Best HVAC Programs

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Are you ready to find your fit?

Become an expert in heating, ventilation, and AC (HVAC) with one of the best HVAC training programs in the country.

Are you someone who is equally passionate about electrical circuits as you are about getting your hands dirty at work? Do you envision yourself as a leader designing and maintaining successful HVAC systems? Then a degree or certification in HVAC may be the next, ideal move for you!

What kind of HVAC degree should you get?

Though most HVAC certificates and degrees provide similar foundational training, each comes with its own emphases and specializations. Some schools ensure you have a firm grasp on theory as much as application. Others stress the importance of getting in the lab and learning through hands-on experience.

Whichever program feels right for you, just make sure they offer the kind of certification you want. And check whether they prepare you for the industry EPA exam. We’ve be sure to note those that do below.

Finally, if you’re still not sure about HVAC training, because of finances or circumstance, and you’re wondering about earning a degree online, visit our 2017 ranking for the best online education programs in the nation.

How much money do people make with an HVAC certificate or degree?

Let’s say you just want to earn an HVAC certificate before committing the time and money to a full associate degree. Then you’re looking at an average salary of at least 45k a year. Now, maybe you’re ready to take some more classes and complete the full AS degree. You’re looking at a substantial pay raise: those with an AS in HVAC earn on average 52k a year. The possibility of making upwards of 76k annually only increases in time.

Not only is the pay good, HVAC offers job stability. It’s projected that the need for HVAC mechanics will rise another 14 percent (way above the national average) in the next few years alone.

Top 10 Best HVAC Programs


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What are the requirements for an HVAC certificate or degree?

Acceptance into any of these HVAC programs are practically guaranteed. You only have to prove you’re passionate about HVAC training!

Once accepted, you can anticipate foundational classes in electricity, cooling, and heating. If you’re earning only the certificate you may take a few more courses on top of these, such as Troubleshooting Skills or Electrical Motors.

But if you’re planning to earn an associate degree you can expect a number of specialized classes. These might include thermodynamics, sustainable energy, brazing and piping, and more. As a rule of thumb, the associate degree will take around two years to complete while certifications range from six to twelve months.

What are the best HVAC degrees?

Best HVAC Degrees Badge

While some of these programs specialize in green energy and sustainability and others emphasize leadership development, they all share one thing one common: they are the best at training future HVAC mechanics. Whether you want to work in installation or design, one of these HVAC programs will get you where you want to go.

To determine the best HVAC programs we started first with the reputation of each HVAC program in the nation and then looked into graduation rates, retention rates, affordability, and the early salaries of graduates.
After such thorough research, our final list boasts the best HVAC programs in the U.S. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.

Best Colleges for HVAC

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Georgia Piedmont Technical College
    Location

    Clarkston, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewPart of the larger Technical College System of Georgia, Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC) serves the Atlanta community. More than 8k students are enrolled in a GPTC program, of which there are over 120. GPTC continues to grow and is currently developing new programs in the arts. FeaturesAt GPTC you can become fully prepared for a career in either residential or commercial heating and air conditioning. You will also gain a foundation in both theory and application on industry technologies. This includes troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining HVAC systems. The following program options at GPTC include:

    • Air Conditioning Technician’s Assistant (Certificate)
    • Sustainable Technologies (Certificate)
    • Air Conditioning Technology (Diploma)
    • Associate of Air Conditioning Technology
    NotablesGPTC is perhaps best known for having one of the largest adult literacy programs in the larger technical system of Georgia. It implemented the system-wide Certified Literate Community Program. GPTC was also recognized recently for having the largest number of students earn U.S citizenship while in school.

