Advertiser Disclosure

The home services industry has been growing steadily over the past decade. Thanks to businesses like plumbing, electric, landscaping and roofing, the market is already worth $400 billion, and experts agree that number will climb significantly in the coming years.

One of the best careers in the industry has to be HVAC technicians. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC technicians earn a great salary and can make even more money should they choose to open their own business. In addition, HVAC techs are highly appreciated by customers because they are the ones to come and fix the cooling and heating issues a residential home or business might have. This makes the job very rewarding.

If you’re looking for a career that allows you to work independently, solve problems, and make a fantastic income, becoming an HVAC technician may be a great fit. But be warned, with many other people recognizing the benefits of this career, you’ll want to make yourself the absolute best candidate for the job.

To do this, you’ll want to become certified as an HVAC technician. But not any old certification will do. To stand out from other people vying for the same job, it’s important that you get the very best training.

Below, we’ve created a list of our favorite and best schools for HVACR technicians.  Read more about what we look for and our methodology below…but without further ado:

Here’s the list of Best Schools and Classes:

1
Preppy
Top Pick

Key Highlights

  • 100% Online
  • Fastest Completion
  • Hands On Externship Included
  • Accredited University
  • Lowest Price
  • Free Laptop

If your goal is to have a career as an HVAC technician, than you’ll love the certification training offered through Preppy.

This innovative learning platform has partnered with the very reputable Auburn University to offer students top-notch certification preparation. What’s perhaps even more remarkable is that these programs can be completed in as little as 3-6 months. Think about how much money you can save when you don’t have to spend four years earning a degree!

What do we love specifically about Preppy?

There is a lot to love about this program.

In addition to being faster, it’s also the most affordable option out there.

Yet despite being the most affordable certification program in the entire market, they still offer students an excellent payment plan.

Preppy’s program is also offered completely online, which means busy, working adults can learn when is most convenient for them. Many other programs require some classroom time. That can be hard for single parents and working folks!

In fact, you can complete the EKG Technician program in as little as 3-6 months and be ready for the major certifications for HVAC technicians such as the:

  • HVAC Master Specialist from the ESCO Group
  • Heating Profession Certification from the Building Performance Institute
  • Air Conditioning Service Certification from North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
  • And many more!

Here is something else incredibly important to know when looking for a good school: many certification programs available these days are from un-accredited institutions and generally lack any real reputation. When you get your training through Preppy, your instruction will be provided by Auburn University, a world-class institution known for offering top-notch programs. This will look fantastic on your resume and help you gain attention from prospective employers!

Are we biased? You bet we are. Over the years, we have seen far too many subpar certification programs come and go. We are very relieved to see a program that ticks all of the boxes!

Preppy’s program is 100% online and self-paced. This is great for adult students who have work and family responsibilities.

As an added bonus, all textbooks and learning materials are included, which means you’ll never have to worry about hidden tuition costs.

Having been in the industry for many years now, we can say that this is practically unheard of! Most other programs advertise low costs, then slip in hidden fees down the road.  That’s just not acceptable in our opinion.

In summary: Preppy is affordable, flexible, and from a trusted, accredited institution.

2
InterCoast

Key Highlights

  • Comprehensive Training
  • Some Online Coursework
  • Hands on Training
  • In-Person Classroom Time Also Required
  • Not Accredited University
  • Longer Time to Completion (9-12 Months)

InterCoast Colleges is a for-profit private company that offers occupational degrees and certificate programs. They have six locations across California, but also offer students online training programs.

ICC’s HVAC technician training program is designed to prepare students to install and maintain heating and air-conditioning units in residential homes, retail stores, and other buildings. The course is comprehensive and students’ EPA and OSHA 10 are included in the training, so they may continue to work or begin work while still attending school.

