The decision to start a new career as an HVAC technician can feel overwhelming. You’re faced with the big question of how to pay for HVAC school. Training to be an HVAC tech can be stressful as you figure out how to navigate the financial hardship of paying for your trade education.
The good news is that becoming an HVAC technician is a skilled trade so there are options offered to students to learn and earn a wage at the same time. Some trade schools and community colleges offer this through apprenticeships and HVAC training programs.
As worthwhile of an investment as education is, it’s unusual for trade schools to guarantee employment after graduation. Securing an HVAC job after completing a program is dependent upon how well the person performed during their training, his or her interpersonal skills, and successfully passing relevant certification exams.
You might be wondering why even bother with the cost of a career technical education (CTE)? There are those who are making a decent living without any formal training or recognized certification. However, as heating ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration technology progresses, the equipment and tools needed become more and more complex which leads employers to seek workers with formal HVAC training. As a graduate of a career technical education program, you are more likely to gain employment.
Let’s discuss methods to pay for a trade education.
1. Apply for grants and scholarships
Grants and scholarships offer money for education that does not need to be paid back. This is a great way to fill the gaps for HVACR students in the form of financial aid. When you come across opportunities to apply for scholarships and grants, do it! Some might say they’re not worth the time to apply, but that’s not true. Ask any of the applicants from the Trade Academy scholarship if it took too much time for them to apply.
2. Draw on savings
Depending on where you live and the type of program you are applying for, you may have already saved enough money to attend HVAC school. If you don’t have funds set aside for HVAC school, there’s no time like the present to create a savings account or plan to set aside enough money for the next semester or following education year. This method will suit those who want as little debt as possible and don't want to owe substantial student loans or any kind of repayment after leaving a vocational school.
3. Use income to cash-flow tuition
Although it’s a challenge, there are students who work part-time or full-time while attending school. There are students who can juggle courses and a work schedule while still meeting the required credit hours. The income earned can possibly be enough to cover their tuition. This along with a payment plan can get you through your program, if needed.
4. Explore payment plan options
Ask your trade school program what kind of payment plan can be arranged. There may be a set amount per month that they will let you pay. If this makes going to school more feasible than paying in full upfront then it’s worth asking. Most schools will offer some sort of partial payment option to be paid over the course of some designated time.
5. Request retraining funds from the government
There are cases where people have outdated employment skills and they qualify for government-funded retraining programs. These programs provide federal student aid for courses that teach relevant skills, such as HVAC trade education. The best way to see if you qualify for retraining funds is to visit your local unemployment office. They will advise you on what best assistance you may be qualified to apply for or the requirements necessary in your area for enrollment.
Your goal is within reach
Whether you choose one of the methods above or combine them to achieve your goal of paying for your education, your dream is within reach. Graduating from HVAC school or a technical college gives you the credibility to score a better HVAC job or start at a higher pay rate than someone without accredited HVAC credentials.
Completing an HVAC certification program can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months and cost between $1,200 to $15,000. Once you know where you will attend HVAC training and how much it will cost, you need to figure out how you’re going to pay for it.
You’re not alone when it comes to figuring out how to pay for a career technical education. Don’t be afraid to ask the HVAC school what resources they suggest. Completing a skilled trade program will serve you and your professional future.
Check out this extensive list of trade schools based on your location and begin your search of tuition rates and the best program for you.