HVAC Technician: All You Need To Know About Your HVAC Career

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This guide is all about HVAC technicians, how to become an HVAC technician, educational requirements, job responsibilities, and much more. Read on to get more information if you want to step into this field.

Job Responsibility of HVAC Technicians

HVAC technicians install, repair, or replace the components that supply heating, ventilation and cooling to commercial and residential buildings. HVAC training at an HVAC school allows an individual to use various tools, including combustion, carbon monoxide testers, torches, and voltmeters.

Requirements to Become an HVAC Technician

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Passing basic math test and drug screening
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Attending a trade school or having done a formal HVAC apprenticeship
  • Getting a license (as per state’s requirements)
  • Getting the EPA 608 certifications

After completing your GED or high school diploma, you can attend a technical college, complete an online course, or apply for the apprenticeship program. In this program, you must have to complete coursework and work experience of 144 and 2,000 hours per year, respectively.

In an apprenticeship program, technicians understand safety precautions, learn to read and use blueprints, air-conditioning and ventilation system design, care, and proper use of tools. The beauty of an apprenticeship program is that it is a HVAC training program. Unfortunately, apprenticeship programs or few and far between with limited seats. Our online HVAC Boot Camp lets you keep your current job while learning HVAC fundamentals.

Duration of HVAC School

You have the option of getting HVAC training at a trade school or community college. Each HVAC training system has a different duration.

  • 2-years of community college (full-time)
  • 6-18 months in trade school
  • 2-5 years in apprenticeships

Licensing Fee and Requirements

It differs depending on the place you live; however, it costs between $75 and $300. Some states issue licenses once you have 2-15 years of work experience/apprenticeship as their requirement. To get the exact licensing requirements, check with your state.

However, some sort of training is a must to get a license. Once finished with the formal education, and have documented HVAC experience, you can take the licensing exam. The content, length, and location of the test vary from state to state. The exam tests consider every installation and repairing aspect of HVAC as well as OSHA, business accounting, and law.

Doing an apprenticeship is a great decision to get HVAC training. However, some industries hire HVAC technicians who have attended HVAC training from community colleges, online classes, or trade schools. Whether you attend community college, online courses, or trade school, all offer you the knowledge you need to apply for and get hired as an entry level HVAC technician.

Eligibility Requirements for HVAC License Test (all states differ)

  • Minimum 18-years of age
  • Fluency in the English language
  • Completion of an HVAC training program

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Course Options at HVAC School

There are various HVAC course options to choose from depending on which HVAC School you decide upon. You can choose a traditional learning system (attending on-campus HVAC School) an online HVAC school, or choose a hybrid program (both online and local HVAC school).

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Common HVAC Courses

Here are some standard HVAC courses that you will learn at HVAC School:

  • Residential Gas Heating: Understanding gas-fired appliances and learning their repairing and troubleshooting issues.
  • Principles of Refrigeration: Learning basics and applications of the refrigeration system.
  • Heating and Cooling Systems: Learning climate control by applying sizing calculations).
  • NATE Core – AC/Heat Pump: Learning intermediate HVAC skills and becoming nationally certified.
  • Commercial Refrigeration: Advanced HVAC training to prepare you to work on walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers, and ice machines.

HVAC Certification Fee and Other Requirements

HVAC certification is different from HVAC licensing and HVAC Training. The EPA certification exam costs between $75 and $100. With HVAC certification, you have proof that you can legally work on systems with refrigerants.

As per EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) policy, certification is a must for technicians handling refrigerants. Different HVAC certifications depend on the different specialization areas. Every HVAC technician must have EPA 608 certification to work on HVAC equipment. NATE, RSES, and other HVAC certifications are optional. The EPA 608 certification is the bare minimum you need. However, it does not prepare you to work on HVAC equipment.

EPA 608 Certification

There are four levels within this certification.

  • Type 1: Handling small appliances containing refrigerants less than 5 pounds.
  • Type 2: Dealing with high-pressure refrigerants.
  • Type 3: Handling low-pressure refrigerants.
  • Universal: It’s a universal type and includes all above 1, 2, and 3 types.

North American Technician Excellence Certification

Although NATE Certification is not a must, it is a highly rated and respected HVAC certification that is nationally recognized. Getting this certification requires you to pass the exam. This certification is earned in air distribution, air-conditioning, and gas furnaces managing areas. NOTE: We provide an 8 week NATE certification course!

Intermediate HVAC training is available. HVAC Training Online

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HVAC Excellence Certification

To earn this HVAC certification, you are required to at least have two years of job experience and must pass the general HVAC knowledge-based exam.

More HVAC certifications add more credibility to your skills and make you a more desirable employee. Certifications of HVAC technicians give consumers and employers a sense of security that capable hands are dealing with their work.

Prices are different for HVAC education, certification, and licensing because requirements and regulations vary from state to state. Some offer financial aid; you can discuss these options with the department of financial aid of your institution. Our online HVAC courses are affordable and fun. No need to take our a student loan

Necessary Skills To Become A HVAC Technician

Apart from technical skills, HVAC technicians are required to have some interpersonal skills as well. Employers prefer hiring HVAC professionals with effective communication skills, keeping themselves up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry, and providing the highest quality of problem-solving service on-the-go.

How Much Can I Earn as an HVAC Technician?

HVAC technicians are top-paid skilled laborers. In 2019, annually, an average of $51,420 was paid to the HVAC technicians. Their salaries differ as per industry and location, and work schedule (full-time/half-time). The Earnings of an HVAC apprentice is about half of an experienced HVAC technician.

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While not every HVAC technician earns $150,000 a year, there are opportunities for a high paying, high demand career in the HVAC industry.

Top 5 HVAC High Paying States:

  • District of Columbia ($71,940)
  • Alaska ($68,340)
  • Connecticut ($64,900)
  • Massachusetts ($63,260)
  • Hawaii ($61,420)

Demand for HVAC Technicians

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The employment growth rate is increasing much faster, and the estimated increase through 2028 for HVAC technicians is much higher (13% to be exact) compared to the average of other occupations. During this period, over 46,300 new job positions are expected to be open.

Moreover, due to the strong demand for living or working in a climate-controlled environment and technology becoming more sophisticated, qualified, and knowledgeable HVAC technicians are now more in demand.

There are plenty of career options for HVAC professionals. You just need to put time and effort into becoming a licensed and certified HVAC technician. Then you will find no problem in finding your dream job.

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Ron Walker
Ron Walker

After retiring from the U.S. Marines and achieving his B.S. degree, Ron Walker entered the HVAC field. He has been an HVAC technician, service manager, and business owner. Working as a service manager, he spent many years training HVAC technicians to be more technically competent and really understand their trade. His passion for teaching and helping others resulted in the creation of HVAC Training Solutions, LLC.