If you’re interested in becoming an HVAC technician, you first need to get familiar with the industry. Several steps can help you achieve this goal:
- Enrolling in an accredited training program at any HVAC school.
- Choosing your area of specialization and participating in an apprenticeship or other form of on-the-job training.
- Obtaining a contractor’s license and applying for certification through one or more industry-standard organizations.
Enroll in an accredited HVAC training program
To prepare for a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need to enroll in an accredited training program. Several schools across the country offer these courses, so finding one near your home or relocation location is important.
The first step is checking whether the school meets accreditation requirements with the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) or the International Code Council (ICC). The IUEC sets out standards for elevator technicians and maintenance specialists. At the same time, not all states require licensure or certification. It can help improve your resume if you’re applying for jobs in states that do require licensing.
Universal Technical Institute says, “In addition to learning different systems, you’ll be ready to test for certifications valued by the industry.”
Choose your area of specialization
If you’re not sure what type of equipment you want to specialize in, or you simply don’t have a preference, then it would be best to become a generalist. This means that you will be flexible in working with different types of equipment and systems in your career as an HVAC technician.
You can also choose to specialize as an air conditioning tech or refrigeration tech. These specialists are well-versed in their chosen area, but they are still able to service other types of equipment too.
Participate in an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are a great way to learn about HVAC and get hands-on experience on the job. You’ll be able to earn while you learn, so you won’t have to take out an expensive bank loan or student loan just yet.
Apprenticeships are available in all 50 states, but they vary from state to state. Some apprenticeship programs require that you pay a fee, while others do not charge any fees at all (but give preference to those who do pay). If this is something your school offers, there may also be opportunities for financial assistance through grants or scholarships.
Obtain a contractor’s license
Before you can start working as an HVAC technician, you must obtain a contractor’s license. This is because the work of an HVAC technician falls under the category of plumbing and electrical work, which can only be performed by contractors who have been licensed. To obtain your contractor’s license, you will be required to pass several exams covering different aspects of the industry. In some states, you may also need to undergo training before taking these exams and applying for your license.
Get certified by industry-standard organizations
Once you have graduated from an accredited HVAC school, you should get certification from industry-standard organizations. These include the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) and the International Certification Institute (ICI). Others may be out there, but these three are the most commonly used.
If you want to become an HVAC technician, you’re in great company. There is a growing demand for skilled HVAC technicians, especially as the average age of technicians continues to rise. With proper training and certification, you can make your dream of being an HVAC technician come true!