We do have some concerns, though. The course is hybrid, so you will be required to take physical classes. Since they only have locations in the state of California, this program simply won’t be feasible for those outside a driving radius of their locations. It’s also not an accredited university, like other options on the list.  Finally, completion of the course can take up to 9 months, which is potentially 3 times as long as other schools on this list.

3
Lincoln Tech

Key Highlights

  • In-Depth Coursework
  • No Hidden Fees
  • Industry Partnerships
  • Only In-Person Classes
  • Long Duration- 2 Years to Complete
  • Not Accredited University

Lincoln Tech is a for-profit private technical school that has been in business since 1946. The school offers hands-on career training programs for a variety of fields, including Automotive, Health Sciences, Skilled Trades and more.

Lincoln has an HVAC program that prepares students to service and maintain heating and cooling systems, as well as introduces them to Green Technology. The training is thorough and we appreciate that they prepare students for several certifications, including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification testing.  We also like their industry partnerships.

The classes are only in-person though, so that could be an issue for adults with work or family schedules who may not be able to attend weekly classes.  Also, the time to finish training is significantly longer than other programs on this list. In some cases, it could take close to two years to complete.  Finally, the school is not an accredited university which may be a problem for some students.

4
Ferris State University

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Key Highlights

  • Accredited School
  • Extensive Training
  • Some Online Classwork
  • In-Person Classroom Required
  • Longer Completion Time (2-4 years)
  • Highest Price Option

Ferris State University was founded in 1884 as a private industrial school. In 1950, the school became a state institution and in 1987, a state university. The four-year public university prepares students for a career in a variety of fields.

Ferris actually offers a Bachelor of Science in HVACR (the R is for Refrigeration), not just certification training. This means students receive not only applicable training but also theory. Ferris also offers an Associate in Applied Science in HVACR Technology, which takes two years as opposed to the 4 years required to obtain the bachelor’s degree.

There is no denying that a student would receive comprehensive training at Ferris. And the school is accredited, which is incredibly important.

Having said that,the program does require one spend 4 years, or even 2 years, receiving training to enter the workforce.  While the merits of that program could be argue, there are other options on this list that can get you trained far quicker.

In addition, the course is hybrid, meaning you’ll need to spend some time in a classroom, and the price tag is much higher than others on this list.

5
Cuesta College

hakkun, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Key Highlights

  • 100% Online Program
  • Comprehensive Training
  • Not Accredited University
  • Mid-High Price Option

Cuesta College offers students open enrollment programs that have been designed to give you the skills needed to acquire professional level positions for many in-demand careers.

We appreciate that their HVAC program is completely web-based and led by instructors who are in the field. Students will be prepared to take the HVAC Excellence ESCO Group: 17 Employment Ready Certificates, NATE: Ready to Work Certificate, and the EPA 608: Section 608 Universal Technician Certification exams.

Our concerns are that this is not an accredited university but a for-profit business, many of which have come under scrutiny in recent years.

It’s also a mid-high priced option, with a tuition well above some other programs on this list.

6
HVACRedu

Key Highlights

  • 100% Online
  • Comprehensive Training
  • Not Accredited University
  • Longer Time to Completion (9+ months)
  • Higher Cost

This is a private school that offers an entire range of courses, programs, and exam preps focused on HVACR technology.  The courses have been designed to prepare an HVAC technician to enter the field by giving them the most important foundation instruction.

We like the fact that the training is comprehensive and offered 100% online. The school has also been recognized as a NATE Training Provider.

Having said that, the school is not an accredited university, and training takes longer to complete than some other options on this list.

This is also a higher priced school. While they do have a payment plan, you’re still going to spend quite a bit more than you would at other schools on this list.

What Makes a Good School for EKG Technicians?

Thanks to a surge of new homebuyers in the recent few years, demand for HVAC technicians is absolutely booming. As a response to this demand, many schools have been popping up on the market, offering their own certification programs to attract students. The thing is, most of these programs aren’t very good, both in terms of structure and curriculum.

So then what exactly makes a good HVAC technician certification program and why did we choose the ones we did?

