Best Value HVAC Degrees

If you're looking for a career that pays well and doesn't require a mountain of student loan debt, a job in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) might be an excellent fit for you. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of jobs in the HVAC industry is meant to grow by 13%, creating 46,300 new job opportunities in the next ten years.

Studying the HVAC industry means you’ll be able to help people achieve optimal air quality in their home and even help educate people on taking extra measures to filter their air during natural disasters. You’ll also learn about pollution and external factors that contribute to each state’s or area’s overall air quality.

To help students filter out what higher education to pursue, we compiled a list of the best value schools for HVAC technicians in each state that reward students with an associate’s degree.

Our Criteria for Best Value HVAC Programs

We poured over data gathered from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), College Scorecard, and – the most authoritative resources available – to create this list using the following criteria:

  • Degree - While there are many options available to pursue a career in HVAC, all these programs grant associate's degrees to successful candidates upon completion and most offer transfer options to pursue bachelor’s degrees in engineering or HVAC technology.
  • Cost of Attendance - Based on data from IPEDS and College Scorecard we compared in-state-tuition and out-of-state tuition; however, some schools also offer in-district or neighbor state discount rates.
  • Six Years Post-Enrollment Average Salaries – Let's face it – some schools have a better reputation with employers than others, and some do a better job of assisting their graduates with job placement. The higher the average salary six years after enrollment, the better the overall value of its degree.
  • Median Pay – The median salary HVAC technicians are paid in each state.

We assigned a rank to each school based on lowest tuition rates and cost of attendance, highest post-enrollment salaries, and highest median pay per state, then averaged the scores to form our final list.

How to Choose an HVAC Program?

  • Accreditation - For a degree to be taken seriously by future employers, the school where it's earned needs to be accredited
  • Location - While attending a school in a neighboring state might be more feasible for some students, in-state tuition, and the opportunity to continue living at home to save money, tend to increase the overall financial value of the experience.
  • Length – Holding an associate's degree opens more doors in the long run than having only a high school diploma. For just 18 to 24 months of effort, an associate's degree shows you've had formal training in a program and learned the foundational knowledge and skills needed to succeed.
  • Job Growth – The job outlook for HVAC mechanics and installers is quite impressive at 13% compared to the national average outlook of 5%.

A List of the Best Value Schools for HVAC Technicians

For prospective students that are looking to move out of their state for a change of scenery or further employment opportunities, these 20 schools provide the best value with out-of-state tuition rates as a factor. Some schools do give discounted tuition rates to neighboring states, so it may be worth looking into further based on your individual situation.

Here are the states that are home to the top twenty best value HVAC programs for out-of-state residents, so if you’ve ever had the desire to live in any of these, pursuing a degree there may be a perfect opportunity.

Starting with the best value out-of-state school, we bring you a list of the top 17 to help narrow down your choices.

  1. Bellingham Technical College - Washington
  2. Raritan Valley Community College – New Jersey
  3. Laramie County Community College - Wyoming
  4. Bismarck State College – North Dakota
  5. Brazosport College - Texas
  6. Waubonsee Community College – Illinois
  7. Renton Technical College - Washington
  8. Elgin Community College - Illinois
  9. St Cloud Technical and Community College – Minnesota
  10. Fort Scott Community College - Kansas
  11. Galveston College - Texas
  12. Southeast Community College Area - Nebraska
  13. Washtenaw Community College - Michigan
  14. Honolulu Community College – Hawaii
  15. Metropolitan Community College Area - Missouri
  16. Mt San Antonio College – California
  17. Suffolk County Community College – New York

The Best Value School in Your State

For students who are trying to save the most money and attend a school close to home, the following are the best value schools in each state that award an associate’s degree upon successful completion.

  1. Alabama – Northeast Alabama Community College
  2. Alaska – University of Alaska Anchorage
  3. Arizona – Gateway Community College
  4. Arkansas – University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton
  5. California – Mt San Antonio College
  6. Colorado – Pikes Peak Community College
  7. Connecticut – Manchester Community College
  8. Delaware – Delaware Technical Community College at Terry
  9. Florida – Indian River State College
  10. Georgia – Gwinnett Technical College
  11. Hawaii – Honolulu Community College
  12. Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College
  13. Illinois – College of Lake County
  14. Indiana – Ivy Tech Community College
  15. Iowa – Iowa Central Community College
  16. Kansas – Fort Scott Community College
  17. Kentucky – Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
  18. Louisiana – Remington College
  19. Maine – Eastern Maine Community College
  20. Maryland – Community College of Baltimore
  21. Massachusetts – Springfield Technical Community College *
  22. Michigan – Washtenaw Community College
  23. Minnesota – St Cloud Technical and Community College
  24. Mississippi – Pearl River Community College
  25. Missouri – State Technical College of Missouri
  26. Montana – University of Montana *
  27. Nebraska – Southeast Community College Area
  28. Nevada – Truckee Meadows Community College
  29. New Hampshire – Manchester Community College
  30. New Jersey – Raritan Valley Community College
  31. New Mexico – New Mexico State University at Dona Ana
  32. New York – Suffolk County Community College
  33. North Carolina – Wake Technical Community College
  34. North Dakota – Bismarck State College
  35. Ohio – University of Northwestern Ohio
  36. Oklahoma – Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
  37. Oregon – Portland Community College
  38. Pennsylvania – Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  39. Rhode Island – New England Institute of Technology
  40. South Carolina – Florence-Darlington Technical College
  41. South Dakota – Southeast Technical Institute
  42. Tennessee – William Moore College of Technology
  43. Texas – Brazosport College
  44. Utah – Salt Lake Community College
  45. Vermont – Green Mountain Tech & Career Center or Center for Technology, Essex *
  46. Virginia – Northern Virginia Community College
  47. Washington – Bellingham Technical College
  48. West Virginia – West Virginia Northern Community College
  49. Wisconsin – Chippewa Valley Technical College
  50. Wyoming – Laramie County Community College

