How to Get an HVAC Certification?
HVAC systems are used for temperature regulation as well as to maintain the cooling, ventilation and heating of a building. They tend to be highly complex units that need to be handled by specialist people (HVAC technicians).
As a result, employers are always in need of competent HVAC technicians to take care of their heating, cooling and ventilation setups. In this piece, you will find important pointers on starting a career as an HVAC technician and how to get HVAC certified.
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What Does HVAC Stand For?
HVAC is an abbreviation for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
Requirements to Get an HVAC Certification
In order to become HVAC certified, you will have to complete specialized study programs and acquire some work experience as an HVAC engineer or technician. Before you can enter the field, you must have completed your high school diploma or equivalent GED certificate. You must also be at least 18.
Steps to Get an HVAC Certification
- Complete your high school diploma or equivalent GED certificate
This is the minimum requirement to enter the HVAC field.
- Complete post-secondary HVAC education and training
A number of post-secondary HVAC education and training programs are available. These include certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, etc. You will need as little as 6 months and as much as 2 years to complete your studies depending upon the type of program you choose. PAHRA (Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation) is the accrediting agency for post-secondary HVAC programs. Make sure you opt for a study program approved by PAHRA.
- Go for an HVAC apprenticeship (optional)
You are not obligated to go for an HVAC tech apprenticeship. However, it can do your career a world of good. It will take 3 to 5 years to complete an apprenticeship. The best ones include both technical and hands-on training.
- Get the required work experience
With proper education and a high-quality apprenticeship under your belt, you can now take up entry level jobs in the field. Research the market well and try to land a position that will offer good career growth and learning opportunities.
Unless a particular employer or state makes it compulsory, you are not likely to need a certification for an entry-level job in the field. However, a few basic EPA certifications are needed to work on certain types of HVAC systems.
- Apply for HVAC certification online and take the test
In all likelihood, you will need to pass a written test in states where HVAC certifications are mandatory. The North American Technician Excellence Exam (NATE) is one standardized test used by many states. Other licenses include the Universal EPA Certificate, EPA Type I Certification, EPA Type II Certification and EPA Type III Certification.
Is There An HVAC School Near Me?
The demand for HVAC technicians is always high and most states are likely to have a number of educational institutions offering HVAC-related academic programs.
HVAC Technician Salary
Average HVAC salary may be different from one state to another. According to data available with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage for HVAC technicians in May, 2018 was $47,610. This translates to a per hour wage of $22.89.
HVAC Career Outlook and Job Growth
The career outlook for HVAC technicians is very good with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a faster job growth (15 percent) from 2016 to 2026 as compared to other occupations.