As the demand for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration professionals grows, earning HVAC certifications through online training can provide quick career advancement opportunities for busy adults. Online courses focus on the same sought-after skills as their campus-based counterparts, but they offer a level of convenience that cannot be matched.
When enrolling in an online class, most heating and cooling students have at least one of these three goals:
- To obtain the basic training necessary to enter the HVACR field.
- Increase knowledge and skills to qualify for career advancement opportunities, more responsibilities, and better wages.
- Prepare for industry-sponsored and government-mandated HVAC certification exams.
We’ll explore how online courses can benefit men and women of all ages, interests and experience levels.
Related: How to get an HVAC license
Employers are currently hiring qualified HVAC professionals to work in homes, offices, shopping centers, hotels, medical facilities, processing plants and more — and access to these jobs starts with just a few months of training. Students can choose HVAC degree programs that last about a year or non-credit, self-paced classes.
The most successful HVACR technicians understand how to work with all types of heating, cooling and refrigeration units, as well as the differences between models and brands. Online HVAC courses teach a number of essential skills, including how to:
- Design and install systems that adhere to manufacturer specifications.
- Understand fossil fuel combustion systems and green energy alternatives.
- Handle refrigerants in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.
- Test electrical circuits and measure voltage.
- Measure and correct temperatures and humidity levels.
- Clean coils, fans, registers and humidifiers.
- Drill and cut metal with the appropriate tools.
- Install and repair motors, compressors, pipes, water supply lines, ducts and thermostats.
- Communicate with customers, supervisors and peers.
- Stay safe on the job site.
In addition to gaining hands-on skills, students interested in earning HVAC certifications must understand a certain amount of theory to make day-to-day decisions. HVAC degree programs provide essential background knowledge, such as:
- System design
- Electrical wiring and circuits
- System charging procedures
- Superheating and sub-cooling
- Heat pump operation
- Compressor operation
- Humidity and relative humidity
Because online HVAC training can be completed quickly, instructors focus on applied theory. In order words, service technicians only learn the essentials that they will actually use in residential and light commercial settings.
Online HVAC schools help students prepare for licenses and HVAC certification that offer an edge in the job market. In today’s competitive economy, HVAC certifications from one of these agencies can convince an employer to hire one person over another:
- NATE, North American Technician Excellence
- AHRI, Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute
- HVAC Excellence
- EPA Section 608 Refrigerant Testing
However, aspiring HVAC technicians must keep in mind that some certifying agencies and state licensing commissions require hours of hands-on training and work experience, so students should check with each agency to understand the specific requirements.
Flexible course structure and scheduling
Online education provides a number of advantages. Students can structure their days around their working hours, family commitments and social obligations.
Convenience and access are two major benefits of going online for HVAC education — no more missing birthdays working awkward shifts to accommodate your class schedule.
Online HVAC courses still deliver all of the traditional program benefits, such as full-time or part-time attendance, interaction with instructors who have industry experience, and preparation for industrial certification and licensing. Many programs let students work at their own pace, so they don’t have to commit to several hours of study per day. Individuals can obtain the knowledge they need as quickly or slowly as makes sense for their circumstances; there are no classes to miss, so you’ll never fall behind.
Some HVAC schools also offer combination online/on-campus programs. Students complete the theory portion of their training online and then practice on machinery in the classroom. This allows you to become more familiar with how everything operates in the real world.
Easier access to HVAC certifications
HVAC certifications are no longer limited to men and women who live in a large city or can commute hours to campus. Distance education provides access to everyone who meets the basic system requirements. Most HVAC courses are available on PC or Mac via any of the major web browsers. Some schools even offer training modules for iPhone, Blackberry, Kindle Fire, or other devices, so students can prepare for their HVAC careers anytime, anywhere.
Putting your skills to work
When you have completed your online training, you can begin an HVAC apprenticeship and get hands-on training as you work toward HVAC certifications. This part of the training can’t be completed online, as you will eventually have to do the work in person, so hands-on experience is critical. Once you complete an apprenticeship, you’re ready to take your certification exams and launch your career as an HVAC professional.