2023 Best Online HVAC Certification Programs

Ready to start your journey?
Discover the best online HVAC certification programs for 2023. Find accelerated classes and fast online degrees to start your career in heating and cooling.

If you enjoy diagnosing problems and working with your hands, you might be interested in earning an HVAC certification online.

HVAC Certification Online Programs

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is a rapidly growing field that offers many career paths. HVAC specialists install and repair systems that control airflow and temperature inside commercial buildings, apartments, houses, and other structures.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Online HVAC schools help students develop industry-specific knowledge and technical skills that can prepare them for jobs in construction, energy, and other sectors.

HVAC Certification Online Programs

Woman taking HVAC Certification Online

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are critical to keeping buildings comfortable and safe.

Heating and air conditioning maintain consistent humidity levels and temperatures inside buildings. Ventilation circulates clean air through indoor spaces, decreases the spread of airborne diseases, and eliminates smells.

Experts in this field design and install HVAC systems in a range of structures, including houses, schools, and even submarines. They also troubleshoot and repair HVAC issues. For example, a certified HVAC technician may travel to a client’s home to fix a malfunctioning air conditioning unit. Additionally, HVAC experts can help develop new, more energy-efficient technology.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

You can expand your knowledge of HVAC systems by completing an HVAC online certification program. Here are a few subjects often covered by online vocational schools:

  • Air-source heat pumps
  • All-weather systems
  • Automotive engine heating and cooling systems
  • Compressors
  • Domestic appliances
  • Electrical motors
  • Government regulations
  • Heating fundamentals
  • HVAC system design
  • Math for the trades
  • Refrigeration systems
  • Residential and light commercial HVAC systems
  • Safety practices

Many online HVAC schools don’t require students to have any previous work experience in the trades. Courses typically cover foundational concepts in HVAC and teach technical skills like repairing electric motors.

By blending hands-on practice and theory, these programs enable students from all backgrounds to develop a deeper understanding of HVAC systems and the broader construction industry. Most graduates who earn an HVAC online certificate go on to pursue licensure or industry certification to become a certified heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) technician.

There are many pathways for advancement in the HVAC field. For example, a graduate may begin their career as an entry-level auto technician and get promoted to a service manager. Specializing in a niche like solar energy or commercial refrigeration may also open more job opportunities. Additionally, a number of graduates even launch their own HVAC businesses after gaining work experience.

HVAC Careers & Salaries

HVAC Certificate Careers & Salaries

Becoming an HVAC installer or technician is one of the most popular entry-level career paths in the HVAC industry.

These professionals install, clean, and fix HVAC systems. They also teach homeowners and other clients how to properly maintain their units. Plus, some HVAC graduates work in related sectors like automotive and manufacturing. Automotive HVAC technicians are necessary to help install, maintain, repair, and replace climate control systems in various types of vehicles.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median wages of potential career paths associated with heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) systems and related trades.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Boilermakers $64,290
Wind Turbine Technicians $56,260
HVACR Technicians — Educational Services $55,640
HVACR Technicians — Retail Trade $55,620
Sheet Metal Workers $53,440
HVACR Technicians — Wholesale Trade $50,390
HVACR Technicians — Plumbing, heating, and AC Contractors $48,140
Solar Photovoltaic Installers $47,670
General Maintenance and Repair Workers $43,180
Construction Laborers and Helpers $37,520

No certificate or degree can guarantee a specific position or salary. But, you may increase your chances of securing a preferred career by gaining relevant work experience and networking with industry professionals.

Some HVAC experts work in roles related to energy conservation. For example, some become energy auditors and ensure that HVAC systems work efficiently. Or you might apply your technical knowledge as a solar technician or wind turbine technician. These specialists help install renewable energy technology.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Others build on their HVAC knowledge by learning other trades. You could study carpentry, plumbing, and other niches in construction. Expanding your skill set can allow you to work as a general maintenance worker or carpenter.

Some graduates start general contracting or handyman businesses and offer a variety of installation and repair services for customers.

HVAC Certificate Curriculum & Courses

students taking HVAC Certificate guided by the teacher

Online HVAC schools develop their own curricula, but they cover similar topics and skills to prepare students for national certification exams. As an HVAC student, you may take courses on topics such as the following:

  • Commercial Refrigeration: You’ll learn about the mechanics and applications of commercial refrigeration devices, such as compressors, condensers, evaporators, and ice machines.
  • Domestic Appliances: This course examines the functions, maintenance, and repair of common household appliances like air conditioners, freezers, and refrigerators.
  • Fundamentals of HVACR: This foundational class introduces the equipment, systems, and tools used by HVAC specialists, along with methods to use this technology.
  • Gas Heat: You’ll learn about the principles of combustion, electrical controls for gas heating systems, and safety regulations.
  • Heat Pumps and Related Systems: You’ll learn about the functions and uses of residential heat pumps and similar systems.
  • HVACR Electrical Motors: This class teaches you how to install and service electric motors frequently used in HVACR systems.
  • HVACR System Design, Layout, and Commercial Applications: You’ll study techniques for choosing, installing, and fixing commercial air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration systems.
  • Refrigeration Fundamentals: You’ll investigate the concepts and theories of refrigeration, such as heat transfer, the laws of thermodynamics, and the relationships between pressure and temperature.
  • Refrigeration Principles and Practice: This course explores the major parts of refrigeration systems and diagnostic methods, such as leak testing and piping practices.
  • Troubleshooting Air Conditioning Systems: This class covers techniques for diagnosing and repairing issues with residential air conditioning systems.

