything, ranging from the training mobile app, all required printable materials, ESCO training, to the EPA608 certification exam.
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
This professional organization brings professionals together, providing them with various resources. Once you’re a member o this organization, you can easily take various courses on HVAC, as there is a training available. With these online programs, you can easily study various courses by downloading the available materials. Their online instructors, are readily available to guide you through the program.
HVAC Scholarship Programs
After going through all that has been said above, I am sure you’re very much interested in the field of HVAC. Now, if you are interested but short of funds, I am happy to inform you that there are Scholarship Programs that can provide you with financial aid. The downside is that they are conventional schools and not online.
So if you are looking for a Scholarship program for a conventional school and have no problem with distance, this might just be for you. And if on the other hand, you prefer an online degree program only, it doesn’t hurt to check these out, you might just find something you like.
- EGIA Foundation HVAC Scholarship
This scholarship program offers $2,500 annually to 20 students nationwide. To be eligible,
- you have to be interested in or already attending a training school or college in the area of HVAC,
- you should have a minimum of 2.0 GPA,
- preference is given to applicants between the ages of 18 and 26.
Deadline: March 31, 2020
- Rees Scholarship Foundation
This scholarship program awards scholarships of up to $2,000 each to qualified students who are enrolled in an accredited school. To be eligible, you must submit;
- 2 letters of recommendation
- a 500-word essay and
- educational transcripts.
Deadline: June 1, 2020 (Spring semester), October 1, 2020 (Fall semester).
- Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards
This is a global women’s organization whose members come together to improve the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment.
The scholarship program is available to women who are providing financial support to their families and have enrolled in a training school or undergraduate degree program. The scholarship award is in three amounts; a local award of $3,000 and $5,000 and an international level award of $10,000.
Deadline: November 15, 2020.
Being an HVAC Technician requires hard work and dedication. Trying to find the best HVAC training schools near me, is a step in the right direction. If you believe you have what it takes to succeed in this field, then try to understand what is required of you, make sure to digest the things to consider when choosing an HVAC training school and then make your choice. You might well be on your way to a successful and promising career. Best of luck!