The quality of the air inside our homes and places of work depends on the expert skill of HVAC (sometimes also called HVACR) technicians. Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration mechanics and installers are in demand across the residential and commercial sectors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in this field is expected to increase over the next 10 years, with workers earning an average of $48,730 per year.
What Do HVAC Technicians Do?
HVAC techs are responsible for installing and maintaining heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems in homes and commercial spaces. They have expertise in installing electrical components and know the methods needed to inspect HVACR systems and spot malfunctions. Technicians must have a knowledge of government regulations concerning HVACR systems, such as proper handling of refrigerants.
Top 5 HVAC Schools
|1||Metropolitan Community College||Omaha, NB|
|2||Pima Community College||Tucson, AZ|
|3||Houston Community College||Houston, TX|
|4||Milwaukee Area Technical College||Milwaukee, WI|
|5||Johnson County Community College||Overland Park, KS|
How Do You Become A HVAC Technician?
Most technicians receive some type of education in order to become certified to work in the field. Community colleges, trade, or technical schools offer instruction ranging from 6 months for a professional certificate up to 2 years for an associate’s degree. At entry-level, a new tech may be expected to work with someone with more experience before being allowed to work alone. For this reason, some seek out apprenticeship programs, which last 3 to 5 years.
Interested in earning your HVACR training certificate or degree online? Use our Degree Finder tool to find the right program for you!
Many local colleges offer HVAC training. To give our readers an idea of what’s available in their region, we selected 20 of the largest metropolitan schools from across the country and ranked them on a 100-point scale. Check out our rankings below!
The Best 20 HVAC Schools
Metropolitan Community College
Metropolitan Community College offers several HVAC training programs. There is a 2-year Associate of Science degree as well as Certificates of Achievement in Heating and Air Conditioning Technology and Refrigeration Technology. Students interested in pathways to the associate’s degree can find career certificates in Building Automation Systems, Commercial Refrigeration Technology, and Heating and Air Conditioning Technology.
Pima Community College
Pima Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Building & Construction Technologies with a core focus on HVAC-R. This is a full-time degree consisting of 63-65 credit hours that can be completed in about 2 years. They also have an HVAC-R Technician training certificate program that is 33 credit hours and can be completed in 1 year or less.
Houston Community College
There are several HVACR programs to choose from at Houston Community College. The Associate of Applied Science in HVACR degree is 2 years long at 60 credit hours. There is an HVACR Basic certificate which is 1-year long and designed to show entry-level readiness for employment. The Advanced Certificate is 1 to 1.5 years long and delivers a more varied and intensive set of training courses.
Milwaukee Area Technical College
The Oak Creek campus of MATC delivers a 2-year associate degree program in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology. Students in this program may be able to earn co-op credit with an agreement between a potential employer and the instructor. The program is 64 credit hours long and may be transferable to a 4-year institution.
Johnson County Community College
JCCC’s HVAC training program is the first in Kansas accredited by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). There are two paths of study available: the Associate of Applied Science in HVAC or the HVAC Technology certificate. Working students may take classes in the evening or on weekends if they desire a flexible schedule.
Community College of Allegheny County
CCAC offers an Associate of Science in Heating & Air Conditioning as well as a certificate in Heating & Air Conditioning Technology. The degree program is 66-67 credits long and can be completed in about 2 years. Graduates of this program may seek an online bachelor’s degree through the school’s Transfer Opportunity for Technology Leadership program. The certificate program may be completed in 1 year.
Montgomery College offers a Building Trades Technology AAS degree with a concentration on HVAC. A lab-intensive program, students are required to pass the EPA 608 exam and one Industry Competency Exam in order to graduate. There is also an HVAC certificate program for entry-level employment as well as application towards the AAS degree.
Central New Mexico Community College
There is one associate’s degree program and two certificates of completion in HVAC available at CNMCC. The AAS program is 5 semesters long, or about 2.5 years. The Commercial, Industrial HVAC & Building Performance certificate program is about 2 years long. The Residential HVAC program is about 1 year long.
Ivy Tech Community College
Students at ITCC can choose three different HVAC program formats: A 21 credit-hour certificate, a 32 credit-hour technical certificate, or a 60 credit-hour Associate of Applied Science degree. The school encourages students to take technical certificate courses even if they plan to go for an AAS, as the certifications stack. Students may also be eligible for a free certificate through Indiana’s Next Level Jobs program.
