• SkillCat Team

HVAC School: Online HVAC Training vs Technical Colleges

Updated: Jul 2

HVAC school has become increasingly popular as the HVAC industry is experiencing a shortage of workers. Workers looking to begin their career as an HVAC technician have never had more options. Many people wonder if HVAC school is even right for them. And if HVAC school is right for them, should they do online HVAC training or go to a technical college? This article is going to explain the pros and cons of online HVAC training and technical colleges. Let's dive in!




HVAC School: Online HVAC Programs


Online HVAC training is one of the most effective ways to get into the HVAC industry. Online HVAC courses are very cheap, faster than traditional classes, and allow you to learn at your own pace. Typically, online HVAC courses will teach the class using:


  • video's

  • animations

  • quizzes

  • forums

  • online lectures


Online courses tend to be more engaging and fun than traditional classrooms. They also allow flexibility for workers who can't commit to a fixed schedule of classes at a technical college.


There is a variety of online HVAC courses, and each HVAC school has its style. When looking for an online class, you will want to see if it has:


  • Flexible class hours

  • Online HVAC simulations

  • HVAC certification preparation

  • Interactive lessons


Let's take a closer look at each section.

Flexible Class Hours

Are you already working another job or have limited time due to family? Online HVAC school can be a great way to learn HVAC and keep up with your commitments. Since online HVAC schools don't have set class time, you can work when you have spare time. You can practice on a break or during your lunch.

Since online HVAC schools don't have set class time, you can work when you have spare time.

Online HVAC Simulations

Hands-on experience as an HVAC technician is a big deal in the industry. HVAC employers are more focused on your ability to do the job than on a fancy diploma. Online HVAC schools can give you hands-on experience through simulations. Simulations model real-life situations that HVAC technicians face every day. The simulation lets you practice in a safe environment while you learn the skills of the job.

HVAC Certification Preparation

HVAC certificates are one of the best ways to prove your knowledge in the industry. Typically, each certification is earned through a closed book test, where you must demonstrate your understanding of HVAC systems. The most common certificates are the EPA 608 certification, the NATE ready to work, and the NATE HVAC support technician certification.

When you are looking at online HVAC school, be sure that the curriculum preps you for these critical certifications. If you went to an online HVAC school and received your NATE RTW and EPA 608 certificates, you will be far ahead of anyone applying with no experience.

Interactive Lessons

Let's all admit that school can be tedious. A boring teacher lecturing for two hours or reading chapters of a textbook every week is not how most of us want to spend our days. One of the best parts about online HVAC school is you can throw out the textbook. No more reading a chapter a night. Instead, you watch a video on each section. These videos use animation, pictures, and videos to teach you the essential concepts.


One of the best parts about online HVAC school is you can throw out the textbook.

Most online programs will have a free trial, or you can preview one of their lessons. Be sure that the online HVAC school is fun to watch and enjoyable. It will make you more motivated to attend the class and do the work.




HVAC School: Technical Or Community Colleges

Technical or Community College HVAC programs will remind you of high school or college. There will be a set time to show up to class, and a teacher will lecture for a few hours. After the teacher lectures, you might do a hands-on project or work on the class homework assignment. With a technical HVAC school you can expect:


  • Set class times

  • Lectures

  • Hands-on practice

  • Classmates


Most of us can already imagine class at a technical HVAC school. Technical or Community colleges have some distinct advantages that you will want to look for:


  • Hands-on practice

  • Networking

  • Curriculum

  • Accreditation


Let's take a closer look at each section:


Hands-on Practice

Hands-on practice is the number one thing that employers screen for. if you know the concepts, but can't apply them to the job, you are in trouble and can't do the job. One of the best parts of technical college is that they can have HVAC systems in the classroom. You can fix a compressor in class, so you are experienced when you start your first job as an HVAC technician.


One of the best parts of technical college is that they can have HVAC systems in the classroom.

Networking

Technical HVAC schools have the advantage of a physical space for students to gather. Since students are in class, you can meet other people looking to make their way into the field. You can study, network for jobs, and learn with your classmates. Networking takes genuine effort, but it can be precious in the future. For example, a friend recommended you to a new job.

The other advantage of Technical HVAC classes is that the instructor is usually a veteran HVAC technician. The teacher will be able to tell you what you need to know about the job. They might even know companies that are hiring when you graduate.

Curriculum

Many technical HVAC schools can have filler coursework. They want you to feel like you got an excellent education, so they add additional classes. When looking at HVAC schools, be sure to see the curriculum and time to graduate. Most technical HVAC programs can take six months to two years to graduate.


Most technical HVAC programs can take six months to two years to graduate.

Accreditation

Accredited schools have had their curriculum reviewed and approved by major HVAC boards. Accredited schools can give employers and you more confidence in the curriculum and course work. I wouldn't worry about this too much since employers want to know that you can do the job. Still, it's nice to have.


Cost Of Technical/Community HVAC School

One of the most significant downsides to technical/community HVAC school is the price. Online HVAC schools tend to be a few hundred dollars or even free. In contrast, the cost of Technical school can vary dramatically. Here is a list of college prices in 2017. Credit to HVAC school for putting the list together:


  • $27,500 – College of Technology (private) in New York City – AAS in HVAC

  • $9,633 – Monroe Community College (public) in Rochester, NY – AAS in HVAC

  • $14,721 – Everest Institute (private) in Houston – nine-month HVAC diploma program

  • $3,184 – Lone Star College (public) in The Woodlands, TX – AAS in HVAC

  • $29,158 – Coyne College (private) in Chicago – AAS in HVAC/R

  • $7,012 – City Colleges of Chicago (public) – AAS in HVAC/R

Those are considerable variations in price, but you can see that no programs are cheap. If you the money and the time, then in-person classes can be a great fit. They give you more hands-on experience and let you connect with classmates and teachers.


Summary


Online HVAC school and Technical HVAC school have their pros and cons. Online HVAC school is great if you are looking for a program that is:


  • Affordable/Free

  • Flexible class times

  • Interactive

  • Simulations for hands-on experience


If you are looking for an excellent online HVAC school, I recommend SkillCat. Their HVAC Bootcamp is free, and it can be completed in 2-4 weeks. They even help you find a job after you graduate. You can find out more here.

Technical HVAC school can also be great if you have the money and are looking for:


  • a longer program

  • connecting with classmates/teachers

  • more hands-on experience

  • Set class times and location


If you are looking for an excellent technical HVAC school, I recommend googling to see what schools are in your area. Be sure to look at reviews and the criteria we looked at earlier in the article. Best of luck!


P.S. If you wanted to go even deeper on HVAC training, like HVAC technician salaries, apprenticeships, tips to succeed, and more, check out our complete guide to HVAC training. You can find out more here.

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