HVAC technician training can take as few as six months for certificate classes, up to 5 years for an apprenticeship. At the end of your education, you will be prepared for a job in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry.
Different HVAC Program Lengths
You can be trained as an HVAC technician through several different formats. While the programs vary in length, the majority will have you out of the classroom in two years—and some take much less time than that.
Certificate programs, for example, one of the most popular training formats, can be completed in as few as 6 months.
Here are all your possible options and how long they typically take to complete.
- Certification: 6 months to 12 months
- Associate's Degree: 2 years
- Bachelor's Degree: 4 years
- Apprenticeship: 3-5 years of on-the-job training with 600 classroom hours
While it’s great to have so many choices, it will probably leave you asking which is best for you.
Associate and bachelor's degrees can introduce you to subjects outside of HVAC—you'll take classes like English and math. A certificate program is tailored toward getting you to work as quickly as possible; your classes only revolve around the trade and you'll have very few if any electives.
Many people decide their training method based off how much time they have, their goals once trained, and how fast they want to start earning real money. HVAC technicians earned an average pay of $53,410 in 2020 (bls.gov)!
Find your HVAC training program now by entering your zip.
Is HVAC Training Hard?
HVAC has been called a thinking man’s (or woman’s) trade. But even if you feel like the following may be intimidating, just remember that everything you learn is incremental, and teachers help you each step of the way.
You’ll need to be comfortable with:
- Math: Expect to solve high school-level algebraic equations, fractions, decimals, and other basic calculations.
- Logic: You’ll need to use or develop a knowledge of electrical circuits, as well as be able to read blueprints and charts.
- Physics or chemistry: Having an understanding in these areas is helpful for learning refrigeration.
In classes, you’ll learn:
- fundamentals of electricity
- refrigeration basics
- comfort systems
- refrigeration systems
- advanced troubleshooting
After Your Time In A General HVAC Program
Once you’ve gone through a trade school training program, you’ll feel pretty great about getting to work. But before you start applying to jobs, you need to earn your license through a proctored exam if your state requires it, and every HVAC technician should earn his or her Section 608 certification.
EPA Section 608
The EPA 608 certification will allow you to purchase and handle refrigerants. There are up to 4 parts of this test, with the initial 25-question exam being open book.
Your school program will have prepared you to take these tests, so they shouldn’t take much time to complete. Even better: The EPA 608 certificate is a one-and-done cert, meaning you won’t ever have to renew it.
Down the road, you may also want to look into NATE certification, which is voluntary. Nearly all require some months to years of working experience before you can sit for them. You’ll definitely have to study for the exams; they aren’t easy. But they will show employers and clients how qualified you are.
With your education and any applicable extras under your belt, you’re now ready to hit the ground running.
See, that didn’t take so long, did it? Find a local school and get started today.