Online HVAC Training Schools & Programs

Connect With HVAC Schools

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019) reports that openings for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC or HVAC/R) professionals will swell 4 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is as fast as the average growth projected for all occupations during that period(4 percent).

So what is the most convenient way for people to join this profession on the rise? One possibility is to enroll in an online HVAC training program.

With the widespread adoption of distance-based education through online certificates, degrees, and continuing education units (CEUs), aspiring HVAC professionals are no longer limited to on-campus training programs. Online HVAC training options leverage tools such as streamed web lectures, digital simulation tools, and computer-based assignments. Through these innovative online HVAC programs, students can receive rigorous training in HVAC testing instruments and service equipment, residential and commercial HVAC set-ups, electrical and heat-pump systems, and more.

As coursework is done at a student’s own pace, online HVAC training is generally best suited to students who can self-motivate. For students who are currently working, cannot relocate or travel long distances for school, or for current professionals who wish to transition their careers, choosing to do one’s HVAC training online can be a way to gain career skills that don’t require the complete rearrangement of one’s life around school.

Please note that some online HVAC schools and colleges require an on-campus intensive or an externship component to ensure that HVAC candidates receive adequate hands-on training in the field. Although not in every case, the externships can be completed locally. Also, a majority of the HVAC certification boards (e.g., North American Technician Excellence [NATE], HVAC Excellence, Refrigeration Service Engineers Society [RSES]) require those seeking certification to come to an approved testing site to demonstrate their competencies.

Finally, the state licensing requirements for HVAC professionals vary, but generally require some formal training (e.g., diploma, certification, degree) and years of experience, in addition to continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain active licensure.

Read on to discover the variety of ways that one can receive online HVAC training, including certificates, degrees, and CEUs.

 

Featured Online Programs

Penn

Take the first step towards your HVAC certification

Online HVACR Technician Career DiplomaVisit Site
Online Automotive HVAC Essentials Certificate Visit Site

Who Should Enroll in an Online Program

While many may find that they excel in a traditional classroom environment, others may discover that they are best suited for online learning. In making this decision, prospective students should carefully consider several different factors.

Anyone considering enrolling in an online program must have a complete understanding of the program’s campus visitation requirements. Some schools ask that you attend an on-campus orientation. Others ask that you attend an on-campus intensive at a regular interval, like once per semester, or once per year. Still, others may ask that you present your capstone project on-campus.

Online programs can be a highly attractive option for those who do not have the time to attend lectures, or who do not live close enough to the campus to make travel practical. Others, however, may find it difficult to excel in such a program, particularly students who do not perform well without support from professors or their peers inside the classroom, or outside the classroom in group study sessions.

Online HVAC Certificate Programs

Those who are interested in learning the fundamentals of HVAC systems—as well as current HVAC professionals interested in deepening their competencies in various subfields—have the option to gain HVAC training through online certificate programs. These programs are ideal for those looking for entry-level HVAC jobs, or for entry-level professionals looking to increase salaries. As part of the programs, students are prepared to take (and may receive vouchers for) specific HVAC certification exams.

Following are featured online certificate programs for HVAC professionals, aspiring and current:

University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota (UND) provides two distance-based HVAC certificates available: an HVAC/R certified technician program and an HVAC/R technician program.

Although both programs prepare graduates to work as HVAC techs, individuals looking for the most training possible to enter the HVAC technician field should consider the HVAC/R certified technician program. It is designed to prepare installers and technicians to successfully pass a range of national HVAC certification exams, including the EPA 608 Refrigerant Handling Exam, the R-410A Refrigerant Handling Qualification, and the students’ choice of certification exams from NATE or HVAC Excellence. As part of the program, students receive vouchers to sit for the most common industry certification exams.

Students for the HVAC/R certified technician program should have one to two years of industry experience as well as a high school diploma or GED. The HVAC/R technician program does not have any prerequisites.

Students will delve into topics such as refrigeration and refrigerants, tools and equipment, tubing and piping, system charging, fasteners, basic electricity and magnetism, application of motors, types of electric motors, compressors, condensers, special refrigeration systems, gas heat, electric heat, oil heat, air distribution and balance, and geothermal heat pumps, among others.

