In order to become a licensed HVAC technician, it is essential to take HVAC classes. These classes are designed to provide students with the knowledge and practical skills necessary to successfully repair, rebuild, service, and inspect any heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit they might encounter while on the job. These classes can be taken online or in person at an accredited trade school, and are typically capped off by a certification exam.
Trade School HVAC Classes
Many trade schools, vocational schools, and technical colleges offer the HVAC technician classes required for certification and subsequent hire. Typically, these classes are offered as part of a program offering HVAC degrees and certification, which typically takes about two years to complete when students are enrolled full-time. Upon the completion of which students are eligible to sit for the NATE or EPA exam, which (if passed successfully) will allow them to receive their HVAC certification licenses.
Online HVAC Classes
For adult students who have already established themselves in the working world, taking HVAC classes online might be the most attractive option. These classes allow students a greater degree of scheduling flexibility, while still offering the benefit of online aid from instructors with experience in the HVAC industry. The classes are also a bit less expensive than those offered at trade schools or technical colleges. The drawback to taking HVAC classes online is a lack of hands-on HVAC training, which is necessary to receive proper certification.
HVAC Classes Subject Matter
The specific subject matter of HVAC classes varies by institution. Some HVAC schools offer more rigorous programs with very specific class requirements; for example, students may be expected to take individual classes on particular HVAC units in addition to their core classes. Other programs (particularly those offered online) seek to impart mainly entry-level knowledge in mechanics and HVAC systems, while still others take the form of “refresher” courses—for those technicians who want to stay up to date with the latest HVAC technology.
Standard HVAC Classes
Despite the variability, most programs offer standard HVAC technician classes in mechanics, engineering, and electrical circuitry. Because these can be complex subjects, it is often recommended that students have completed general courses in math, physics, and chemistry, so that they can begin their HVAC training with a solid foundation of background knowledge. The basic mechanics and electronics classes cover essential information surrounding the construction of HVAC systems, their basic functions, and the best modes of service and repair.
HVAC Class Size and Format
Since the majority of on-site HVAC classes are offered at smaller community colleges or vocational schools, class sizes remain fairly small across the board, with a few exceptions. On average, anywhere from 12-25 students are enrolled in an HVAC training class, but as with most academic programs, the student population tends to decrease as the program gets more rigorous and the classes get more specific. The small class size may seem intimidating to some, but it means more one-on-one time with instructors, and thus more individual training.
Those interested in starting a career in the HVAC industry should be prepared to devote some significant time to the completion of the required HVAC classes. HVAC service is a complicated trade that requires a wide breadth of knowledge in mechanics and engineering, and students must be appropriately educated and qualified in order to gain entry at a reputable HVAC company.