  2. Ferris State University
    Location

    Big Rapids, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewLocated in Big Rapids, Michigan, Ferris State University (FSU) was founded as an industrial school. And today, though it offers hundreds of unique academic programs, it maintains those roots. It has strong professional programs in the areas of technical education, business, health sciences, and more.FeaturesAt Ferris State you can earn a full BS degree in HVAC. This is a two-year program that introduces you to HVAC design, testing and adjusting, systems balancing, and microcomputer controls. Meaning, you’ll graduate from Ferris State ready to immediately enter a rewarding career in HVAC. In fact, graduates have gone on to become:

    • Application Engineers
    • Project Engineers
    • HVAC Technicians
    • Systems Representatives
    NotablesFerris State boasts an impressively low student-to-teacher ratio of 16:1. Students at Ferris State work closely with faculty members, who are leaders and experts in their professional fields. This has established a reputation of mentorship across the Ferris State campus.

  3. Austin Community College
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewThis community college system (ACC) serves all of Austin, Texas and its surrounding communities. In all, it serves over 100k students who either attend classes on one of the many campuses or online. ACC offers over 100 associate degrees and technical certification programs.FeaturesThe Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Technology (HART) program at ACC gives you two options: a 29 credit-hour certification that takes one year to complete or a 60 credit-hour Associate of Applied Science degree, which takes two years to complete. Both provide a foundation in HVAC with classes on:

    • General Basics in Electricity
    • Physics of Refrigerant
    • Temperature and Pressure Relationships
    • Fundamentals in Troubleshooting Skills
    NotablesAs one of the largest community college systems in the United States, ACC is able to offer an impressive range of services and programs to its students. It is best known for its continuing education and technical training programs, though.

  4. Northwest Louisiana Technical College
    Location

    Minden, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewNorthwest Louisiana Technical College (NLTC) offers degrees in business, health services, information technology, construction and manufacturing, and transportation. NLTC’s main campus is located in Mindin but it has additional branches throughout the state. Over 3k students are enrolled. FeaturesYou can earn a HVAC technical diploma, certificate of technical studies, or a technical competency area recognition at NLTC. All provide specialized training in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration repair. You will learn how to install, diagnose, repair, and maintain systems at the residential and commercial levels. At NLTC you can anticipate taking classes such as:

    • Applied Electricity and Troubleshooting
    • Solar Thermal Applications
    • Commercial Refrigeration
    • Electrical Motors
    NotablesNLTC offers certification, diploma, and associate degrees in a wide variety of areas. From phlebotomy to well drilling, students have many options at NLTC. The most popular programs of study are also among NLTC’s best: HVAC, business management, and computer science.

  5. William Moore College of Technology
    Location

    Memphis, TN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewFrom plumbing to applied technology, the William Moore College of Technology (Moore Tech) offers a number of vocational and professional degrees. It’s one of the smallest schools on our list, with just a few hundred students. And it is a private, nonprofit institution of higher learning. FeaturesThis Associate in HVAC degree through Moore Tech takes two years to complete. With a job placement rate around 97 percent, Moore Tech sets its students up well to find stable careers after graduation. Students engage in both a theoretically driven and hands-on learning experience. The exhaustive curriculum covers:

    • Ventilation and Refrigeration Maintenance
    • Mechanics and Installation
    • Principles of Conditioning and Refrigeration
    • Heating Mechanisms
    NotablesMoore Tech is one of the oldest vocational institutions in the United States. It was founded in 1909 and since then has provided accessible education for those seeking careers in business and technical fields.

  6. Indian River State College
    Location

    Fort Pierce, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewLocated in Fort Pierce, Florida, Indian River State College (IRSC) offers approximately 10 bachelors degrees in addition to a number of certificate, associate, and diploma programs. All in all, there are over 100 areas of study and trade, from education to manufacturing. FeaturesAt IRSC you can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Systems Technology. This program not only fully trains you on the needed skills of HVAC technicians, but it ensures you are ready for a mid-management position. Choose between hands-on module learning or the apprenticeship program. Classes include:

    • Air Conditioning and Heating Service Management
    • Refrigerant Recovery and Reclaim
    • Introduction to Business
    • Energy in Building Design
    NotablesIRSC was recently named one of the ten best community colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute. Additionally, its Knight Center for Emerging Technologies is designated first in the nation among mid-size colleges by the Center for Digital Education.