  • Location: Grand Forks, ND
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,895

Ashworth College

Ashworth College provides an online career diploma in heating and air conditioning that can be completed in as few as four months. This online HVAC training program was built for providing a flexible, convenient learning experience to busy students who do not have the time to commit to an on-campus program. This program offers them the flexibility of completing it entirely online from the comfort of their own home, at their own pace.

The comprehensive, self-paced program provides lessons on the field as a whole and then digs deeper into 13 specialized sections including tools of the trade, refrigeration systems, electrical systems, residential heating, and air conditioning, commercial systems, design, and more.

Ultimately, the Ashworth College HVAC Career Diploma provides preparation for the EPA Section 608 Certification exam. The Ashworth program includes a voucher towards the student’s cost of certification from ESCO. The program is ideal for anyone who wants to enhance their current skills and prepare for a high-demand field.

Through this program, students gain the essential skills and knowledge needed for successfully installing, troubleshooting, and maintaining HVAC systems for commercial and residential buildings. Notably, Ashworth also offers an automotive HVAC career certificate.

  • Location: Norcross, GA
  • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four months
  • Estimated Tuition: Full pay ($679); monthly pay ($899)

Penn Foster College

Penn Foster offers students a DEAC-accredited online career diploma that will help them take the first step toward becoming an HVAC/R technician. This online program is designed to help students prepare for HVAC certification and can be completed in as few as five months.

Through eight units of training—including courses on electrical systems, math for the trades, and fundamentals of HVAC/R, refrigeration systems, residential and light commercial HVAC/R systems, commercial refrigeration systems, and HVAC/R system design and installation—students learn to install, repair, and maintain home and commercial systems. As part of their program, graduates of Penn Foster Career School’s HVAC/R technician program are also given a voucher for the EPA Certification Test.

Penn Foster also offers students an online career certificate program that helps graduates develop their skills in the essentials of automotive HVAC. This online program covers automotive engine heating and cooling systems along with EPA rules, regulations, and safety practices. Graduates of Penn Foster Career School’s automotive HVAC essentials certificate program will also receive an ASE test-prep book to help them prepare for the ASE Heating and Air Conditioning test.

  • Location: Scottsdale, AZ
  • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Five months
  • Estimated Tuition: Career diploma ($729); automotive HVAC ($299)

Air Conditioning Contractors of America

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) offers an online residential HVAC certificate, comprising three modules and 28 lesson units in subjects such as how to design a ducted distribution system, how to size equipment appropriately, and how to perform residential load calculations. These certificates are valid for five years.

This program is ideal for contractors, design and utility personnel, technicians, wholesalers, licensing and code officials, energy commission officials, and others who are interested in learning about the importance of accurate residential load calculation procedures for system design.

ACCA also offers certification programs in light commercial HVAC design, EPIC instructor competencies, refrigerant handling (EPA 608), and two ACCA-developed Qtech certifications (quality installation and home performance).

  • Location: Alexandria, VA
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Expected Time to Completion: 22 to 25 hours plus individual study time
  • Estimated Tuition: $495 ($395 for ACCA members)

HVAC Training Solutions

HVAC Training Solutions provides several online training programs, including commercial refrigeration, HVAC technician, contractor, and NATE certification training. The course allows students to learn at their own pace and consists of video lectures along with online simulations of HVAC repair and maintenance scenarios.

The HVAC technician course includes 20 training modules, that cover topics such as heat, temperature, and pressure, matter and energy, basic electricity and magnetism, troubleshooting electric motors, air-source heat pumps, and more. For those not sure about a future in HVAC, this course also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The simplified approach offered here for learning HVAC is very non-traditional. When students learn the basics of HVAC, they will have the necessary skills to pursue their HVAC career.

