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Online HVAC Training Programs

By: CareerFactsheet editors- Updated: Jun 21, 2017
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Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technicians work on heating, ventilation, and cooling systems, while Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR) technicians work with heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems. HVAC/R technicians work closely with systems that control air quality and temperature in all types of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. They are involved in installing and repairing these climate-control systems. Technicians can work as a contractor or employee for service providers and manufacturers in a wide range of sectors, including transportation, education, aerospace, automotive, and others. HVAC/R technicians can also run their own heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration business.

The traditional route to becoming a qualified HVAC/R technician is informal on-the-job training. Increasingly, some employers look for applicants who have some formal training and education in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration as climate-control systems become more and more complex. HVAC/R technicians can receive formal education and training from technical and trade schools, community colleges, colleges, or universities. Certificate, diploma, and degree programs generally last between 6 months to 2 years. In preparation for these programs, a background in mathematics and physics is recommended, as well as completion of high school or a general equivalency degree (GED) program. Technicians can also receive formal training by completing an apprenticeship program, which can last between 3 and 5 years.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC/R technicians earn more than the national average for all occupations. A technician can earn an average wage of $22.07 per hour or $ 45,910 per year (2016). Salaries typically increase as technicians gain experience.

Online HVAC Technician Training: An Alternative

Online heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration training and education programs offer many of the same courses, services, and supports provided to students who physically attend a trade or technical school, college, or university. The difference is that instruction and student supports and services are provided over the internet. Courses can be completed through independent study, where students establish their own pace and complete courses within a specified timeframe. Alternatively, students can complete web-based courses in online classrooms, which offer a more structured approach to online learning. With these virtual classrooms, students can ask instructors questions in real-time and interact with classmates.

Online training leading to a certificate, diploma, or degree is an alternative to similar programs at a trade or technical school, college, or university. Certificate programs tend to offer students instruction in the basic skills in heating, cooling, and refrigeration.

Diploma and degree programs offer students more in-depth instruction in the skills and techniques needed to design, build, install, maintain, and repair climate-control systems. Modules incorporate reading assignments, applied exercises, printable handouts for practical sessions, web-based tours and classes, as well as animations, video clips and images to assist in learning about climate-control systems. Testing can also be carried out online.

Web-based HVAC/R courses include modules on the fundamentals of climate-control systems, including instruction on the common aspects of the technology and physics of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology and physics. Instruction is also provided on basic definitions and terminology. Students learn about the features of heat energy, pressure, and gas and air works, as well as instruction on safety, tools, electrical theory and application, air circulation, heating and air systems, and HVAC/R systems properties and management. Additional courses may also be available on the operation and maintenance of specific types of climate-control systems, such as gas and oil heating systems, boilers, hydronic heating systems, refrigerants and refrigeration, and heat pumps.

In addition to online instruction, HVAC/R training programs also offer students the opportunity to complete a practical component similar to traditional training programs in a school or college. You can obtain supervised, hands-on experience in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems through a placement or paid internship at a local business or industry close to your home. Once your training is completed, you can pursue certification as a qualified HVAC/R technician.

Online HVAC Training Costs and Financial Aid

HVAC Training Online

Training costs depend on the type of program and vary from institution to institution. Online courses can be less expensive than on-site programs and can range from a few hundred dollars to just over $1,000 per course. By comparison, some on-site programs can cost several thousand dollars. In addition to tuition, you will be required to purchase books and additional materials needed to complete your coursework, such as tools for practical exercises. Costs associated with purchasing tools can be up to or over $1,000, depending on the type of program.

Merit-based financial aid may be available directly from the institution in the form of scholarships and grants, as well as from outside organizations such as trade unions. Needs-based financial aid may also be available from the education provider or from a government source. For example, you may be eligible for federal grants (Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants) and loans administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Low-interest or interest-free college or private education loans may also be available directly from the educational institution.

Federal financial aid is available if you are enrolled in a HVAC/R program from an accredited online education provider, school, or college. For more information about accredited schools, visit:

HVAC Employment Prospects and Trends

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that between 2014 and 2024, employment of HVAC/R technicians will rise by at least 14 percent. This increase in demand and employment is higher than the national average for all occupations. The BLS estimates that over 100,000 HVAC/R technician jobs will be created between 2014 and 2024.

There are also many emerging opportunities for HVAC/R technicians. Technicians are well-positioned to benefit from the green economy and new opportunities arising from higher consumer and industry demand for greener, more efficient climate-control systems. Trained HVAC and HVACR technicians can easily transfer their skills into new occupations that will emerge as the climate-control industry moves to towards more energy efficient and greener systems, and develops systems to complement greener construction.

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