Learn how to become a HVAC tech!

Overview of an HVAC Technician’s Career

If you’re looking to learn how to become a hvac tech, you’ve come to the right place. 

If you are someone who likes physical work, you can consider a career as an HVAC technician. The term refers to people whose work involves work with refrigeration, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Even though it is a great job, you need to be the right fit to do well in this line. Find an HVAC school today to get started.

This article will go through the basics of how to become a hvac technician.

You can become an HVAC technician by choosing from the 3 different options:  

  1. Work under a building contractor for plumbing, heating or air conditioning work.
  2. Find employment at companies that require such professional to install and maintain heating and cooling systems. This can include office buildings, schools, refrigerator and AC shops, Local and Federal government, hospitals and any other organization that operate large refrigeration, heating and AC systems.
  3. Work as an independent contractor in any HVAC specialization.


Benefits of Working as a HVAC Technician

This is a very financially rewarding career where air conditioning, heating and refrigeration installers and mechanics get employer-sponsored benefits of different kinds. The benefits may include pension plans, health insurance and work-related training when needed. The employers also provide uniforms and allow access to company vans and professional tools. Around 15% of these mechanics are members of a union, which too provides them with many perks.


 HVAC Contractor License: Requirements for Education and Licensure

HVAC is a technical field and training is essential. You can obtain certification in many different specializations. Some of them are Electrical, Light Commercial Air Conditioning, Air Conditioning, Basic Refrigeration and Charging Procedures, Electric Heat, Gas Heat Certification, Oil Heat, Residential and Light Commercial Hydronic Heat, Heat Pump, Carbon Monoxide, System, Diagnostics and Troubleshooting Procedures, Fuel Oil Combustion, Natural Gas Combustion Analysis, Carbon Monoxide and Combustion Analysis, and Light Commercial Refrigeration. These different fields you can choose and specialize in.

In any of these areas, you can enjoy job stability, but licensure is a very important step. In order to succeed in this industry, you must first complete training and then take the HVAC certification exam or licensing exams. Next step is to apply for an apprenticeship program in relevant field. After completion of that, you must apply for entry-level jobs.

Every state has HVAC training schools that offer dedicated programs. These usually take 2 years to complete and some of the colleges even grant an associate’s degree in the process. As far as licensing is concerned only some states require the technician to have a license.

In you are certified in HVAC, you can secure higher paying jobs. You can enroll for the HVAC Excellence program if you are just a beginner. It involves a few certification exams that you can select from. There are also professional level certifications but these often require employer level verifications. As there are many options, take full advantage of these programs and use the knowledge to boost your HVAC career.

After the training, it is time for apprenticeship. It is recommended to enroll for a program at an experienced HVAC organization, as there will be more scope to learn. Utilize your time at the company and learn everything they have to offer. The apprenticeship period varies from company to company but can range from 6 to 36 months.

During the apprenticeship program, the apprentice should have minimum 2,000 work hours and 144 hours of technical education. You will be taught blueprint reading, safety practices and also how to use various tools.

Finally, when you apply for your first job, keep in mind that the company should enhance your career. You may also start job directly after completing training and obtaining certification or degree. There are several HVAC employers and contractors who hire entry-level technicians and then train them on-the-job. Many HVAC training and degree programs offer career placement assistance for fresh graduates.

On-demand courses for Pros, by Pros- to grow your business, skills, and knowledge.


HVAC Job Opportunities and Employment Growth

The next thing to cover when looking at how to become a hvac tech is: what are the jobs like?

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunity for HVAC mechanics will increase 28% between 2008 and 2018. As the population of the nation inclines, the demand for commercial, residential and industrial climate control systems will increase as well.  More people are now concerned about indoor air quality. They express environmental concerns. All of these are factors will positively impact career growth. In fact, these have contributed to new energy saving AC and heating systems.

The Bureau also suggested that job prospect for refrigeration, air conditioning and heating device installers and mechanics is expected be great in the future. Especially those who obtain training from a formal apprenticeship or an accredited technical school can take advantage of the situation. In addition, many technicians are now going into retirement, which increases HVAC job openings all over United States. Many contractors are already reporting that there is a shortage of skilled technicians.

HVAC Contractor Salary

According to statistics, HVAC contractor salary is on average a salary of $45,110 per year. The hourly wage is $21.69. Some companies may require on-the-job training but getting a job in this field is quite easy. The lowest 10% earns less than $27,790 while the top 10% earns more than $71,690 annually. Usually, apprenticeship offers only half the wage that is paid to experienced HVAC workers. As the professionals gather more knowledge and work experience, their pay increases.

Most of the technicians work full time. They can also sometimes serve during weekends and in evening shifts, depending on workload. They work during irregular hours especially during peak heating and cooling seasons. Construction contractors employ most of them. Only 10% of the HVAC technicians are self-employed workers who can decide their own shifts and schedules.

Those who service heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning equipment usually have stable employment all year round. This happens because there are increasing number of contractors and manufacturers who provide service contracts.

If you are seeking a new career with job security and stability, this is a career you might want to consider. If you are interested, you can look up a local HVAC training school and contact them. Sign up for training courses and start planning your career! 

If you’re interested in exploring other skilled trades, you can check out our online trades courses and learn what you need on-demand.

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About the Author: Shelly  Olivia is the VP of communications for College-Universities.com. Find 100’s of trade schools and review tuition costs and upcoming start dates.