What is an HVAC Technician?

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems are installed in different commercial and residential buildings to regulate temperature (cooling, ventilation and heating). They are highly complex and specialized setups that must be looked after by people well-qualified to handle such systems.
Consequently, HVAC technicians and engineers are always in high demand. This guide will help you understand how to start a career in this field in San Diego and how to become HVAC certified.

Requirements to Become an HVAC Technician in San Diego

To become an HVAC technician or engineer in San Diego, you need to be 18 years old at least and possess a High School Diploma or GED (General Educational Development) certificate. After that, you need to undertake specialized post-secondary education before entering the HVAC workforce.

Steps to Become an HVAC Technician in San Diego

  1. Get your high school diploma or equivalent GED certificate

This is the minimum educational qualification you will need to enter the HVAC field as a technician.

  1. Post-secondary HVAC education and training

Different post-secondary HVAC academic and training programs are available in San Diego. These include bachelor’s degrees, certificate programs, associate’s degrees and apprenticeships among others. They all have varying durations ranging from 6 months up to 2 years. Some apprenticeship and practical training programs may last longer. Most HVAC training programs are accredited by PAHRA (Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation) and HVAC Excellence.

  1. Complete an apprenticeship (optional)

It is not mandatory to have apprenticeship experience but doing so can be very helpful for your career. You will need about 3 to 5 years for it.

  1. Get to work

You are now ready to apply for HVAC technician jobs in San Diego. Carry out extensive research in order to find an opportunity that suits you best and outlines an attractive long-term growth plan for you.

  1. Apply for and obtain your HVAC certification

HVAC technicians in San Diego, California have to be licensed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) of California. The body conducts an exam that has the following sections.

  • Law and Business Exam
  • HVAC Trade Specific Exam

You do not need any educational qualifications to take this exam but relevant work experience of at least 4 years under the supervision of a certified HVAC technician is needed.

Best Places for HVAC Education in San Diego

S. No Institution Programs
1 San Diego Community College District HVAC Apprenticeship Program in Poway (4 Years)
2 PHCC Academy of San Diego HVAC Apprenticeship Program
3 Mt. San Antonio College Various HVAC degree and certificate programs featuring courses in refrigeration fundamentals, air conditioning, heat load calculations, air properties, building automation, etc.
4 San Diego City College Associate in Science (AS) program in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Environmental Control Technology
5 University of California, San Diego Certificate in HVAC Systems Design & Control

HVAC Engineer Salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in California was $58,130 in May, 2018. It comes to an hourly mean wage of $27.95.

HVAC Career Outlook and Job Growth

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15% increase in jobs for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers between 2016 and 2026. This is way faster than other occupations. Besides, the salary in San Diego and throughout California is considerably higher than other states. So, the career outlook for HVAC technicians is really good.

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