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.
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?
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.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
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
GPTC 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.
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
Ferris 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.
Northwest Louisiana Technical College
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
NLTC 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.
William Moore College of Technology
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
Moore 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.
Indian River State College
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
IRSC 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.
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
PBSC 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.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
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
In 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.
Lewis-Clark State College
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:
NotablesU.S. News & World Report
- Mechanical Systems Maintenance
- Refrigeration Theory
- Systems Design and Installation
- Hydronic Systems
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.
College of Business and Technology
OverviewThe College of Business and Technology (CBT) is located in Miami, Florida. It specializes in professional degree programs that give students hands-on learning experience. Among all of its offerings, the business administration, information technology, allied health, and graphic design programs are the most popular. FeaturesYou can earn either an associate degree or a diploma in A/C Refrigerator Technology at CBT. Both programs fully train you in the installation, maintenance, and repair of refrigeration, heating, and AC systems. You can then use these well-earned credits to attain advanced education or jump right into the job market. CBT classes include:
- Fundamentals of DC/AC
- Electric Motors Application
- Fundamentals of Refrigeration
- Blueprints and Design Codes
CBT not only offers free career service assistance to its students (and alumni!), but it also provides free refresher courses after graduation. So you can keep your acquired skills and knowledge polished and up-to-date. CBT also hosts a number of free workshops and lectures.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
OverviewNortheast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) is located in Green Bay. It offers more than 100 associate degrees, apprenticeship programs, and technical diplomas. Impressively, nearly 94 percent of NWTC students go on to find jobs after graduation.FeaturesNWTC offers a Technology Associate degree in HVAC that takes approximately two years to complete. Unique to the NWTC experience is the opportunity to study abroad and to become CPR, AED, OSHA, and EPA certified. Through NWTC you’ll become an expert in the following:
- Installation of HVAC systems
- Troubleshooting and repairing HVAC systems
- Working within both commercial and residential settings
- Product and building control
NWTC is recognized as an “Achieving the Dream Leader College,” a national award designating the school as highly committed to student success. Further, NWTC ranks within the top 1 percent of colleges for its communication technologies services, engineering technologies department, and its computer sciences support (Community College Week
Chippewa Valley Technical College
OverviewOne of the 16 members in the larger Wisconsin Technical College System, Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) is located in Eau Claire. It is a relatively large school with over 6k enrolled students plus another 15k within the continuing education department. CVTC offers dozens of certification, diploma, and degree programs.FeaturesBoasting a 100 percent job placement rate, CVTC’s diploma in HVAC can get you where you want to go. And in under a year! The twelve-month technical degree covers AC systems, sustainable energy, geothermal and solar applications, equipment installation, and more. CVTC also offers a two-year associate degree that builds on this with classes covering:
- HVAC Systems Design, Balancing, and Drafting
- Principles of ACHR Electricity
- Gas, Oil, Electric, and Hydronic Heating
At CVTC you have access to academic advising, a student success specialist, college success seminars, health coverage, and much more. CVTC receives federal grant support, which is then filtered into its non-traditional occupation programs. This helps fund the non-traditional programs and its participating students.
Lake Jackson, TX
OverviewBrazosport College (BC) is based in Lake Jackson, Texas, but has served students all round the Southern Texas region for decades. BC offers four-year degrees in industrial management as well as health services and administration. Additionally, there are dozens of two-year certification options at BC in an array of fields and disciplines. Over 6k students attend BC.FeaturesBrazosport offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVAC that requires 60 completed credits or a certification that only requires 16 credits. Whichever track you enroll in, Brazosport provides a foundational education in everything HVAC. You can also choose to specialize as either a commercial or residential technician. Coursework covers:
- Shop Practices and Tools
- Gas and Electric Heating
- Cooperative Education in HVAC Technology
- Residential and Commercial Refrigeration
BC is consistently named among the Aspen Top 10 for Community College Excellence. This is the nation’s preeminent recognition of high achievement among U.S. community colleges. BC also boasts a record number of Pell Grant winners: over 20 percent of BC students receive one.
OverviewLake Technical School is based in Eustis, Florida with a few other campuses located throughout the state. It is organized into five departments: architecture and construction, health science, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing, and law, public safety, and security. Lake Technical also offers career training to students still in high school under their dual enrollment program.FeaturesAt Lake Technical School you will learn the basics of electricity and electrical components through coursework on heating, AC, and refrigeration electrical control. You will also learn how to design heating and cooling systems and how to prepare and analyze financial reports. At Lake Technical you will divide your time among three training areas:
- HVAC Helper (250 hours)
- HVAC Mechanic Assistant (250 hours)
- HVAC Mechanic (250 hours)
Lake Technical’s stats speak for themself: over 93 percent of students graduate, 84 percent find job or school placement, and 88 percent get licensed. In addition to this, on average, graduates from Lake Technical make at least 25k annually in the early years of the career.
Perry Technical Institute
OverviewPerry Technical Institute is a private, non-profit school located in South Central Washington state. It offers a dozen specialized technical training programs. And each program was specifically designed for career assurance and success.FeaturesPerry not only offers a two-year degree in HVAC technology, it provides an array of certification options with which to supplement the degree (see below). Through Perry you will gain a solid foundation in HVAC principles and applications. And you will graduate ready for entry-level technician work or advanced education.
- Indoor Air Quality
- Green Mechanical Systems
- Preventative Maintenance
- EPA Refrigerant
Perry is ranked first of 700 other community colleges and technical schools for its income mobility. Part of that is because Perry consistently provides nearly a half million dollars in scholarships each year. Finally, Perry’s job placement rate for its graduates hovers around an impressive 94 percent.
San Joaquin Valley College
OverviewWith over a dozen campuses scattered throughout California and an extensive online education program, San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) is a large school. It is a private, for-profit junior college that proffers certificates, associate degrees, and continuing education programming. SJVC’s most popular areas of study are health, business, and technology. FeaturesAt SJVC you can earn a HVAC certification in as few as 9 months or an Associate of Science in HVAC degree in approximately 15 months. Both prepare students fully for the EPA certification exam. And most students go on to become production supervisors, HVAC installers, repair specialists, and more. Some of the classes you’ll take at SJVC include:
- Theory and Applications of AC
- Theory and Applications of Electricity
- Theory and Applications of Refrigeration
SJVC has provided accessible, affordable education and career training for over 40 years. It gives students small class sizes, career counseling, and low student-to-teacher ratios. Most students earn at least a certificate from SJVC is as few as 7 months.