An HVAC technician can be a lifelong and lucrative career. It’s right up there at the top of the trades and job growth is expected to be 34 percent industry-wide over the next ten years. But to become an HVAC technician first you must be licensed. If a career in HVAC is what you’re aiming for, here are the steps you’ll need to take to acquire your license.
No, you do not have to go to college, but education is required in most all the trades. Working with HVAC equipment and in industrial settings can sometimes be dangerous, so you’ll have to start learning your trade at the education level.
First off, to even be considered for a career in HVAC you must have your high school diploma or GED. It is also advised that while in high school you take advantage of course such as mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics and electronics. This will help prepare you for the job to come.
After high school, you will then need to enroll in an accredited HVAC training program. This evolves learning the principles of HVAC installation, repair and maintenance. Recommended classes are in blueprint reading, construction, temperature control and equipment design.
You can find such courses at most community colleges, junior colleges, technical or vocational schools. These courses can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate or even an associate’s degree, depending on the program. Either way, once your education is done, it’s time to start earning money.
In most states, even though you have completed the education aspect of the training, you will still need to enter into an apprenticeship role. This means further education on the job, but in this case you earn while you learn.
The apprenticeship can last anywhere from three to five years and offer hands-on training in the field. While the job may very well begin with menial tasks, it does ramp up into more advanced applications as time goes on. While in many cases the apprenticeship program is administered by a union, it can come from an independent contractor as well.
Taking the exam
The final stage for getting your license is course to not just take but pass your exam. Tests vary from state to state, but the one thing that remains constant is that the tests require the student to exhibit knowledge in most all aspects of HVAC installation, maintenance and repair. Knowledge of the electrical codes is also often necessary.
Those HAVC technicians who wish to work with refrigeration will be required to take extension training and certification. Following written exams may be necessary for each type of specialization.