In addition, some HVAC certificate programs require students to complete a basic English or math course.

Admissions Requirements

student preparing his HVAC Certificate requirements

Online HVAC schools often have fewer admissions requirements than associate or bachelor’s degree programs. Each school sets its own criteria for prospective students, but here are a few typical requirements:

  • Transcripts from high school and any postsecondary institutions you’ve attended
  • Online application and nonrefundable application fee
  • Personal interview with the school’s admissions staff
  • ACT, SAT, or CPE test scores (only some schools require them)

Additionally, some schools may require you to complete placement tests in English, math, and other subjects.

Online HVAC Programs Accreditation

University offering Online HVAC Programs

Some online construction trade schools have earned accreditation from professional associations. This credential is awarded to programs that demonstrate they meet educational standards of excellence.

Attending an accredited HVAC certificate program provides several benefits. For instance, many employers prefer to hire graduates from accredited schools because these students have received a high-quality education in the HVAC industry.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Also, clients often search for certified HVAC professionals who are trained by accredited programs. It’s also necessary to graduate from an accredited school in order to sit for some licensing exams.

You can visit the US Department of Education’s website to learn more about accreditation.

HVAC Licensure and Certifications

HVAC Technician with State HVAC License

Additional HVAC industry certifications and licenses can help unlock more job opportunities in the construction industry and other sectors. Here are a few common professional credentials:

  • State HVAC License: It’s necessary to earn a license before you can work as a certified HVAC technician in many states. Requirements vary by state but may include proof of education, a criminal background check, and an exam.
  • Certified HVAC Professional (CHP-5): The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) offers this prestigious certification. You’re required to pass five 30-question exams covering comfort and airflow, electrical and controls, HVAC fundamentals, installation, and service.

Industry certifications can help boost your credibility and resume.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

HVAC Certificate Financial Aid

Many students rely on financial assistance to help pay for their online HVAC training. You may qualify for several types of aid based on merit, financial need, and other factors.

Eligible students can get funding from the federal and state governments. The federal work-study program pays qualifying students to work part-time for their college or another organization. You may also receive federal and state grants. Plus, the federal government offers subsidized student loans.

You can determine if you qualify for need-based government assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Some colleges and trade schools offer grants and scholarships for eligible students. You might need to complete a separate financial aid application to qualify for these opportunities, so it’s strategic to research the requirements for each program of interest. Finally, many employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement to help their workers advance their education.

What Is an Online HVAC Certificate Program?

student pursuing an Online HVAC Certificate

An online heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) certificate program is centered on the knowledge and skills needed to design, install, and fix HVAC systems.

Attending HVAC school online can help you better understand the scientific theories that shape this technology. For instance, you may study the laws of thermodynamics and evaporation. Additionally, an online HVAC certificate program teaches you techniques to perform diagnostic testing and troubleshoot problems with HVAC systems. These programs focus on best practices in the industry and safety regulations.

What Can You Do with an HVAC Certificate?

Boilermakers working together

Online HVAC training help prepare students to become heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers, also known as HVACR technicians.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job openings for HVACR technicians will increase by 5% over the next ten years, which is steady, average growth. Some graduates apply their HVAC knowledge in the manufacturing industry. Others work for car dealerships and mechanics as HVAC automotive technicians.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

HVAC professionals may also secure positions in the renewable energy industry. For example, some graduates work as solar technicians or wind turbine technicians.

What Does an HVAC Technician Do?

HVAC Technician working on heating and cooling system

A certified HVAC technician ensures that HVAC systems function correctly. This professional often travels to clients to install and repair HVAC units on-site. They may specialize in commercial or residential systems.

Here are a few typical duties for an HVAC technician:

  • Clean heating and air conditioning units
  • Communicate with clients
  • Detect electrical and mechanical malfunctions in HVAC systems
  • Install HVAC systems
  • Keep up to date with local HVAC regulations
  • Perform warranty repairs
  • Repair faulty HVAC systems

An online HVAC school can help you develop the skills needed to perform these tasks.

Do HVAC Technicians Need to Be Certified?

HVAC Technician working on the all-weather system

HVAC technicians typically need to receive industry certification before they can start practicing in the field. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all HVAC technicians to earn their Section 608 certification in order to work with refrigeration systems.

Additionally, some states require HVAC technicians to pass a state licensing exam. In other areas, technicians can work under the supervision of a certified HVAC contractor without receiving their own licensure. But, some employers prefer to hire certified technicians who don’t require close oversight.

