Accredited HVAC Schools in Worcester, MA
HVAC and HVAC/R technicians traditionally began their careers as helpers and learned the trade through on-the-job training. It is still possible to do so, but that has become more uncommon. Most workers now attend classes or participate in an apprenticeship program.
Apprenticeships include around 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and approximately 144 hours of classroom work annually for three to five years. The Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards (DAS) is the regulatory body for apprenticeship programs within the state, and a field representative from that office is assigned to Worcester. An air conditioning mechanic apprenticeship program requires 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 150 hours of formal technical instruction annually. The cost is not disclosed on the website.
Additionally, UA Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 4 offers a five-year HVAC technician apprenticeship program at their training facility in West Boylston. Apprentices receive on-the-job training during the day. They attend classroom lectures combined with hands-on shop training in the evening. The cost is not disclosed on the website.
Workers seeking HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs can find several available through national industry associations such as:
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
- Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
- Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)
Details are available on their websites.
Accreditation is a process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of an educational institution’s program. It includes both the curriculum and the instructors. When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited and which organization granted accreditation.
Two industry organizations evaluate and accredit HVAC programs: HVAC Excellence, which has not awarded accreditation to a Massachusetts school, and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), which has accredited Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, located in Harwich, MA, and Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, located in Billerica, MA.
Coursework in both those schools is designed for high school students. Cape Cod is included in the profiles below as their HVAC program is also available through their adult ed services. Shawsheen is excluded as the HVAC classes are not available through their adult ed services.
Cape Cod Regional Technical High School
CapeTech offers a certificate HVAC program through its adult education services. The program is divided into two sessions. The first is an introductory program emphasizing servicing systems. It’s designed for students with little to no understanding of HVAC.
The curriculum includes basic electricity, wiring, circuitry, and the components of HVAC systems. Students learn how to bend, cut, and solder copper tubing, as well as about pressure testing, gauges, and leak detection. As the program is new for the school, the curriculum for the second session is not yet available, other than preparing students for EPA certification.
- Location: Harwich
- Accreditation: PAHRA
- Format: On-campus
- Tuition: Contact program representative for estimate
- Program length: Ten weeks
The Peterson School
Peterson, a private school, offers a variety of HVAC/R programs. Coursework is presented in classroom lectures and hands-on training in labs. Programs include:
HVAC/R commercial and industrial refrigeration prep course: This is designed for beginners with no prior experience and individuals with experience who want to meet the education required to obtain an HVAC/R license. The emphasis is on EPA rules and regulations, and students are qualified to take the EPA certification exam upon completion. They also receive 70 hours credit of theory needed for the state refrigeration license. The program takes 15 weeks to complete. Tuition is $4,220, plus $350 for books and fees.
HVAC/R electrical code prep course: This is designed for students who plan to take the state refrigeration exam. The focus is on the electrical code and theory and the fundamentals of HVAC/R. It meets the state requirements for 150 hours of electrical code. Students who complete the program are prepared to work on residential and some commercial HVAC/R units that are ten tons and under. The program takes 20 weeks to complete. Tuition is $1,320, plus $300 for books and fees.
HVAC/R refrigeration code prep course: This is designed to meet the requirements for the state license exam. It focuses on HVAC/R theory. The program takes ten weeks to complete. Tuition is $520, plus $175 for books and fees. This program is not currently offered at the West Boylston campus.
HVAC controls and energy management: This is designed to teach troubleshooting and installation of HVAC equipment and system controls. Students learn energy management principles that focus on efficiency and cost reduction. They also study building automation and how systems interact. The program takes 17 weeks to complete. Tuition is $2,000, plus $200 for books and fees. This program is currently available only at the Westwood campus.
- Location: West Boylston, Westwood, Woburn
- Accreditation: None disclosed on their website; licensed by the state’s Office of Private Occupational School Education
- Format: On-campus
- Tuition: Varies, as described above
- Program length: Varies, as described above
Porter and Chester Institute
The PCI offers an HVAC/R certificate that prepares graduates to work on residential, commercial, and industrial equipment and systems. Coursework is presented in classroom lectures and through hands-on training. The curriculum includes training in gas, oil, and electric HVAC/R systems; reading schematics and wiring diagrams; installation, maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of equipment; and electricity and controls. Students also learn “soft skills,” such as customer service and employability. Coursework may be completed during the day. PCI also offers the full curriculum in evening classes for the convenience of employed students.
- Location: Canton, Chicopee, Worcester
- Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC); licensed by the Office of Private Occupational School Education
- Format: On-campus
- Tuition: $24,920 for tuition and fees; $2,900 for books and supplies
- Program length: Day classes 12 months; evening classes 18 months
Quinsigamond Community College
QCC offers an HVAC/R certificate program that prepares students for entry-level positions as technicians. Class size is limited to 16 students and applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, and have completed one year of high school algebra or math and three years of high school English, with a grade C or higher; or appropriate placement scores. Fall semesters are taught at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlboro and spring semesters are taught at Worcester.
Coursework is divided between classroom lectures and hands-on training in the lab. The first semester curriculum includes an introduction to microcomputers (students are required to supply their own laptop), basic HVAC/R theory, basic electricity, and the Massachusetts Electrical Code. The semester requires 15 credit-hours to complete. The second semester curriculum includes the Massachusetts Refrigeration Code, gas, oil, and electric heating, energy efficiency, heat pumps, control systems, system evaluation, and troubleshooting. The semester requires 12 credit-hours to complete.
Worcester State University
Worcester State University offers an online-only HVAC/R certificate program designed to prepare students for entry-level positions. The curriculum is divided into modules which include:
- HVAC/R fundamentals
- Hand and power tools
- Electrical theory, components, and motors
- Systems (including air flow)
- Refrigeration technology
- Refrigerant handling
- Heat pumps
- Customer service
Graduates are prepared to take various industry exams.
- Location: Worcester
- Accreditation: Contact program for details
- Format: Online
- Tuition: $3,795
- Program length: Self-paced, but maximum time to complete is 12 months