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Everything I Need to Know I Learned in HVAC School: 10 Topics You Will Cover in Your HVAC Education

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

HVAC technicians install and maintain ventilation systems that keep our homes and offices comfortable. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June 2019, these jobs are expected to grow by 15 percent by 2026. There are plenty of HVAC training schools nationwide that can be found at either the vocational school or community college level.

If you’re ready to hit the books to become an HVAC technician, then this article is for you! Check this helpful guide on 10 topics you will cover in your HVAC training

Your next career could be waiting for you.

What Does an HVAC Technician Do?

The abbreviation “HVAC” is short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC technicians can install and repair systems that regulate air quality inside a building. Many technicians become knowledgeable in either residential or commercial buildings or both.

The employment model for HVAC technicians varies. Sometimes HVAC technicians will own their own company and work as an independent contractor. Others may work for larger general construction companies.

Sometimes HVAC technicians will focus on only one type of equipment, like air conditioners or heating systems. Some HVAC technicians will only install new equipment rather than repair existing systems. Other technicians may install or fix refrigeration systems as well.

HVAC School Sources

Regardless of which job model you prefer, you will need to complete specific technical training to sharpen your skills to maintain these complex systems. You can find HVAC training classes at either vocational schools or through apprenticeships. You can also find training at community colleges as well.

Here are the details on each of these institutions:


Apprenticeships usually last between three to five years. Apprentices study with trade professionals in the field and often earn a salary while they train. You can find apprenticeships through contractor associations like the Air-Conditioning Contractors of

America or the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association.

Apprenticeships include class time work along with field training. These dual classroom/field programs can be completed in approximately 2,000 hours; however, each apprenticeship program differs as to the education and training required.

Vocational Schools

Some technicians enroll in an accredited vocational school like InterCoast Colleges to learn how to be an HVAC technician. Students earn a diploma upon graduation. Vocational or HVAC school programs will last between six months and one year.

Community College

Another source for HVAC schools can be found at community colleges. Community college programs may last longer than trade schools. Training can be finished within two or three years depending on which community college you attend.

Online HVAC Training Classes

Students can also study HVAC classes partially online. Online classes allow students to customize their learning around busy schedules. Online courses can range in price, so be sure to read the fine print before you are financially obligated.

You can find more information on HVAC schools near you on this page. Just select the closest campus to you and schedule a visit in no time.

HVAC School Coursework

The following is a list of subject areas and classes that you may study when you sign up for an HVAC training program:

Intro to trades professions

Construction Safety

Electrical Safety and Theory

Motor theory and application


Heating and cooling schools will also cover the principles of both residential and commercial heating practices. Some of these practices include:

  • Introduction to HVAC
  • Piping fundamentals
  • Heating Systems
  • Air-conditioning and heat pump systems


Ventilation classes cover the basics of air exchange outside as well as circulation inside of buildings. In these courses, students learn how the following:

  • Ductwork
  • Maintenance on common appliance parts such as traps and heat controls

Once you know this, you’ll be able to work with most common ventilation systems.


Some HVAC students may choose to specialize in refrigeration as a subset of the air conditioning industry. Topics covered in this specialization include thermodynamic cycles and servicing refrigerant accessories.

HVAC technicians also need to have exceptional communication skills to explain technical problems to their non-technical customers. Technicians who choose to open their own business will also need to know how to develop and manage contracts with customers which may be included in the training. They may also review marketing techniques to advertise their services.

Section 608 Technician Certification

When all their coursework is done, all HVAC professionals are required to apply for a federal Section 608 Technician Certification. Section 608 certifications are managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Section 608 of the Federal Clean Air Act requires HVAC technicians to be certified to handle refrigerant substances that could harm the environment.

Once you have your Section 608 certification, your next step will be to pass your state’s licensing requirements. Some U.S. states will require HVAC technicians to have their state license before they begin work. You can check your state’s licensing requirements here to make so that you’re compliant with all state contracting laws.

Next Steps

Ready to launch your new HVAC technician career? The good news is you can start your search today.

Research trade school and community college technical courses in your area. Look for an HVAC training that offers courses that will help you pass your Section 608 Certification.

You’ll also find more information at the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) website. NATE can show you many ways on how to prepare for certification exams. They also have plenty of advice on where to find testing sites. Look for schools that are NATE approved.  Some trade school facilities, such as InterCoast Colleges, are NATE approved testing facility.

Don’t forget to check our website for more tips and reasons to become an HVAC technician. We’re here to help you “heat up” your career as an HVAC technician today!

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Access Doors and Panels
Access Doors and Panels
4 years ago

This is awesome. Just a lot of sources to get started with the industry. It will be helpful to us as we also cater to HVAC materials. Thanks!

Larry Hucks
Larry Hucks
2 years ago

So how do i log into my grade percentage again? I think that im still at 71% but after last week i thought i went up to 79%. If I’m not mistaken

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