Comparing Master Samurai Tech, Penn Foster, and Uncle Harry’s*
Whether you’re new to appliance repair and looking to learn the trade or a working technician looking to improve your skills, you’ve probably noticed that you don’t have a lot of training options. Your choices include:
- A few in-person academies that cost thousands of dollars, require travel and have limited seats.
- A few online training options with open enrollment and lower tuitions.
Hands-on practice is easy to get once you know the skills of the trade, so most students opt for the affordability and flexibility of online courses. But of your online appliance repair school options – Master Samurai Tech, Penn Foster, and Uncle Harry’s – which offers the best deal for the best education?
What the Courses Cover
Refrigeration, cooking, washers/dryers, dishwashers
Electricity and electronics
Appliance motors and parts
Schematic and wiring diagrams
Functional understanding of common technology
Common issues and fixes for:
Standard appliances (refrigerators, cooking appliances, laundry appliances, microwaves)
Advanced understanding of:
Refrigeration and sealed systems
Cooking appliance technology
Ohm's Law and electricity
Electronic control boards
How to start up a business
How to run a business
Basics of professional service
While you can learn the basics of appliance repair at each school, only Master Samurai Tech offers you the option to continue your training with advanced courses. These advanced courses give you the skills to handle any issue, even on the most modern appliances.
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.
How the Courses Work
Online text and diagrams
Interactive examples, case studies
Quizzes and exams
Student community support
Appliance expert support
Starts at $495
Business bundle: $1599
20+ years experience
20+ years expereince
How a course is taught is just as important as what is taught. Are the lessons and examples clear? Are they fun and engaging? What happens if you need additional help? Master Samurai Tech works hard to make sure our students keep learning, because we want to see you succeed.
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
Receive updates on new material
Help with licensing
Help with work placement
Continued access to teachers
Network with other appliance experts
Access to manuals and tech sheets
Continually updated technical library
After you’re done training, what comes next? If you’re smart, you’ll pick a school that will continue to support you in your career. We’re working to add more resources, but we already offer the best post-graduation benefit: a free membership to Appliantology, the largest online community of appliance repair experts, complete with an easily searchable archive of every manual and tech sheet you’ll ever need.
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?
Summary of Your Options
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.
Ready to Learn More About 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.