It’s simple, really. They offered one or more of the following:

Online Learning

Online learning has become the preferred method of certification training for adult students and for good reason: when you have work and family responsibilities, it’s simply unrealistic to move to an out of state school. For many people, it’s not even feasible to drive to their local community college for classes two nights a week!

Online learning allows busy working adults with families to finally find that work/life balance. No need to be away from your family and miss important soccer games and school plays.

Online learning contributes to a healthy work/life balance. Not only is there no need to move to another state, which can be very disruptive to family life, but you can also continue to work your current job. And you never have to worry about missing important family events such as school plays or soccer games!

Solid Training

While finding a certification program that is 100% online is important to your success, it’s really only half the battle. The other half is finding a school that offers comprehensive training so you are totally prepared to take the certification exam.

The schools we have selected prepare students for the major HVAC certifications, in this case NATE, ESCO, EPA and others.

Self-Paced Coursework

No two students are the same. For this reason, it’s important to find programs that allow you to learn at your own pace. Self-directed coursework gives students the best chance at fully learning and retaining information.

Self-paced learning also means you study when and where is most convenient for you. Do you only have an hour to study before the kids get up or after they go to bed? No problem. These schools give you the freedom to learn when is most convenient for you.

Textbooks are Included

If you haven’t been in school for a while, you may not know that the cost of textbooks has risen significantly over the years. Finding a school that includes all textbooks and learning materials is key and will save you a lot of money!

An Immersive Learning Experience

Learning can be hard, particularly if a student doesn’t feel excited or stimulated. The programs we have selected are all taught by a staff who is eager to share their passion and knowledge.

Great Support

Since these programs are offered online, you may be wondering what kind of support you’ll receive should you have questions about coursework or even technical difficulties. The schools we have selected all have robust support to ensure you get the help you need when you need it.

Externship

Becoming certified is a great way to stand out when it comes time to find a job. But what can give you that extra leg up? Getting some real-world experience before you enter the job market. The schools on this list provide an externship so students can get critical hands-on experience.

The Importance of HVAC Technician Training

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the home services industry is really booming, and it doesn’t look like this growth will slow anytime soon. Much of this growth comes from the fact that commercial and residential building is on the rise. In addition, the increasing number of sophisticated climate-control systems will also increase demand for capable HVAC techs.

If you’re someone who loves problem solving, innovative technology, and working with your hands, you should definitely consider becoming an HVAC technician! Plus, you’ll get to experience what it feels like to be a superhero. Because when you help keep people’s homes and businesses cool in the summer and warm in the winter, that’s what you are, a superhero!

So how much do superheroes make? According to the BLS, the median average earnings for HVAC technicians in May of 2020 was $50,590. Of course, this figure can increase significantly should you ever decide to open your own HVAC business!

What’s the job outlook for HVAC technicians? The BLS reports demand for these pros is expected to increase 5% from 2020 to 2030.

When you become certified as an HVAC technician, life starts to look a little bit brighter because you put yourself in a position to earn more, have job security, and many career opportunities.

Our Methodology

I’ve just covered a lot of information so let’s do a bit of a recap:

Before writing this article, I sat down with my research team and we sorted through a lot of data to come to the conclusions we’ve come to. It took us a few days because there are a decent amount of schools out there that offer HVAC certification programs. But I can say with 100% certainty that not all of these programs were created equal.

When making the cut for this list, we gave preference to schools that had  the following:

  • Online programs
  • Accredited universities
  • nonprofit vs forprofit
  • Comprehensive preparation for certification exams
  • Self-paced learning
  • Textbooks and other learning materials included in the cost
  • Instructor led
  • Support
  • Externships to gain valuable experience

If you’re interested in a career as an HVAC technician, you could become certified and begin working in as little as 3-6 months by completing training through one of these fantastic schools! What a great opportunity to work in an exciting industry helping people!

 


About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.