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 of programs last less than 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 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. For your degree you will work on general education credits, taking 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 will focus only on your trade.
Many people decide their training method based off how much time they want to spend, their goals once trained, and how quickly they want to get started. HVAC technicians earned an average pay of $57,460 in 2022 (bls.gov)!
Find your HVAC training program now by entering your zip.
Is HVAC Training Hard?
HVAC may seem intimidating; however, 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 should feel prepared 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. Also, the EPA 608 certificate never expires, 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 NATE exams require months to years of working experience before you can sit for them. Passing these exams will show employers and clients how qualified you are.
With your education and extra certifications under your belt, you’re now ready to start your career as an HVAC tech.
Find a local school and get started today.