Being an HVAC technician in Georgia has many benefits. It is a secure job with a bright future. Technology is advancing, and the HVAC industry is poised to be one of the top 5 jobs nationwide.
If you want to become a certified HVAC technician, this article will show you the best HVAC schools in Georgia as well as what to consider when choosing the perfect school for you.
HVAC Certification Requirements in Georgia
Georgia has no certification requirements for technicians. However, if you plan to start your own business or become an independent contractor, you will need to obtain a Georgia refrigeration contractor’s license.
Otherwise, all you need is the federally required EPA 608 certification. This exam is a three-part test that covers various refrigeration standards. Each of the three sections relates to a different type of refrigerant (low pressure, high pressure, and small appliances).
If you pass all three sections, you will become EPA 608 Universal, meaning you can work with any refrigerant in any capacity. This certification never expires, though it is your responsibility to stay up to date on any new technologies or changes.
How To Become An HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC tech in Georgia, you need to study for and pass the EPA 608 exam. Once that is done, you are free to begin applying for tech jobs. However, it is highly recommended you become certified as employers are more likely to hire you, and you can earn more money from the start.
The basic path to HVAC certification includes getting your high school diploma or GED. Then, moving on to an accredited HVAC school (either trade or college).
After you pass the course, you will most likely be certified (some schools only prep for the exams, but do not administer them). You should consider joining an apprenticeship or internship program to get real-world experience. A lot of these programs turn into full-time positions themselves.
During school time or the apprenticeship, you will need to gain your EPA certification. Once all of these steps are completed, you are fully certified as an HVAC technician and can work in any capacity of the industry you are interested in.
Quick Guide in Choosing Your HVAC School
Below are several factors you need to consider when choosing the right school for you. You may have other concerns or ideas about your school, but the following considerations will give you a better idea of what you are getting into.
Where you live (or currently work) in relation to the school’s campus is a big thing to think about. Obviously, you need to be able to make it to the school to attend classes. Schools that are further away, or have heavy traffic times, may not be the best option.
Likewise, just because a school is right next door doesn’t make it the best one for you. Still, if the campus is readily and easily accessed, the better off you are.
Having a degree or certificate from an accredited school is much more viable in the real world than a degree from a school that doesn’t pass accreditation standards. Non-accredited schools tend to have lackluster educations, cost more, and go out of business without warning.
An accredited school, though, will be around for a while to help with post-grad activities (see further below).
Offers Quality Education
The type of education is important, and you want to ensure you will fit in with the school in order to get the most out of it.
The best method of finding out about the quality of the education is to visit the campus. Talk to current students and staff and find out how you feel about being around the school and the people that are there every day.
Offers Hands-on Training
Refrigeration and heating equipment are complex systems that do a simple job. Their parts can be numerous, and you need to know how to work on all of them. This comes with dedicated, hands-on training.
Every school will offer lab time that gives you this hands-on training. However, some schools are better equipped with bigger lab environments or spend more time in the lab than in the classroom. The more lab time you can get, the better off you will be.
Connects you to an Apprenticeship/Internship Program
Post-graduate programs can help you get placed in an internship or apprenticeship in your local area. Most schools will have some ties with local businesses looking for new recruits. For those that don’t, these programs will help you find and apply for the positions wherever you choose.
Many schools also offer job placement programs for all graduates, for life. This means that any time you need to apply for a new job, the school will help you find the best position for the best pay based on your experience.
Offers Customer Service Skills Training
Customer service is a huge part of an HVAC tech’s job. You will be the face of the company when dealing with customers at their home or business, and you need to know how to handle any situation. Irate homeowner’s or worried business owners will expect and appreciate a professional and no-nonsense handling.
If you do not have any customer service experience, make sure you find a school that offers this as part of their curriculum.
10 Best HVAC Schools in Georgia
Below you will find the 10 best HVAC schools in Georgia, separated by city or region. Scroll through to find out which ones are best in your area.
1. All American Technician Academy
3894 King Dr #200, Douglasville, GA 30135
Best Choice For: Fast track to employment
All American Technician Academy is geared towards getting you certified and in the workforce as fast as possible. How does a week sound? The course is designed to take someone who knows nothing about HVAC and get them EPA certified and with an AATA certification so they can start as a level 1 technician within a week.
Classes also include Level 1 and 2 installers, and advanced HVAC technician courses. Each one uses a small 1-on-1 instructor to student aspect that takes you through everything you need from start to finish. If you want to start your new career right now, there is no better option.
2. Interactive College Of Technology – Chamblee Campus
5303 New Peachtree Rd, Chamblee, GA 30341
Best Choice For: Complete education and certification
Arguably the most complete HVAC/R education anywhere, the Chamblee Campus course gives you over 80% lab time learning hands-on with some of the top instructors. You will learn theory, customer service, installation, diagnosis, repair and refrigeration, all in the lab.
