HVAC Technician Training
HVAC refers to Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems that are installed in different buildings to regulate temperature. They are highly sensitive units that can only be managed by specialist individuals trained to handle them. This makes HVAC technicians very important for most organizations. If you are interested in pursuing a career as an HVAC technician, this guide will provide all the important information about available study programs as well as HVAC technician training requirements.
HVAC Technician Training Requirements
To enroll for any type of HVAC technician training, you must be 18 years old (at least) and a high school diploma holder. You can also obtain the equivalent GED (General Educational Development) certificate. Once these requirements have been fulfilled, you will be eligible to undertake any of the different HVAC study and training programs offered by different institutions.
HVAC Technician Training Steps
- Complete your high school diploma or GED certificate
This is the minimum educational qualification you must have in order to enter the HVAC field. Without a high school diploma or a GED certificate, you will not be able to enroll for any accredited HVAC technician training program.
- Undergo an accredited HVAC training program
A number of specialized HVAC education and training programs are offered by different educational institutions around the country. These include various certificate and associate’s degree programs which vary in duration from 6 months to 2 years.
Courses are provided in HVAC system design, industry code standards, load calculations, air quality management, refrigeration, piping and duct systems, energy management and other related areas. Most HVAC technician education and training programs are accredited by HVAC Excellence or PAHRA (Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Accreditation).
- Optional HVAC apprenticeship
There is no compulsion to undertake an HVAC apprenticeship. However, you can significantly increase your learning as well as career growth by doing so. You will need about 3 to 5 years to complete an apprenticeship. Most programs will require you to complete 144 hours of technical training and around 2,000 hours of hands-on training.
Different states around the country are likely to have varying HVAC certification requirements. Many states do not make a certification compulsory for HVAC technicians either. If you plan on working in a state that makes HVAC certifications mandatory, then you will probably have to pass a test to get your license. The NATE (North American Technician Excellence Exam) is a common HVAC certification standard used by many US states.
Time Taken to Complete HVAC Technician Training
The time taken to complete HVAC technician training will depend on your chosen program. Around 6 months to 2 years is the normal duration. On the other hand, if you decide to go for an apprenticeship, it is likely to take around 3 to 5 years to complete HVAC technician training.
HVAC Technician Salary
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in the United States made $47,610 in annual median pay in May, 2018. The corresponding per-hour salary comes to $22.89. This is as per information available with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Career Outlook and Job Growth for HVAC Technicians
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 a lot higher than the expected average growth for most other occupations. So, the career outlook for HVAC technicians is highly positive.