  • Location: Online
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Expected Time to Completion: 10 to 18 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: Full pay ($985); monthly pay ($217)

HVACRedu

HVACRedu offers a NATE-certified HVAC technician program that is 100 percent online. In addition to incorporating learning objectives from the greater HVAC industry (HVAC Excellence, AHRI, NATE, ESES, HARDI, PAHRA, ACCA, etc.), this 256-hour program brings students sequentially through the NATE ready-to-work exam, the NATE CORE exam, the NATE air conditioning specialty exam, and then the EPA Section 608 certification. Coursework in the program includes building systems review, electrical common components, introduction to cooling system troubleshooting, and electrical motors.

This program is ideal for individuals who are new-to-the-industry and are non-certified technicians and installers wanting formal education for upskilling their knowledge and preparing for licensing or certification exams.

  • Location: Heron, MT
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Expected Time to Completion: 256 hours
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,665

Excelsior College

Excelsior College provides an online HVAC/R technician program preparing students for entry-level employment in the HVAC/R industry by providing hands-on guidance for repair, solutions, and service. By completing this program, students will be ready to pass all seventeen HVAC Excellence Employment Ready Certificates, the NATE Ready to Work Certificate, and the EPA 608.

Students will also receive a voucher that includes one employment-ready certificate for electrical, one employment-ready certificate for air conditioning, and one EPA 608 voucher.

This program is for students who have little or no background in HVAC/R, so there are no prerequisites to take this program. However, it is recommended to have a high school diploma or GED.

The curriculum includes topics such as automatic controls, electric motors, commercial refrigeration, all-weather systems, domestic appliances, commercial air-conditioning and chilled-water systems, safety, tools and equipment, and shop practices, among others.

Upon completion, students learn about installing and operating HVAC systems. They also have a complete understanding of the recovery, recycling, and retrofitting of refrigerants. Also, they will get an understanding of the EPA laws related to safe handling and transport of refrigerants.

  • Location: Albany, NY
  • Accreditation: Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,895

Midlands Technical College

Midlands Technical College offers several HVAC programs including an HVAC entry-level certificate, an HVAC/R associate degree, and an HVAC/R technician diploma. These programs cannot be completed entirely online, but many courses offered by them have an online option. Having a combination of hands-on training and classroom instruction, these programs prepare students for careers that encompass the planning, installation, operation, and maintenance of a wide variety of HVAC systems.

The HVAC entry-level training certificate consists of 141 clock-hours. The associate degree comprises 71 credits while the diploma is made up of 45 credit hours. The curriculum includes courses such as HVAC electrical operation and diagnostics, heat pump operations and diagnostics, fundamentals of refrigeration, heating fundamentals, basic air conditioning, heat pumps, airflow design, measurement and diagnostics, and general psychology, among others.

Graduates can take up roles such as commercial refrigeration technician, residential service technician, HVAC/R installation technician, physical plant maintenance technician, to name a few.

  • Location: West Columbia, SC
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: HVAC training certificate (141 clock-hours); associate degree (five semesters); diploma (three semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: HVAC training certificate ($4,270); associate degree ($12,638); diploma ($8,010)

University of California, Berkeley Extension

An online certificate program in HVAC offered by UC Berkley allows students to take classes in a live online format from anywhere with an internet connection. Students in this program will be provided with an in-depth understanding of the technical applications and principles they need for designing new HVAC systems and retrofitting existing systems to meet energy-conservation and comfort standards.

There are no prerequisites for this certificate program, but a bachelor’s degree in engineering or previous HVAC experience is recommended.

Made up of 11 credits, the curriculum is approved by UC Berkeley, College of Environmental Design, and overseen by industry and education leaders ensuring that the education provided is relevant and up to date. The faculty of the program includes working professionals who have years of practical experience. Courses include HVAC ductwork and piping systems, HVAC control and energy management systems, HVAC system design considerations, and HVAC system load calculations and psychrometry.

Upon successful completion, graduates will receive a certificate of accomplishment from the Golden Gate Chapter of the ASHRAE (American Society for Heating, Refrigeration & Air-Conditioning Engineers).

  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Three semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: $4,875 to $5,285

University of Central Florida

UCF’s Division of Continuing Education has two HVAC programs available: an HVAC/R technician program and an HVAC/R certified technician program. Both programs provide students with vouchers to sit for certification exams.

