Online Appliance Repair Training

Comparing Master Samurai Tech, Penn Foster, and Uncle Harry’s*

If you’re new to appliance repair and looking to learn the trade, or if you’re a working technician looking to improve your skills, you have probably noticed that there aren’t a lot of training options out there. Your choices include:

  • A few academies with physical locations, each costing thousands of dollars, requiring travel and with limited seats available.
  • A few online training options that offer open enrollment and lower tuitions, though they lack a hands-on component.

As an online appliance repair school ourselves, we may seem biased about the benefits of online training, but a glance at our reviews will prove that online training can be a powerful tool for self-improvement when done right.

But of your online appliance repair school options – Master Samurai Tech, Penn Foster, and Uncle Harry’s – which should you enroll in?

What the Courses Cover

Basics of:

Refrigeration, cooking, washers/dryers, dishwashers

Computer-controlled

appliances

Electricity and electronics

Gas

Appliance motors and parts

Schematic and wiring diagrams

Troubleshooting

Functional understanding of common technology

Common issues and fixes for:

Standard appliances (refrigerators, cooking appliances, laundry appliances, microwaves)

Computer-controlled appliances

Advanced understanding of:

Troubleshooting techniques

Refrigeration and sealed systems

Cooking appliance technology

Laundry systems

Schematic analysis

Timing charts

Ohm's Law and electricity

Electronic control boards

Other:

How to start up a business

How to run a business

Installation

Basics of professional service


 
What does all that mean? It means whichever program you pick, you can expect to learn the basics of how standard appliances work, the common problems they suffer and the solutions that usually work. That knowledge can get you safely through a number of service calls.

But what happens when the common solution doesn’t work? What happens when you show up and are faced with an issue you’ve never seen before? It happens more than you might think, especially as appliance technology becomes more complex and new models are coming out all the time. There is little scarier than being stuck in a frustrated customer’s home with no idea what to do next. And getting on the phone to call a help-line is a sure way to look incompetent. How much is a customer willing to pay if the guy on the phone is the real expert and you are simply the parts-changer?

Master Samurai Tech has made a name for itself in the industry for teaching troubleshooting skills and techniques advanced enough to make short work of any appliance issue, no matter how uncommon. This includes giving techs a functional understanding of the technology common to all appliances, makes, and models, knowledge that makes you powerfully effective. So, not only can we help you set up an appliance repair business, we can train you to solve the service calls you get better than anyone in your area.

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How the Courses Work

Cost:

Financing available?

Time commitment:

Self-paced

Progress-tracking

Goal-setting tools

Course materials:

Online text and diagrams

Videos

Interactive examples, case studies

Quizzes and exams

Difficulty:

Teaching style:

Support:

Basic support

Student community support

Appliance expert support

Starts at $495

Business bundle: $1599

Moderate

Lively

20+ years experience

$749

Easy

Dry

$2899

Easy

Dull

20+ years expereince

 
Even if the course covers the information you need, you won’t learn much if it’s taught poorly. Everyone has a preferred learning style—visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic (hands-on)—and students learn better when teachers use a mix of these styles. So, it’s important to look for a variety of course materials.

But an even more important key to good teaching is to keep students interested and engaged. We all know from past school experience that it is very hard to learn when you are falling asleep every few minutes from boredom.

You may have noticed we’re a little quirkier – Master Samurai Tech? – and there’s a reason: we want your training to stick. We do all we can to keep the training fresh and fun, because when you’re enjoying yourself you actually absorb the material being taught.

Graded quizzes and exams throughout each course help you test and apply what you're learning to make sure you really get it. And if you ever need a little additional help understanding the material, we give personal, interactive help in our Ask the Teacher Forums.

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Post-Graduation Benefits

Receive updates on new material

Employment help:

Certification

Help with licensing

Help with work placement


Support:

Continued access to teachers

Network with other appliance experts


Access to manuals and tech sheets

Continually updated technical library

 
Because Penn Foster is not a program run and staffed by seasoned appliance repair technicians, you can’t expect much from them after completing the program. And while Uncle Harry says that he offers lifetime support and an “Appliance Wizard Tablet,” these resources are less plug-and-play than he makes it seem.** We think YOU should be the wizard, not your tablet.

When you enroll in Master Samurai Tech, you are eligible for a free membership at our tech support site, Appliantology, the largest online community of appliance repair experts. There you can find industry news, get community help for especially tricky problems, and find all the manuals and tech sheets you need to kick butt at your job (which you can then load onto your tablet).

There is always more to learn, even after advanced training such as ours, so ask yourself: Am I student of the craft? Or do I just want to make a quick buck?

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Summary

Penn Foster – Penn Foster offers the least expensive program end-to-end, but you get what you pay for. While the basics are taught on their courseware, the training lacks the advanced skills and knowledge to make you a real professional. And if you get stuck and need help, either during the courses or after, Penn Foster does not offer support from appliance repair experts.**

Uncle Harry’s – Uncle Harry’s falls on the opposite end of the price range, and for help getting an appliance repair company set up quickly and receiving calls there are few better options. But to actually learn the trade beyond being a basic parts-changer, especially when it comes to today’s computer-controlled appliances, you will find Uncle Harry’s course material and support outdated by 20 years.**

Master Samurai Tech – Of the three, we offer the most thorough training and the most comprehensive support, because we are deeply invested in helping you succeed. Why?

We are tired of having appliance repair be looked down upon. Being an appliance repair technician should feel awesome, it should fill you with pride every time a customer gushes over your great service. But for either to happen, you need to master the trade. Let us make you feel like a noble appliance repair warrior. Let us train you to be a Master Samurai Tech.
 

* Yes, we know there are a few other options available, but we are focusing on legitimate programs that could actually help you and have been around long enough to have a track record.

** Based on publicly available data and information from former students of these programs.

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Claims by our competitors

We get some amusing critiques! Here are some we've found on the web and our response.

If you’re a tech head and want to master Ohm’s Law then Scott Brown is your man; Just don’t count on getting anyone on the phone if you get in a jam!

  • Calling for help while on the job erodes your customer’s confidence in your abilities.
  • We teach you how a few minutes of preparation for each job can guarantee that your “jams” will be few and far between.
  • Our vibrant professional tech community at Appliantology gives you the support and documents you need to deal with practically any repair scenario you will come across.
  • Shouldn't every appliance repair tech have a head for technology?

Samurai guy promotes what amounts to a full-fledged electronics technician background as being the only way to approach appliance repair, an opinion not shared by some experienced professionals in the industry.

That's hilarious! Whoever wrote that has no idea what a “full-fledged electronics” background looks like. The Samurai has an extensive electronics background from serving as a radar technician in the US Navy, but he has also knows what portion of that background is critical to being a kick-ass appliance tech. That small portion--very basic electricity, circuits, and electronic components--is what we teach, and why we’ve become so popular among techs who want to perform at the highest level of the profession.