Obtaining higher education in HVAC is absolutely critical for long-term earning potential and career advancement for HVAC professionals. Although it is generally best to obtain some form of a college degree there are endless options for HVAC professionals in respect to education. HVAC education may come in the form of certificate programs or as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Alternatively, or even in conjunction with some program types, there are also apprenticeship programs available as well. Selecting the right program depends on a number of factors such as the professional’s specialty, their availability and schedule outside of school, their desired pathway to licensure, or even the skillset they’re pursuing for their desired career.
How Much Education Do I Need to Become an HVAC Professional?
When selecting an educational program it’s important for prospective HVAC professionals to figure out the amount of education required for their desired specialty field. In most cases professions such as Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers will only need to obtain a certificate or associate’s degree in HVAC Technology or a closely related field. Those who work in HVAC careers which require a more specialized skillset, such as HVAC engineering, will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering in most cases.
How Long Does it Take?
The length of time for completing a HVAC education program may range from just a few months up to several years. Generally HVAC certificate programs can be completed within 6-9 months and are best for those who prefer to enter the workforce as quickly as possible after high school but want some hands on experience and education in the field before working. HVAC professionals who are required to obtain an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree will typically take courses for 18-24 months before obtaining work. Finally, those who are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in their specialty can expect to be in school for 4 years on average.
Online HVAC Education
Those who are unable to attend school full-time but still need an advanced degree or further education in HVAC have the option of enrolling in an online program for all education levels. Online programs are available for both certificate and degree level programs. Three of the best programs for online HVAC education include Ferris State University, Penn Foster Career School and Pinnacle Career Institute Online.
HVAC Apprenticeship Programs
Alternative to traditional schooling, there are also apprenticeship programs available for those who want to enhance their skillset and knowledge outside of the typical class room setting. Apprenticeship programs are usually sponsored by trade unions or contractor associations and last between 3 to 5 years. A lot of professionals new to the field pursue this route so that they can earn money while learning more about the trade. Most apprenticeship programs require those interested to be at least18 years or older, have a high school diploma or GED, and successfully pass an entry examination or meet various entry level requirements.