HVAC Careers: How to Succeed

If you’re interested in field of  HVAC careers, you’ll need to learn about the steps you need to take in order to qualify for employment in this field. These techs can work on heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Techs will often travel to a work site and repair and install parts, supply lines and wiring. These systems can control the humidity, temperature and air quality in a room. Individuals that want to enter this field can enrol in a certificate or degree program and will also be required to complete an apprenticeship.

The prospective tech can receive training from vocational schools or community colleges by enrolling in the associate’s degree or certificate program. In addition to learning about air conditioning units, ventilation units and heating systems, the classwork can also include temperature control theory, equipment design, and mechanical systems. A student may also be required to complete a capstone project in order to be eligible for graduation.  An employer will usually require a tech to earn EPA certification, which will qualify them to handle refrigerant units.

What the HVAC Tech Does

These techs will repair, install and maintain refrigeration, air conditioning and heating systems. Many HVAC careers will involve the technician choosing to specialize in repair, maintenance or installation, or they can specialize in refrigeration or air conditioning.

The typical day for this type of professional will depend on their area of specialty. Techs can test electrical circuits and components, with electrical testing equipment and replace or repair damaged wiring or components. Techs will routinely check on installed equipment, in order to ensure that it meets safety regulations and codes.

A tech will typically work in uncomfortable hot or cold conditions and will need to take safety precautions in order to avoid injury.

hvac tech courses

Many states will require the HVAC tech to obtain certification and all techs that work with refrigerant units will need to become licensed. There are a number of unions, employer associations and trade schools that can provide accredited training programs for this field.

Techs that complete a formal training program and have less than two years of experience in the field are eligible for entry level positions. Individuals that have a minimum of one year of installation experience and two years of repair and maintenance experience are eligible to take specialized certification exams. There are a number of certifying organizations that provide certification exams, which can be taken through accredited schools. These exams will show that a tech has specific competencies.

The Routine for the HVAC Technician

An HVAC tech will typically work forty hours a week and during peak seasons they may be required to work overtime. Currently, less than five percent of techs work as independent contractors.

Depending on the employer, a tech can work in malls, factories, stores, hospitals, schools, offices and residential buildings. Technicians will generally work indoors, but can sometimes be required to work outside on heating systems or other types of units.