It’s strategic to research the certification and licensing requirements for the state where you intend to seek employment.

How Long Will It Take to Get an HVAC Technician Certificate Online?

student taking HVAC Technician Certificate Online

Several factors can influence how long it takes to earn an online HVAC technician certificate, including your enrollment status and the number of required courses.

Generally, students can complete a certificate in 1 year to 2 years if they enroll full-time at a school with traditional 16 week semesters. Some schools offer accelerated programs that include summer classes. Students can often complete these fast-track programs in 6 to 9 months.

If you enroll part-time, it will likely take longer to complete your certificate, but this option may also allow you to learn at your own pace.

Is an HVAC Technician Certificate Worth It?

Technician working on commercial HVAC system

Yes, an HVAC technician certificate is worth it for many students. An online program can help you expand your knowledge of HVAC systems, tools, and industry standards. Many schools don’t require students to have previous HVAC experience, so this credential can help you get a solid foundation in a trade.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

An online HVAC certificate can help prepare you for entry-level careers in construction, manufacturing, sales, and other industries. Many graduates work as HVAC mechanics and installers. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the demand for these professionals will likely grow by 5% over the next ten years.

Universities Offering Online HVAC Certificate Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

College of Staten Island

College of Staten Island campus

The College of Staten Island offers an HVACR certification program online and is typically taught in an asynchronous format. The program usually may be started at any time. The program is designed to help prepare for the NATE or HVAC Excellence certification, which may be done in under 12 months.

CSI is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Excelsior University

Excelsior University campus

Excelsior University offers an HVACR Technician course online. Topics generally taught include Automatic Controls and Commercial Refrigeration. The course is designed for entry-level learning and no experience is required. Study may begin at any time. The course is designed to prepare for entry-level certifications and often includes virtual simulations.

Excelsior University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Kauai Community College

Kauai Community College campus

The University of Hawaii offers a Certified HVACR Technician Training program online. Courses are typically taught at Kauai Community College. Potential courses include electric motors, automatic controls, commercial refrigeration, and domestic appliances. The program is often completed in under 12 months. At least 1 to 2 years of experience working in the HVACR industry is highly recommended.

Kaua’i Community College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University campus

San Diego State University offers an HVACR Training program through its online Global Campus. The program is designed for entry-level preparation and typically requires no prior experience to apply. A work-ready certificate may be earned after completing the course. The course may be completed in 12 months and typically has open start dates.

San Diego State University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College campus

Tyler Junior College offers an HVAC Technician certification program online designed to help prepare for national certifications. A high school diploma or equivalent must have been earned, but prior HVAC experience is typically not required. The program is designed to help prepare for entry-level work, and learning is often done through interactive labs and simulations.

Tyler Junior College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Central Missouri

University of Central Missouri campus

The University of Central Missouri offers an HVACR Certified Technician course online. Common topics covered include heat, temperature and pressure, matter and energy, refrigeration and refrigerants, and tools and equipment. Prior to starting the course, 1 to 2 years of experience in the HVAC industry is recommended. The cost of the course typically includes a voucher to take certification exams.

The University of Central Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

The University of North Dakota offers an online program for HVACR Technician Training for Certification. Typical topics taught include proper installation and operation of HVAC systems, and the recovery, recycling, and retrofitting of refrigerants. Courses are typically self-paced and may be started at any time. The program is commonly completed in 12 months.

The University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Texas – San Antonio

University of Texas San Antonio

The University of Texas–San Antonio offers an HVACR Technician Training program through its online Professional and Continuing Education program. The program requires the completion of 162 course hours. No prior experience is usually required and an exam voucher is typically available after completing coursework.

The University of Texas at San Antonio is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of West Florida

University of West Florida campus

The University of West Florida offers an online training course for HVACR Technicians. Courses are typically taught in an asynchronous format and are usually self-paced. The program’s content is commonly available for 12 months. The program’s tuition includes a voucher for certification exams. From 1 to 2 years of industry experience is recommended before starting the course.

The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wake Technical Community College

Wake Technical Community College campus

Wake Technical Community College offers an online Certified HVACR Technician Training Course. Upon completion, a voucher for certification exams is typically issued and hands-on guidance for service, repair, and solutions is typically taught in the program. The course is usually completed in 12 months and is typically self-paced.

Wake Technical Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your HVAC Certificate Online

student getting HVAC Certificate Online

An online HVAC certificate program can help open the door to various entry-level career opportunities. Graduates often apply their training in the construction, automotive, engineering, and manufacturing sectors.

Potential job titles include HVAC technician, indoor air quality inspector, and refrigeration technician. In addition, some professionals open HVAC businesses and hire employees. Others expand their knowledge by learning other trades. They might use their skills to seek employment as general contractors, electricians, or plumbers.

If you’re interested in working in the HVAC industry, you can start your educational journey today by researching accredited schools that offer HVAC training.

Ready to start your journey?
Brianna has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include careers and professional development, digital pedagogy, and first-year writing.