Schools for Aspiring Appliance Technicians: How to Choose

One way to become an appliance technician is to study and train through a certificate, diploma or associate's degree program at a vocational college. Programs are commonly offered in appliance repair as well as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC).

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are many schools that offer certificate and diploma programs in appliance technology and repair; a smaller number offer associate's degrees in this field (nces.ed.gov). HVAC programs are also available at these levels and might require students to pass certain certification exams administered by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute prior to graduation.

Schools with Appliance Technician Programs

This list of colleges and technical institutions identifies some schools offering appliance technician programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
Los Medanos College Pittsburgh, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state: $1,298
Out-of-state: $7,542
Renton Technical College Renton, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $4,836
Hibbing Community College Hibbing, MN 2-year, Public Diploma In-state: $5,310
Out-of-state: $6,492
Manatee Technical Institute Bradenton, FL 2-year, Public Certificate $4,980 (2016-2017)
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee, WI 2-year, Public Diploma In-state: $4,360
Out-of-state: $6,286
Southeast Community College Lincoln, NE 2-year, Public Associate's In-state: $3,218
Out-of-state: $3,932
Fort Myers Technical College Fort Myers, FL 2-year, Public Certificate $4,460 (2016-2017)
Columbus Technical College Columbus, GA 2-year, Public Diploma In-state: $2,694
Out-of-state: $4,830
Miami Lakes Education Center & Technical College Miami Lakes, FL 2-year, Public Certificate $3,975

*Sources: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); School websites

School Selection Criteria

Aspiring appliance technicians should consider several factors when choosing a school:

  • Look for programs that offer lab workshops with the opportunity to work on equipment and appliances.
  • Make sure your program will prepare you to earn U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification if you plan on working with refrigerants.
  • Consider programs staffed by EPA-certified, working professionals; experienced instructors can also help with employment and networking opportunities.
  • See if your school offers job placement services.

Certificate and Diploma Programs

The certificate of completion or diploma is the more common option for those interested in receiving formal training in appliance repair. It is usually a 1-year program that provides experience repairing refrigerators, ventilation units, heating units, laundry appliances and other home appliances. Some of these programs are also designed to prepare students to take the Certified Appliance Professional exam from the Professional Service Association (PSA).

Associate of Applied Science Programs

In general, an associate's degree program provides the same type of coursework and training as a certificate program, but also provides general education coursework for students. Some programs allow students to earn an associate's degree in a particular area of the field, such as refrigeration technology, kitchen major appliance technology or laundry major appliance technology.

A number of colleges and technical institutions offer certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs in appliance repair or HVAC technology. Prospective appliance technicians should consider those that offer lab training from qualified professionals.

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