Looking for a fulfilling and well-paying career in which you can work with your hands? Don't like being confined to a single office or warehouse? Then look no further than becoming an HVAC technician.
HVAC technicians are responsible for installing and repairing heating and cooling systems. Vital to the functionality of homes and commercial properties everywhere, they're greatly needed in today's society.
While HVAC technicians require HVAC education, they don't require a 4-year college degree. Instead, they can obtain their HVAC training through specialized HVAC schools and HVAC programs. Learn more about these below!
How Much Can You Make as an HVAC Technician?
HVAC technicians' salaries are generally fairly high. They fluctuate based on location, with jobs in high-cost-of-living areas commanding bigger salaries than do jobs in low-cost-of-living areas.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that HVAC technicians make an average of around $50,000 a year. That said, with advancement and experience, it's not uncommon for technicians to make up to $75,000 a year.
Some individuals opt to eventually start their own HVAC companies. In doing this, you can increase your yearly income exponentially. There is a great need for HVAC services, and so HVAC businesses generally have no trouble finding consistent work.
Becoming a Certified HVAC Technician
If you want to become an HVAC technician, you should go through HVAC training as a means of becoming certified (though not all states require you to do so, certification is still recommended). There are several ways to go about doing this.
One option is to take part in a certification program. These programs usually last around 9 months and are the quickest way to earn certification in HVAC.
Another option is to earn an Associate's Degree from a vocational college. This will take you 2 years as opposed to 9 months, but will provide you with a greater wealth of knowledge and will also put you in a position to obtain valuable apprenticeships.
Note, in addition to becoming licensed as an HVAC technician in your state, you should also consider obtaining valuable voluntary certifications such as NATE certification. Being NATE certified is important, as it will show you to be competent and knowledgeable in the realms of residential and light commercial HVAC work.
There are other certifications you can obtain also but they're more specialized in nature. For instance, you could obtain a refrigeration certification or a residential boiler certification. Becoming certified in these areas will broaden your skills and could go on to make you more money down the road.
How Much Does HVAC Certification Cost?
The cost to take an HVAC certification exam generally comes between $50 and $100. However, there are usually other costs that must be incurred, particularly those for HVAC education.
If you were to take part in an HVAC vocational program, you would likely pay somewhere between $1,500 and $10,000. If you were to earn an Associate's Degree in HVAC, you would likely pay between $5,000 and $10,000 per year over a span of 2 years, totaling $10,000 to $20,000.
The Top HVAC Schools for HVAC Training
Regardless of where you're located, there's likely to be a reputable HVAC school within 25 miles of you. However, if you're looking to attend one of the best HVAC schools in the United States, you're advised to go with one of these.
1. Bates Technical College
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bates Technical College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Providing 2-year Associates Degrees, it offers an Associates of Technology in HVAC. Existing for 80 years, Bates Technical College is highly respected in the Pacific Northwest.
2. Blackhawk Technical College
Blackhawk Technical College is located in the Janesville, Wisconsin area. It provides an array of Associate's Degree programs, including one in HVACR. If you're in the Great Lakes Region, this might just be the best option for you.
3. Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Located in Clarkston, Georgia, Georgia Piedmont Technical College is one of the best HVAC colleges in the southeast. Offering a variety of Associates Degrees, it has a student population of over 6,000.
4. Ferris State University
Next up is Ferris State University, a college that offers both 2 and 4-year degrees. Located in Big Rapids, Michigan, it's one of only 2 colleges that offers a Bachelor of Science in HVACR.
5. Northwest Louisiana Technical College
Northwest Louisiana Technical College has three campuses. Its main campus is in the town of Minden, while its other campuses reside and Shreveport and Mansfield. The top technical college in the state of Louisiana, its HVAC program prepares students to go straight into the HVAC field.
6. Lewis-Clark State College
If you're in or around Idaho, you might consider Lewis-Clark State College. Located in Lewiston, Idaho, it has a student population of around 3,600. Offering a top-notch HVACR program, this school will teach you everything you need to know about heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration.
7. Austin Community College
If you're in the state of Texas, you should consider heading to the city of Austin so that you can attend Austin Community College. The college has the best HVAC program in the Lonestar State and will teach you everything needed to become an HVAC technician.
8. Moraine Valley Community College
In the state of Illinois, you should take a look at Moraine Valley Community College. Located in Palos Hills, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, it offers an HVAC certificate program that will enable you to fast-track your journey into the HVAC field.
9. Chippewa Valley Technical College
Located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Chippewa Valley Technical College has a student population of around 7,500. Offering a 1-year HVACR program, Chippewa Valley will teach you everything you need to know about installing, maintenance, and repair.
10. New England Institute of Technology
If you're in New England, your best option might be the New England Institute of Technology. Located in Greenwich, Rhode Island, this school offers a top-notch Associate Degree in Refrigeration-Air Conditioning-Heating-Technology.
These HVAC Schools Will Set You on the Right Path
If you're looking for high-quality HVAC training and HVAC education, these HVAC schools will set you on the right path. Not only will they provide you with the knowledge needed to succeed but they'll also afford you the opportunity at hands-on training. Keep in mind all states have different requirements. To find your state, check out these HVAC license states requirements.
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