The course also allows you to take and pass your NATE exam and EPA certification. On top of that, they also offer an apprenticeship program that puts you live, in the field for 135 hours. Once you graduate, there isn’t anything left for you to learn except your new career start date.
3. Atlanta Technical College
1560 Metropolitan Pky SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30310
Best Choice For: Certification and business start-up
Atlanta Tech offers you three courses to choose from, including HVAC theory, or two certification courses (Tech Assistant and Tech Installer). The courses are regulated, accredited, and thorough. With a balance of class time and hands-on training, you are prepared for everything that comes your way.
The certification courses offer you the chance to become fully certified upon graduation while the theory course covers new and existing technologies, ideal for continuing education. While it isn’t needed, attending and completing all three courses can give you a serious leg up over other potential job applicants, but will definitely set you on the path for starting your own business.
4. Athens Technical College
800 US-29, Athens, GA 30601
Best Choice For: System installer certification
Athens Technical College, like Atlanta Tech listed above, offers three courses to get you on the right path. The theory course is a diploma-granting class that dives into the meaning of HVAC, how the systems operate, and what you can expect from current and future technologies.
The two certification granting courses are designed to have you fully certified as an HVAC technician or system installer. These two courses have extensive lab work and cover theory, customer service, and equipment. They are more focused on current systems and technologies but do touch on green and solar options of the future.
5. Fortis College
2140 S Cobb Dr, Smyrna, GA 30080
Best Choice For: Entry-level training and education
Fortis College has an in-depth HVAC technician training course designed to take you from zero to employed in a short amount of time. The curriculum isn’t as rigorous as some of the others, and it averages 9 months in duration. However, once completed, you will be ready for any HVAC entry-level position.
The course does touch on future technologies and some customer service. However, the goal and primary study regimen have you dealing with diagnostics, repairs, and installations of modern systems. Upon graduation, you will be ready to gain full-time employment with any HVAC company seeking new recruits.
6. Augusta Technical College
3200 Augusta Tech Dr, Augusta, GA 30906
Best Choice For: Learning the HVAC trade
Agusta Technical College has a diploma granting course for aspiring HVAC techs. This course will cover theory, customer service, future technologies, and diagnostics. You will also learn about the tools, equipment, and HVAC brands, giving you a head start in today’s HVAC field.
The course does not certify, only giving a diploma upon completion. However, you are geared for certification exams, and taking or passing them should not be a problem. Once you have your certifications, you can then move on to employment with an HVAC company or starting your own business.
7. Central Georgia Technical College
3300 Macon Tech Dr, Macon, GA 31206
Best Choice For: Entering HVAC tech workforce upon graduation
Central Georgia Technical College has four different programs for HVAC. The theory course grants you an HVAC diploma and teaches you everything about the HVAC industry, including future technologies. The other three courses are certification courses for HVAC technicians and installers.
Between the three courses, there isn’t much difference, to be honest. The more thorough and lengthy course (Residential HVAC technician) is the most complete course they offer. This will cover theory, installation, diagnostics, tool usage, repair, and customer service. You can leave the school with all the required certifications for your new career, as well.
8. Lincoln College of Technology
2359 Windy Hill Rd SE, Marietta, GA 30067
Best Choice For: Furthering HVAC career with extensive training
Lincoln College of Technology in Marietta has served the Atlanta area for almost two decades. Their HVAC certification course will give you more hands-on training than nearly any other course in the state. When you graduate, you will have the opportunity for job placement and other post-graduate programs.
One of the most extensive training offers is the Hussmann program that sends you the sister campus in Grand Prairie, Texas, for a more complete, thorough, and future-proof educations available. Graduates of the Hussmann program often find themselves being highly sought after by businesses around the globe.
9. Savannah Technical College
5717 White Bluff Rd, Savannah, GA 31405
Best Choice For: HVAC associate’s degree
Savannah Technical College has one of the largest programs for HVAC techs in the country. They offer five different programs from theory diploma, three technician certification courses, and an associate’s degree program.
The courses are mainly hands-on, offering you the most hours in the lab with skilled instructors and a one-on-one atmosphere for learning and comfort. The classes are intensive and fast-paced, but give you everything you need to start your career as an HVAC technician, fully certified, or holding a degree.
10. Southern Regional Technical College
15689 US-19 N, Thomasville, GA 31792
Best Choice For: Specializing through certification
The Southern Regional Technical College school of Industrial Technology offers you the chance to become fully certified in the HVAC industry. With the two certification courses, you can gear your education towards a residential repair specialist or systems maintenance specialist. Each one rewarding and thorough in its own right.