* Only offers certificates; no associates degrees

Extended List of the Best Value Schools for HVAC Technicians

  1. Bellingham Technical College - Washington

    Bellingham Tech ranked in first place for top value schools because of their affordable tuition rates and high average median wage for HVAC graduates. They also boast an 81% job placement rate for graduates and awarded $300,000 in scholarships to students in 2017-2018.

  2. Raritan Valley Community College – New Jersey

    Raritan Valley Community College comes in at a close second with affordable tuition for an A.A.S. degree track that prepares students for residential and commercial HVAC/R positions. For students wanting to pursue a further degree, the program is fully transferable towards a B.S. in Applied HVAC Engineering at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

  3. Laramie County Community College - Wyoming

    Students at LCCC can benefit from small class sizes in picturesque Wyoming with a well-designed program that strongly prepares graduates to be competitive in the growing field of HVAC/R technology.

  4. Bismarck State College – North Dakota

    BSC has previously been recognized for offering top-rated HVAC programs and with their affordable tuition rates, they are a great option for students looking to receive an excellent education in preparation for joining the workforce.

  5. Brazosport College - Texas

    Students at Brazosport will benefit from hands-on, real-world training taught by experienced faculty. The small class sizes and a 100% acceptance rate are a bonus, along with the ability to specialize in heating, air conditioning, or refrigeration work.

  6. Waubonsee Community College – Illinois

    Waubonsee offers students real-world experience in servicing, replacing, and even designing HVAC systems confidently by working in well-equipped labs in. Boasting quality education at affordable rates makes them a great candidate for prospective students.

  7. Renton Technical College - Washington

    Renton Tech is a small public college in the Seattle area with a 100% acceptance rate. They also have three enrollment points throughout the year so prospective students don’t have to waste time waiting to start their education.

  8. Elgin Community College - Illinois

    Students at Elgin learn in modern and well-equipped labs to become proficient technicians. Labs feature state-of-the art equipment and NASOE accredited boiler courses as a bonus.

  9. St Cloud Technical and Community College - Minnesota

    SCTCC is a small public college with around 2,100 undergraduates. In 2017 they had a 100% placement rate and previous students have even had success at national HVAC skill competitions. With well-trained technicians in high demand, graduating from SCTCC helps students progress into the field quickly.

  10. Fort Scott Community College - Kansas

    Fort Scott’s HVAC program incorporates electrical and mechanical systems and prepares students to earn the EPA refrigerant handling certification and other industry-recognized credentials. Small class sizes give students time for a variety of hands-on experiences.

  11. Galveston College – Texas

    The HVAC/R Program at Galveston College is designed to give students real-world experiences and prepare them with the necessary skills to become valuable technicians or state licensed contractors and independent business owners. Located just outside Houston, students can also benefit from being close to a large city.

  12. Southeast Community College Area – Nebraska

    Southeast prepares students well for a range of HVAC/R competitive careers and boasts a 94% job placement rate for graduates. With an internship education experience on offer, students are highly sought-after due to having real-world experience.

  13. Washtenaw Community College – Michigan

    Students at WCC go through a rigorous HVAC/R program to prepare them for technician positions or for transfers to bachelor’s degrees in a similar field. Advanced certifications are also offered if students wish to pursue specialization. The campus is in the picturesque college town of Ann Arbor.

  14. Honolulu Community College – Hawaii

    The HAVC Program here combines theory with practical training to simulate a real work environment in labs with actual equipment that students will be working on. Higher median salaries of $60,070 help offset the cost of living on the beautiful island.

  15. Metropolitan Community College – Missouri

    MCCA gives students expertise and hands-on troubleshooting and has many success stories of students who completed their program. Student reviews prove that faculty are top-notch and provide an excellent education.

  16. Mt. San Antonio College – California

    The Mt. SAC program here prepares students for a high paying career with experience working in a state-of-the-art mechanical lab that is equipped with the newest equipment. The curriculum here is split 50/50, so students get a fantastic practical foundation.

  17. Suffolk County Community College – New York

    The HVAC Program at Suffolk offers classes in evenings and weekends, allowing students to attend classes around their schedule. With flexible classes and hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship awards, Suffolk may be the perfect option for students wanting to live in New York.