Delgado Community College
Delgado Community College offers a Master HVAC Technician Technical Diploma and a Certified HVAC Technician certificate program. The technical diploma can be earned in 57 credit hours, about 2 years. The certificate program is 30 credits long, or about 1 year. Some courses in these programs may be transferable to a 4-year institution. Delgado is the largest and oldest community college in Louisiana, celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2021.
Portland Community College
Portland Community College has a Career Pathway Certificate in HVAC/R Installation. This condensed program is 1 semester in length at 14 credits and prepares students for entry-level work in the industry. They also offer an associate’s degree in Facilities Maintenance Technology which features HVAC training classes among its coursework.
College of Southern Nevada
The College of Southern Nevada offers several degree and accelerated certificate options. Students interested in an AAS in Air Conditioning Technology may choose to specialize in Central Plant, Critical Systems, or Food Service Refrigeration. Accelerated certificate programs include general Air Conditioning Technology, as well as options to specialize in the same fields as the AAS. There is also a single-semester Entry-Level Air Conditioning Technician certificate.
El Paso Community College
The Advanced Technology Center at EPCC features an AAS degree in HVAC and two related certificates of completion: HVAC and Residential HVAC Technician. Students in these programs are required to have a basic toolkit and OSHA-approved safety glasses. The school also offers a student HVACR Club that works with local contractors for community improvement projects.
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College features an apprenticeship program in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating, which culminates in a Career Technical Certificate. This is a 288 credit-hour program spanning the course of 4+ years. Students will work in the classroom as well as receive on-the-job training throughout the program. Successful graduates are prepared to work as journeymen in the industry.
Wayne County Community College District
WCCCD offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC. This is a 64 credit-hour program spanning 5 semesters or about 2.5 years. Students with existing training or work experience in the industry may be able to waive some courses.
State University of New York: Erie
The HVACR Technology Certificate program at SUNY Erie can be completed in the span of 2 semesters. Admitted students are expected to purchase a set of hand tools. Basic mechanical skills are preferred, but not required for acceptance into the program.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
FSCJ’s Career Certificate in HVACR is a 1,350 contact hour program featuring the class-time, lab work, and hands-on training needed to become a journeyman technician in the state of Florida. Students can choose to pursue shorter-term certificates in the HVAC I and HVAC II programs, which concentrate focus on separate skills.
Bluegrass Community and Technical College
BCTC offers several forms of HVACR training programs. The AAS in HVAC features classes that count up to 1 year and 1500 hours of experience toward the state’s 3000 hour journeyman license. Additionally, the school offers a technical HVAC Mechanic diploma. Certificates offered in the program include Environmental Control Systems Servicer, Environmental Systems Repair Helper, Domestic Air Conditioner & Furnace Installer, and Refrigeration Mechanic. Students have traveled many paths on their journey to a better life through education. Watch them tell their stories in their own words and find out why they chose BCTC here: https://bluegrass.kctcs.edu/student-stories/
Kirkwood Community College
The HVAC Installer program at Kirkwood Community College culminates in a diploma after 1 year of study. Students will also earn OSHA 10-Hour General Construction certification and Adult First Aid with CPR training. Admitted students will be expected to bring a tool kit that meets the program’s requirements for general hand tools, HVAC specialty tools, and electrical testing.
Trident Technical College
Trident Technical College’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program offers an AAS degree and several certificate options. The degree program features study in secondary technical specialty areas such as business administration, industrial maintenance, and welding. Certificate programs include Air Conditioning-Refrigeration Mechanics, Advanced Air Conditioning-Refrigeration Mechanics, and Commerical and Industrial ACR Systems.
If you are interested in online learning opportunities, take advantage of our program-finding tools and guides!
Our Ranking Methodology
We gathered tuition data from each school’s website. Featured tuition data is based on in-state rate estimates. We did not factor in variable costs such as housing. Enrollment and student-faculty ratio data were obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics.
We sorted by lowest tuition, lowest student-faculty ratio, and highest total student enrollment and assigned points to each school in each category. The breakdown of points distributed is as follows: 40% tuition, 40% student-faculty ratio, 20% total enrollment. The maximum score possible was 100 points.
Reporting Ranking Errors
Employees of the schools listed above may contact us to report errors in the data we collected. We will make corrections as soon as possible.