School and Ranking Information
There are around five school options within 25 miles of Virginia Beach for students interested in HVAC technician training. The top three schools stand out based on their graduation rates, program offerings and location:
- Winner: Tidewater Tech earns the top spot among these schools due to an extremely high graduation rate. It offers a certificate program in HVAC technology as well as certification prep courses.
- Runner-Up #1: Everest College's Chesapeake campus offers a diploma program for prospective HVAC techs.The school earns second place for its guest lectures and field trips to industrial locations where students can observe work being performed on the job.
- Runner-Up #2: Tidewater Community College features a campus in Virginia Beach and in nearby Norfolk. It is the only public school on this list and offers a HVAC certificate program.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Tidewater Tech||Everest College - Chesapeake||Tidewater Community College|
|Location||Norfolk, VA (11.2 miles from Virginia Beach)||Chesapeake, VA (15.4 miles from Virginia Beach)||Norfolk, VA (15 miles from Virginia Beach)|
|School Type||<2-year, private for-profit||2-year, private for-profit||2-year, public|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$15,411*||$11,700*|| $3,644 (in-state),
|HVAC Program Levels Offered||Certificate||Diploma||Certificate|
|HVAC Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||58*||75*||15*|
|Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2009 Entering Class||91%*||66%*||14%*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
Winner: Tidewater Tech
- All incoming students received some form of financial aid in 2011-2012, per the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
- Certification prep classes are available for the North American Technician Excellence's (NATE) Industry Competency Exams (ICE)
Tidewater Tech's HVAC certificate program includes instruction in commercial and residential air conditioning, refrigeration and heating systems. Students also learn about heat pumps and psychrometrics, or the science used to determine how the right balance of heat and moisture in the air can affect temperature control. Additionally, students can take EPA exams and voluntary ICE exams as part of the program. Tidewater Tech also offers free tutoring and career services, including mock interviews and instruction in resume writing. The school even arranges meetings with potential employers once students are ready to graduate.
Runner Up #1: Everest College - Chesapeake
- 99% of first-year students received financial aid in 2011-2012, according to the NCES
- School hosts guest lectures and organizes field trips to industrial locations so students can observe work being performed on the job
Prospective HVAC technicians, heat pump technicians and installation assistants enrolling in this program study basic electrical and refrigeration theory. They also learn how to repair and service air conditioning, distribution and fuel heating systems. While enrolled, they can take advantage of the school's online job board. Everest College also offers career services training to help students prepare for an interview and polish their resumes. Free tutoring is also available at this school.
Runner-Up #2: Tidewater Community College
- 52% retention rate among full-time students entering in 2011, according to the NCES
- Features a campus in Virginia Beach
Tidewater Community College offers an HVAC certificate program that includes courses in air conditioning controls, heat pumps and hydronics. Students also learn about heating and refrigeration calculations, psychrometrics and duct construction. The curriculum takes three semesters to complete and requires at least 41 credit hours of coursework. Students in this program can take advantage of the school's tutoring and career services, which provide students with access to job fairs and employee job posts. The school also offers a continuing education course on code changes to help current HVAC technicians meet requirements for renewing their licenses.