Congratulations on your decision to embark on a career into the HVAC profession! You’ve made a right move as employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is expected to grow 34 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations! This field is increasingly in high demand, so your chances of getting a job are promising! The job outlook for HVAC professionals is excellent as this specialized field is projected to grow faster through 2018, than other occupations that require post-secondary education or an associate degree (According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). As you start your journey, we highly recommend that you acquire the appropriate HVAC certifications, licenses, and training.
HVAC certification requirements vary from state to state. However, most employers prefer to hire HVAC technicians who have completed formal training, which may include an apprenticeship or classroom instruction. Please select your state below to read more about the specific requirements for your state so you can quickly get started.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
HVAC certification can be obtained after an individual completes certain training requirements in an accredited program. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and this industry offers a large variety of specialties that have different training and education requirements. The popular careers in this field will involve the maintenance and installation of commercial cooling and heating systems, new product design and system engineers.
There are a number of skills that are required for commercial and residential installation, repair and maintenance of HVAC units. Some of these professionals, also referred to as techs, will receive training through associate’s degree or certificate programs or a related field, such as electronics. A program for installation training can be completed in a little as six months, or as long as two years, while the system designer education can be completed in two to four years.
HVAC System Designers
Many techs will begin their employment working as an apprentice, which lasts for two to four years. This apprenticeship can include both classroom learning and hands on training.
For design, development and research of new systems, an employer will typically prefer to hire people that have at least a bachelor’s degree in electrical or mechanical engineering. Some positions can even require the tech to have a master’s degree, although most employers will at times hire a non-degree development and research team member.
Degree Programs for HVAC Techs and System Designers
System designers and techs in this field can choose from certificate programs and associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs.
The one year certificate program will teach a student the basics of repair and maintenance for both residential and commercial systems. A student will learn about cooling and heating science, system installation and blueprint reading. This program will prepare the graduate for an entry level position.
Some of the core topics in this program will include heating systems, applied physics, technical math, motor controls and refrigeration theory.
The two year associate’s degree program for this field will teach students problem solving techniques, in addition to the proper methods of technician-customer interaction. The hands on training in this program will help a student to obtain practical experience with electronic and mechanical controls and system repair. To qualify for program enrollment, the potential student will need to have a background in sciences and algebra.
This degree program will distinguish itself from the certificate program by also featuring general education classes. Some of the core classes will include topics on heating systems, steam systems, electrical servicing, heat pumps and technical writing.
The four year bachelor’s degree program will teach small business management, in addition to system design, energy management and control theory. A student can earn hands on experience through senior projects and internships. This program will cover system calculations, retrofitting and maintenance basics. Other core courses will include electronics, automation design, duct design, energy analysis, load calculation, trigonometry and algebra.
HVAC certification requirements for the installer will vary from state to state, but will usually involve on the job training and a post-secondary education. The majority of mechanics and installers will begin training at technical schools or community colleges. These programs will typically culminate in a certificate or diploma. The training program you choose will need to be accredited through a certifying organization. In addition to a training program, an installer will usually be required to complete a two to four yearlong apprenticeship, before being eligible for certification.
This occupation will require the tech to be skilled in air conditioning, sheet metal work, plumbing and electrical work. A student will study digital electronics, sheet metal fabrication, blueprint reading and refrigeration. Some programs will teach students how to solder and weld. A program will also delve into corrective repair and maintenance for air conditioning systems and furnaces.
Installers will receive training in the handling of refrigerant units and the standards of storage and transportation. Programs that deals with refrigeration techniques might also be referred to as HVACR programs.
A state will have certain certification requirements that an installer will need to meet in order to be eligible for certification. They will be required to pass in exam in every state, with some states offering a number of certification levels for this field. Additionally, most states will require the installer to have knowledge of electrical codes, while other states will require the installer to have specific knowledge of refrigerant systems. An installer that works with refrigerant units will need to earn certification in transporting and handling these systems. There are three different types of certification that is required for refrigerant handling, including the service of small units and appliances. The exam will need to be approved by the EPA. Credentials are also available to an installer through the RSES and the ACHVI.