Preparing graduates to work as HVAC techs, these programs prepare technicians and installers to successfully pass a wide variety of national HVAC certification exams such as the R-410A Refrigerant Handling Qualification, the EPA 608 Refrigerant Handling Exam, and the students’ choice of certification exams from HVAC Excellence or NATE.

The HVAC/R technician program does not have any prerequisites while the HVAC/R certified technician program requires students to have one to two years of industry experience as well as a high school diploma or GED.

As part of the program, some of the topics students will explore include calibrating instruments, system charging, introduction to automatic controls, troubleshooting basic controls, automatic control components and applications, expansion devices, indoor air quality, comfort and psychometrics, cooling towers and pumps, and room air conditioners to name a few.

  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $2,895

Remington College

Remington College Online offers an HVAC diploma and associate of occupational studies program in HVAC. courses in these programs are delivered in a hybrid format. In the hybrid format, courses may include in-person (residential) and distance education (online) components. These programs provide in-depth training in HVAC systems helping students learn about the basics of maintaining and troubleshooting today’s complex HVAC/R systems.

The diploma comprises 59 credits while the AOS degree is made up of 95 credits. The curriculum includes courses such as basic refrigeration theory, residential heating, basic electricity, fundamental HVAC maintenance, hydronic systems, ventilation and airflow, commercial refrigeration systems, motors and motor control, domestic appliances and cold water air conditioning, and residential heating, among others.

At the end of the program, graduates will be ready for entry-level positions in the HVAC industry such as in commercial or industrial heating and cooling, residential, commercial, or industrial refrigeration and freezers, and residential heating and cooling. They can find opportunities with manufacturers, contracting companies, refrigeration appliance installation and repair, and commercial freight and air conditioning.

  • Location: Knoxville, TN
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Diploma (12 months); AOS degree (24 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Diploma ($248.86 per credit); AOS degree ($246.27 per credit)

Online HVAC Degree Programs

Although a majority of degree-granting (associate or bachelor’s) HVAC programs are campus-based, there are some exceptions. The online HVAC training programs listed here are degree-completion programs, which assume students have some formal training in HVAC (typically an approved certificate or diploma) and do not admit students without experience. Prospective students are encouraged to ensure that their experience and credentials qualify them for enrollment before applying.

In addition to the associate degrees profiled above, here are two standout options for online HVAC degrees:

Charter College

Charter College has an online associate of applied science (AAS) degree in applied technology. This program is designed to help those who already hold an HVAC certificate or for those who already completed extensive formalized non-degree HVAC training to transform their HVAC training into a degree.

This online AAS prepares students for leadership and management. Courses in the 20-week, 36-credit online HVAC training program include customer-focused management, developing and implementing projects, academic success strategies, written and oral communication practices, and environmental science. Charter College’s online AAS is open to applicants with at least 54 quarter-credit-hours in a trades concentration or who are graduates of a Charter College trade program.

Upon successful completion, graduates should be able to apply critical thinking logic and skills for evaluating and solving problems, analyze and apply project management concepts using project management software, and apply customer service knowledge and skills necessary to successfully engaging and collaborating with clients and customers.

Graduates will be prepared to take up roles such as sheet metal workers, heating and air conditioning mechanics and installers, refrigeration mechanics and installers, solderers and brazers, and architectural drafters, to name a few.

  • Location: Anchorage, AK
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: Five months
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the college for details

Ferris State University

Ferris State University’s online bachelor of science (BS) in HVAC/R engineering technology takes students deeper than traditional certificate or diploma programs, focusing on turning out experts in HVAC design, controls, retrofitting, testing, and other skills.

This online HVAC training program does have one on-campus requirement, where students complete a seven-day lab with the opportunity to perform HVACR analyses for local West Michigan businesses and residents. Students enrolled at Ferris State also will be expected to complete a summer internship where they gain a variety of commercial and industrial systems and energy-related experiences. This program is open only to those who already hold an associate degree in HVAC.

Students in this program will delve into topics such as advanced electricity and circuits, advanced refrigeration and AC, introduction to refrigeration and AC systems, commercial refrigeration systems, fundamentals of heating and mechanical systems, and advanced HVAC/R controls, among others.

