Accredited HVAC Schools in Virginia
Prior to beginning a career in HVAC, it’s crucial to receive the proper training in the industry to learn about the appropriate techniques, equipment, and safety. There are currently two main organizations accrediting HVAC programs across the country: HVAC Excellence and Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). To learn about how programs are approved, please check out the accreditation section of the HVAC training homepage.
As of June 2020, there were seven HVAC Excellence-accredited programs in Virginia:
Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College offers the following three programs:
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration: HVAC-R and Facilities Services Technology, Career Studies Certificate (21 to 23 credit-hours) – Students are provided with entry-level instruction in the service, principles, maintenance, installation, and repair of refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, electrical, and plumbing systems. Some of the courses in the curriculum include air conditioning and refrigeration controls, heating systems, air conditioning and refrigeration, college success skills, refrigerant usage EPA certification, circuits and controls, and college composition.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Certificate (33 to 34 credit-hours) – Students gain skills such as servicing, maintaining, repairing, and installation of HVAC/R equipment. This program includes all courses mentioned above with the addition of air conditioning and refrigeration controls, basic technical mathematics, and introduction to physics.
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, AAS (67 to 68 credit-hours) – Students are provided with the skills that lead them to leadership positions in the HVAC/R industry. All the courses mentioned above are included in the curriculum, with the addition of the following: heat loads and psychrometrics, heat pumps, advanced troubleshooting and service, introduction to communication, conditioning systems, gas-fired warm air furnaces, and hydronics and zoning.
On completion of any of the above programs, students will be well-equipped to work in the HVAC/R field.
- Location: Woodbridge, VA
- Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, HVAC Excellence
- Expected Time to Completion: AAS (24 months); certificates (12 months)
- Estimated Tuition: Virginia resident ($185.50 per credit-hour); out-of-state ($388.25 per credit-hour)
Virginia Beach Technical & Career Education Center
The Virginia Beach Technical & Career Education Center also offers an HVAC program that has earned HVAC Excellence accreditation. This two-year program provides students with textbook knowledge as well as hands-on experience in air conditioning, refrigeration and heating equipment servicing.
Those who complete the program will be eligible for a range of certifications, including the EPAC Section 608 certificate, as well as HVAC Excellence examinations such as basic refrigeration and charging, electricity, and air conditioning, and the Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth Examination. Graduates of this program may go on to complete apprenticeships or pursue further education.
Students in this program will delve into topics such as soldering, safety, brazing, electrical circuits, piping, central air units, ice makers, window units, oil and gas furnaces, heat pumps, and refrigerators. They will have the opportunity to work in real labs, with real equipment, software and computers. Upon graduation they will go on to take up roles such as home appliance repairer, air conditioning, heating, construction and building inspector, refrigeration mechanics and installers, sheet metal worker, and cost estimator.
- Location: Virginia Beach, VA
- Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
- Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: Contact the school for a customized assessment
While HVAC Excellence and PAHRA are the gold standard nationally in HVAC program accreditation, the Virginia Board for Contractors also provides a list of approved vocational training schools, including FORTIS, which has a campus in Norfolk as well as Roanoke. This HVAC training school gives instruction in areas such as gas heat, heat pumps, commercial systems, and air conditioning.
Students can find jobs as entry-level HVAC technicians on completion of this program. They are trained in computerized diagnostics, so they can tackle systems such as heat pumps, gas heaters, commercial refrigerators, ventilating systems, and air conditioners.
- Location: Norfolk and Richmond, VA
- Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
- Expected Time to Completion: Contact FORTIS for a customized assessment
- Estimated Tuition: $14,641 total
Advanced Technology Institute
The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) with a campus in Virginia Beach, has an HVAC diploma program with specialized training in residential and light commercial systems. Courses in the program include the fundamentals of technology, basic electricity and circuits, pipe brazing/ducting and air movement, domestic and commercial refrigeration, sheet metal fabrication, and direct digital controls.
Furthermore, students receive preparation for the Section 608 EPA certification, a mandatory national credential for people who work with refrigerants. ATI also has an associate in occupational science (AOS) degree with similar coursework, as well as units in occupational safety, industrial psychology, and service management.
Students in this diploma program will work on a number of operational units, thus gaining practical work experience through the Advanced Technology Institute. Moreover, the faculty for the program includes experienced HVAC professionals with several years of industry experience and expertise. Graduates of this program will be prepared for entry-level employment in the HVAC field.
- Location: Virginia Beach, VA
- Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Expected Time to Completion: 60 weeks
- Estimated Tuition: Contact ATI for a customized assessment
Home Builders Institute – Apprentice program
Lastly, the Home Builders Institute is headquartered in Washington DC and provides a competitive HVAC apprentice program with hands-on instruction in how to install system piping and tubing, wiring and circuits safety, maintaining and cleaning HVAC equipment, system diagnostics, and using green building techniques to increase energy efficiency.
Other HVAC Excellence-accredited programs include:
While there is an array of HVAC apprenticeships and training programs in Virginia, it may be difficult for some students to attend due to personal or professional commitments. For those who live in more rural regions or have other time commitments preventing them from completing an on-campus certificate or degree, there are online HVAC training options available.
To learn about the distance-based programs, check out the online HVAC classes page.