Training to Become an HVAC Technician

Training to Become an HVAC Technician: What You Need to Know

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians work in a fast-paced industry with tremendous growth potential. HVAC training gives you the qualifications needed to work on systems that control temperature, humidity, and air quality. With heat, cooling, and ventilation top priority of homeowners and business owners, there are plenty of HVAC technician jobs.

HVAC technician training takes between six months and two years. HVAC training involves obtaining a post-secondary certificate or associate’s degree. As a fully-qualified HVAC technician, you can work in any company that services ventilation, heating, or cooling components.

What does HVAC training involve? How long do HVAC certification classes last before you can get your certificate? We’ll tell you all you need to know about starting a career as an HVAC technician.

What Does HVAC Training Involve?

Training to become an HVAC technician involves learning how to install and repair HVAC equipment and systems. Because you will be working with cooling systems, you will also get training on handling refrigerants. Additionally, you learn skills such as welding, soldering, testing electrical circuits, and reading blueprints.

In your training, here are some of the HVAC skills you will learn to obtain your certificate:

  • Learn how to read electrical wiring diagrams
  • How to install and repair HVAC unit electrical wiring
  • Refrigerant safety practices
  • How to troubleshoot various types of heating systems
  • Repair piping systems using soldering, welding, and brazing
  • Installing, testing, and maintaining refrigeration systems

HVAC certification classes are usually held in technical schools, community colleges, or other training facilities. Most accredited schools provide HVAC training that meets the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) standards.

It’s not necessary to hold a certificate to become an HVAC technician. But receiving the appropriate training significantly increases your job prospects. It’s crucial to remember that if you work with refrigerants, you will need EPA certification. Being EPA Section 608 certified allows you to work with cooling systems.

So, before enrolling in a trade school, ensure that EPA Section 608 is included in the HVAC training. If you plan on learning your HVAC trade by other means, then this government website has information on Section 608 for HVAC technicians.

The Cost of HVAC Technician Training

Intensive training is vital to learn the skills for working with HVAC systems. There are various options available to you to start your career after college. The three different training programs include certificate programs, associate’s degrees, and apprenticeships.

Let’s look at how long these HVAC training programs last and their cost.

HVAC Certificate Program

Vocational colleges or technical schools offer HVAC certification classes. Usually, the training program lasts for six to twelve months. During this time, you will learn the basic skills to work in the HVAC industry. Generally, HVAC certificates include the EPA Section 608 exam.

Depending on the type of course you enroll in, the cost can be between $1,200 and $15,000.

HVAC Associate’s Degree

HVAC training to obtain an associate’s degree lasts for two years. During this time, you will learn more than just the HVAC basics. You get training in working with metal fabrication, heat pumps, and technical physics. The HVAC associate’s degree covers a broader range of topics than certification programs.

If you plan to further your career in the HVAC industry, then obtaining an associate’s degree is crucial. The cost of HVAC associate’s degree programs range from $15,000 to 35,000.

HVAC Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship can be your career path to qualify as an HVAC technician. Starting an apprenticeship allows you to train with a qualified technician. The training involves a mix of self-study course work, online HVAC training, and hands-on experience.

One of the benefits of an apprenticeship is that you work under an experienced mentor. At the same time, you can take courses to boost your competence.

HVAC apprenticeships take three to five years and cost between $500 and $2,000. It’s good to remember that you can usually earn money while working on-site.

NATE Certification

After qualifying as an HVAC technician, you can significantly boost your job prospects by pursuing NATE certification. NATE stands for North American Technical Excellence. Certified HVAC workers with NATE certification usually have the edge when it comes to applying successfully for HVAC jobs.

Online HVAC Training Courses

HVAC online training courses are an excellent solution to training to become an HVAC technician. Online training uses virtual reality (VR) and 3-D simulations to educate you on the basics of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. If you don’t have a VR headset, you can take the training courses on your computer.

Here are examples of some of the online HVAC training courses available:

  • Introduction to refrigeration systems
  • How to check for piping leaks
  • HVAC safety basics
  • How to maintain HVAC systems
  • Understanding wiring diagrams
  • How to use HVAC tools
  • Troubleshooting HVAC components and systems
  • Diagnosing air-conditioning systems
  • Preparation for EPA Section 608 courses for type I, II, and III appliances

Job Prospects After Completing HVAC Technician Training

One reason to pursue a career in the HVAC industry is that there are plenty of job prospects. There are a few reasons why there’s tremendous growth for HVAC technicians. For example, many organizations and households are switching to “smart” climate control systems. The increase in erratic weather patterns also means that people have to replace their existing heating and cooling installations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook is good for HVAC mechanics and installers. Job growth in the industry is expected to be four percent. The average pay for HVAC technicians is $48,730 per year. But you can earn more if you continue your education and get additional certificates.

Where Do HVAC Technicians Work?

After completing HVAC training, there are several types of jobs you can apply for. Let’s face it, every home, office complex, and factory in the country has some kind of heating, cooling, or ventilation system in place. Certified HVAC technicians can find jobs in the following areas:

  • Working in an HVAC service company
  • Becoming a service technician in an office complex or apartment community
  • Automotive HVAC technician
  • HVAC installer, mechanic, or engineer

Training to Become an HVAC Technician: In Conclusion

It can take six months to two years to complete your training as an HVAC technician. During the certification classes, you learn a wide range of skills useful in other industries. With demand growing for HVAC installers, mechanics, and technicians, there will be plenty of job opportunities.

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