  7. Palm Beach State College
    Location

    Lake Worth, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewPalm Beach State College (PBSC) is a member of the highly regarded Florida College System. It is located in Palm Beach County and is home to over 50k students. PBSC offers over 100 degree programs, from certifications to full bachelors, and in an equally diverse range of subjects.FeaturesAt Palm Beach State College you will learn all the skills and knowledge affiliated with air conditioning and refrigeration, installation and maintenance, and control circuitry. This program is HVAC Excellence Employment Accredited and it prepares you to ace the EPA HVAC certification exam. At PBSC classes are organized into four tiers, with multiple courses in each:

    • Heating, AC, and Refrigeration Helper
    • Heating, AC, and Refrigeration Mechanic Assistant
    • Heating, AC, and Refrigeration Mechanic
    • Heating, AC, and Refrigeration Mechanic Technician
    NotablesPBSC is one of the largest schools in the Florida College System. It was recently ranked as the 12th largest producer or associate degrees in the U.S. by Community College Week. And, it offers the lowest tuition rates in the state of Florida.

  8. Florida State College at Jacksonville
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewLocated in Jacksonville, Florida State College (FSCJ) offers some of the most affordable and accessible degrees in the state. It has a global learning initiative, with classes held online. And FSCJ offers over 150 academic, professional, and technical programs. FeaturesFSCJ offers a Workplace Certification in HVAC that takes one year to complete. This program sets you on the path to either earn a more advanced degree or to jump right into HVAC work as either a mechanic or installer. In addition to the coursework you will complete a number of labs plus an internship. Some of FSCJ’s classes include:

    • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Theory I and II plus labs
    • Basic Electricity and Schematics
    • HVAC Controls
    • Applied Heating and Piping
    NotablesIn addition to its praise for being affordable and accessible, FSCJ is also known for its commitment to student diversity. Students represent more than 100 countries. Community College Week ranks FSCJ as 11th in the nation.

  9. Moraine Valley Community College
    Location

    Palos Hills, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewMoraine Valley Community College is located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is home to over 36k students, who are enrolled in one of Moraine Valley’s many academic and trade programs. Classes are held both online and on-campus (or both), on weekends, and at night. Tuition is low and scholarships are plentiful.FeaturesMoraine Valley offers a 33 credit-hour Heating and Air Conditioning Certificate. This is a perfect route to gain an entry-level position with the HVAC industry. At Moraine Valley, in addition to taking the traditional classes on electrical service, installation, control systems, and AC theory, you will also have the opportunity to take unique electives such as:

    • Sheet Metal Hand Forming
    • Sustainable Energy Practices
    • Electronic Controls
    • Plus seminars and internships
    NotablesMoraine Valley has demonstrated an adamant commitment to sustainability. Its Center for Sustainability, established by the Illinois Green Economy Network, works to maintain a green campus. But it also promotes green careers and job training among its students.

  10. Lewis-Clark State College
    Location

    Lewiston, ID

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    OverviewA public undergraduate school, Lewis-Clark State College offers approximately 85 areas of study and trade. However, it is most known for its technical, education, criminal justice, and nursing programs. Over 4k students attend Lewis-Clark State College, which is located in Lewiston, Idaho. FeaturesAt Lewis-Clark you can earn an Advanced Technical Certificate, an Associate of Applied Science, or a Bachelor of Applied Science in HVAC. It all depends on the amount of time and energy you can provide, and what level of training you desire. While the certificate requires 55 completed hours and the BAS requires 120, core classes cover:

    • Mechanical Systems Maintenance
    • Refrigeration Theory
    • Systems Design and Installation
    • Hydronic Systems
    NotablesU.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Lewis-Clark State College as among the top public colleges in the West. It is also known for its research initiatives and its collaborations with other state colleges and universities, as well as local business leaders, public sector groups, and more.

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