  • Location: Big Rapids, MI
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $443 to $470 per credit

Online HVAC Continuing Education Programs

There are several online training options for HVAC continuing education units (CEUs) which are required to maintain active licenses and certifications in some states. Although many state government websites (e.g., Texas Department of Licensing and Registration [TDLR], Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings & Construction) provide links to approved HVAC continuing education facilities, there are also online CEU opportunities offered through universities and training institutes.

Before enrollment, applicants must verify online CEUs are valid to maintain their chosen certifications or licenses. Interested students should check with licensing bodies, certification providers, or CEU program coordinators to ensure eligibility.

ASHRAE

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has several online classes, valid for three CEUs each, including combined heat and power, laboratory design, fundamental requirements of a standard, and commissioning process in new and existing buildings.

Trane

Trane, a company that patented its first air conditioner in 1931, hosts many more specialized online CE courses which have been approved by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Trane offers classes in coil selection and optimization (one CEU); air handling systems (one); air-to-air energy recovery (1.5); and applying variable refrigerant flow (1.5).

These more advanced courses may qualify for state-licensed professional CEUs.

State CE

State CE, a multi-industry CE provider who has helped more than 100,000 professionals meet their needs since 2001, provides a wealth of state-specific online CE programs with training in HVAC fundamentals; rules, law, safety, and health; and systems and standards. The services offered here are from experienced HVAC professionals who prepare all CE course materials to ensure thoroughness, relevance, and accuracy.

All programs are certified by the appropriate state licensing bodies. The self-study courses allow students to take control of their learning process. They won’t feel the need to keep up with other students. They can repeat the lessons as often as they wish until they have mastered the materials to their satisfaction.

Penn Foster

Penn Foster’s online HVAC program (profiled above in “online HVAC certificate programs”) can also be used for continuing education units (CEUs) through select state government and certification organizations.

University of North Dakota

Although students must check to see if these programs count for CEUs with their regional certifying bodies, HVAC professionals looking for professional development can enroll in HVAC/R simulations for field technicians and HVAC/R controls/building automation systems—both available from the University of North Dakota.

HVAC/R simulation is an 18-hour, six-month course that enables entry-level HVAC professionals to practice real-life troubleshooting of HVAC systems in a simulated environment. HVAC/R controls/building automation is a 90-hour, six-month course for experienced HVAC/R professionals who want to expand their knowledge of systems and controls from a professional with 38 years of industry experience.

HVACRedu

HVACRedu offers two advanced online HVAC training programs in commercial refrigeration and commercial building automation systems. The commercial refrigeration program is recognized to provide 24 hours of continuing education (CEH) for NATE recertification, and BPI recognizes the course for 12 CEUs. The commercial building automation systems program is not officially listed as being recognized for CEUs but provides 87 hours of professional development that complies with ANSI/ACCA quality installation and maintenance standards.

Accreditation for Online HVAC Programs

There are several types of accreditation that are applied to a range of HVAC schools and training programs. Although program accreditation may not be mandatory to secure work in the HVAC industry, it helps students exercise quality-control with their program selection and some employers may prefer candidates who have completed accredited training.

First, there are HVAC-specific accrediting bodies such as HVAC Excellence, which since 1999, has accredited programs in 30 states. Criteria for program approval include an examination of the program mission, instructor training, and other elements of a school. A list of accreditation team leaders as well as accredited schools is available on the HVAC Excellence website.

The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) is one of the two main national accreditation bodies for HVAC programs. PAHRA-accredited programs must use the industry competency exams (ICE) for graduating students, which test knowledge in three areas: residential AC and heating, light commercial AC and heating; and commercial refrigeration. These exams are administered by North American Technician Excellence (NATE).

The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) offers accreditation for continuing education courses. To seek accreditation, a school must have been in business for at least one year and have courses and programs that meet the IACET’s prescribed accreditation standards.

There are also institutional accreditation bodies, which apply to schools as a whole. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)—recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)—approves providers of online education.

Other recognized institutional accrediting authorities in higher education include:

  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.