There is also a theory course that grants you a diploma upon completion, but HVAC techs will want the certification courses., Hands-on, in-depth and full of lab hours to get you comfortable with all modern HVAC systems and equipment.
HVAC Training School Costs in Georgia
The cost of tuition will vary by school and school type. Generally, certification programs have a flat fee. This means trade schools and community colleges that do not offer degree programs will only charge you for the certification course.,
In Georgia, the certification courses will average between $3,500 and $7,000. The higher the cost, though, usually means the course is longer, has more hours, or includes the tools and equipment you need to get through class.
Colleges and universities that offer degree-granting courses will have you pay per semester, like any other degree program. You will have other classes like math and English, to attend as well. On average, you can expect to pay between $150 to $400 per credit hour, per semester. This can result in a bachelor’s degree (4-years) that will cost between $25,000 and $40,000.
Is HVAC a Good Career Choice in Georgia?
If you want a rewarding career that pays well, then HVAC is one of the best options for you. In Georgia, the wages are above the national average in most cases, and depending on your level of experience and education, you can earn even more.
Georgia Entry Level HVAC Salary
The average starting salary (according to salary.com) in Georgia for HVAC technicians is about $41,000 per year. This can go up or down several thousand, of course, based on how much experience you have. Those coming from an apprenticeship and that are fully certified stand to start with a much higher wage.
Georgia HVAC Tech Salary
The average salary across the state for all technicians is $46,300, about $2,000 more than the national average.
If you have more than 5 years of experience, though, you can expect your wages to reach well over $60,000. Some well educated and experienced technicians report annual earnings of over $78,000.
Return of Investment
The cost of school, tools, equipment, and certifications is offset by the above-average wages. This makes Georgia one of the highest returns on investment states when dealing with HVAC. Most students, working full time in the industry, living alone and supporting themselves, can expect to pay off any school-related debt within the first 10 years.
This is much faster than the national average of 15 to 20 years, making Georgia HVAC technician jobs some of the most lucrative for those just starting out.
Demand for HVAC Jobs in Georgia
The BLS expects the HVAC industry to thrive over the next decade. HVAC growth rates are hovering about 13% compared to most other technical jobs, which range from 4 to 6%.
In Georgia, the average is about 15% expected growth rate, meaning over the next 10 years, there are expected to be over 20,000 new jobs. Georgia is among the leaders in the HVAC industry and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
How do I get an HVAC job in Georgia?
Getting a job in the HVAC industry in Georgia doesn’t take a lot. You must first be EPA 608 certified to handle and work with refrigerants; however, the state of Georgia has no other official requirements. Employers, on the other hand, may require HVAC certification or degrees. It is always best to get these certifications as soon as you can by attending a trade school or college course.
Can I get an HVAC certification license online?
The certification process deals with a lot of exams. From EPA to HVAC certifications, you will need to take and pass these exams to gain your certifications. While you can do all the required work on a computer, as far as classroom and book learning, the lab and hands-on work must be done in person. Technically you can learn everything you need to pass the tests with an online course, but you still must attend a proctored exam in person to gain the certification.
Are there HVAC apprenticeships in Georgia?
There are plenty of apprenticeship and internship programs available in the state. You can check job search sites such as Indeed for specific listings. Also, you may want to run a search through the Georgia government site for other opportunities. If you are a graduate of an HVAC school with post-grad programs, they may be able to help find an apprenticeship as well.
Can I get into HVAC with no experience?
HVAC is a career that you can start with little to no experience. A lot of higher-end employers will want techs with some experience, though. This is where internships and apprenticeships come in handy. If you are fresh out of school, though, you can find full-time employment in the industry without a lot of extra effort.
How long does it take to get a degree in HVAC?
HVAC degrees come in both 2-year and 4-year programs, depending on the degree you are after. If you have a fast-track school or existing credit-hours that transfer, you may be able to finish sooner. The average time for an AAS in HVAC is between 18 and 24 months. For a BAS, you are looking at 36 to 48 months.
When is online HVAC programs advisable?
Online programs are useful for getting the classwork and book work out of the way. If you enroll in an online school, you won’t get the benefit of hands-on training, but you can get the lectures and study time out of the way first. This is helpful is you have to work full time or have other obligations during the school hours, and want to study late at night or on weekends.
What is the highest HVAC degree?
Because there isn’t a doctorate program in HVAC, the highest level of education you can achieve in the HVAC industry is a bachelor’s of science degree.
Georgia is ahead of the national curve when it comes to careers, pay, and future growth in the HVAC industry. Attending the right school can get you in the door with enough knowledge and experience to make a difference.
This article showcased the best HVAC schools in Georgia and hopefully has helped you narrow your search.