Here’s How Hard/Difficult HVAC School Is (For A Newbie)

A man repairing an Air Conditioner

Do you want to become an HVAC technician, but don’t really know where to begin?

First of all, congratulations on choosing a great career path! HVAC appliances keep getting increasingly complicated, so having people in our society who specialize in them is always useful.

As with any other educational endeavor, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the apparently necessary requirements you must meet. But don’t worry, you came to the right place for answers.

Below, I’ve prepared a small piece including 6 of the most common elements related to a career in HVAC, as well as an overview of what your school curriculum might look like.

When analyzing the difficulty of HVAC school, you should take into account the time it will take to graduate, the requirements you’ll need to meet, and the costs you’ll have to cover. It’s also crucial to consider the key points of the curriculum, the additional certifications you might need, and of course, the job outlook for the future.

Keep reading to learn if HVAC school is for you!

#1 Time of Completion

Let’s start off by covering how long you’ll have to go to HVAC school before you get enough credits to start working in the field.

There’s really no general rule as to how much time it will take you to complete your studies, as this varies from one institution to another. Depending on the course that you select, you might be looking at something as short as 6 months, or something stretching up to the 2-year range.

A man holding a wall clock and some dollar bills
There’s no general rule as to how long HVAC school will take to complete

However, this only applies if you’ve already concluded High School or its equivalent. To enroll in HVAC school (which is considered postsecondary training education), you’ll need a diploma or GED certificate. So, if you don’t have that yet, you’ll also have to complete that degree of education, which will increase the amount of time that reaching your goal will take.

#2 Requirements

Given that HVAC school graduates have to deal with all sorts of complex appliances, you’ll need to prove that you have a certain degree of knowledge in subjects like Math, Physics, and Thermodynamics.

No, I’m not kidding. These are all requirements, or at least nice-to-haves if you want to be successful in your new career path!

A person checking the requirements in a form
Becoming a successful HVAC technician takes a lot of knowledge in different areas

I know this might sound overkill, but if you think about how HVAC systems work, it actually makes a lot of sense. After all, how are you going to diagnose the problem with, say, an AC unit’s refrigerant if you’re not familiar with how liquids and gases move, or how many BTUs you need to cool a room of certain dimensions?

Besides, there’s no such thing as knowing too much!

#3 Costs

Next, let’s talk about something people are obviously not too fond of – the thousands of dollars that education costs.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s a reason why tuition costs what it does, especially in a prestigious school with a great curriculum. But even knowing that, it’s an undeniable fact that education is very expensive, and it won’t get any cheaper in the future.

A person placing coins on a table
If you want to learn as much as you can, you’ll have to tap into your savings

Going to HVAC school will set you back anywhere between $1,200-15,000 depending on the program that you choose and the institution that you go to. This is the bare minimum that you’ll have to pay to get certified, but it’s certainly not the limit.

There are more advanced associate degrees that specialize in HVAC technology which can cost anywhere between $15,000-35,000 or more. So, if you’re interested in learning every technical detail about these appliances, you’ll, unfortunately, have to break the bank.

#4 Curriculum

With money out of the way, let’s move on to what topics you’ll be reviewing over the course of your curriculum.

While there’s no standard study plan for HVAC school, there are some common subjects that most people go over when they pursue a career in this area, which are:

  • Refrigeration systems
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Mechanical principles
  • Ventilation and air quality systems
  • Electrical systems

Additional to these topics, you’ll likely also be covering subjects, such as technical diagrams and blueprint interpretation, how to repair and maintain any HVAC unit, and also some general troubleshooting methodologies. I know it sounds like a lot to learn in a short period, but HVAC systems get more complex by the day, so you need to be a Jack of all trades.

#5 Additional Certifications

I wish I could tell you that paying your way through HVAC school and learning numerous topics within a couple of years is enough, but sadly, this is not the case. As with every other profession, you need to stay updated and deepen your knowledge in many areas. Also, as an HVAC tech expert, you’ll need to be aware of certain regulations and laws in the city or state you work in.

That’s where additional certifications come in handy.

A certificate with a red seal
The more prepared you are, the more successful you’re likely to be

Depending on the state you’re in, you might need to get a special license to work as an HVAC technician. Moreover, if you work with ozone-depleting refrigerants, you’ll likely also be required to obtain an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Section 608 Technician Certification.

And if you want to go even deeper, you can always specialize in a certain area, such as Air Conditioners, and get as many certifications as you can around these appliances. The more credentials you have to show for your work, the more you’ll be able to charge, and the more clients you’ll likely have.

#6 Job Outlook

Last, but not least, let’s discuss what the horizon will look like once you have all your certifications and finish HVAC school. After all, your effort should be rewarded with numerous clients and continuous jobs, right?

To get a clearer perspective of this, let’s answer the following question.

Is HVAC a Good Career?

In short, yes! A career in HVAC is like a career in healthcare – no matter what happens, people will always get sick, and they’ll always need heating/cooling/ventilation.

Moreover, the industry is projected to keep growing in the upcoming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the HVAC industry will add over 19,000 jobs between 2020 and 2030. This makes it the perfect career to look into, as you likely won’t run out of jobs to do and clients to help in the near future.

Furthermore, what makes a career in HVAC so future-proof is not only that appliances keep getting more and more complex by the minute, but also that you can go into any industry you like. Pursuing a career in this discipline means that you can choose to work in residential areas, factories, hospitals, commercial buildings, and even schools!


That about covers it.

When looking into starting a new career path, wondering how hard HVAC school can be is only natural, as you don’t want to enroll in an institution, only to feel you’re in over your head.

I hope this piece has helped you better understand the complexities and advantages of becoming an HVAC-certified technician. Like everything else in life, it has its Pros and Cons, so please weigh them carefully to make the right decision.

Thank you very much for sticking with me all the way to the end. If this article piqued your interest and provided the information you were looking for, please make sure to check out our other incredible resources below.

On the site, you’ll find all sorts of solutions for everyday appliance issues, such as a dishwasher that won’t turn on, or a swamp cooler that’s not pumping water.

I wish you nothing but the best.

— Craig.

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more