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HVAC Education and Training Requirements

HVAC systems are specialized and complex systems of ventilation, cooling and heating installed in a building. Different commercial structures and even many residential ones today have HVAC systems installed. Because of their sensitive nature, these systems require specially trained and qualified individuals to handle them. This guide will give you valuable information on how to become an HVAC engineer and HVAC training requirements.

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What Does HVAC Stand For?

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. They are specialized systems designed to regulate the temperature of a building. Most commercial buildings have different types of HVAC systems installed which need to be handled by specialist technicians who are fully trained to take care of these complicated units.

HVAC Training Prerequisites

In order to obtain any kind of HVAC training, you will need to be at least 18 and possess a high school diploma (HSD) or an equivalent GED Certificate. You can then undertake different types of HVAC courses in order to begin your career in the field.

Steps to Obtain an HVAC Training

  1. Get a high school diploma or equivalent GED certificate

This is the minimum eligibility criteria for starting a career as an HVAC technician or engineer. You will need your high school diploma in order to join any accredited HVAC training program.

  1. Enroll into and complete an accredited HVAC training program

There are different HVAC study and training programs including certificates, bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, etc. They all have varying durations of completion normally ranging from 6 months up to 2 years. These programs offer courses in the following areas.

  • HVAC System Design
  • Energy Management
  • Industry Code Standards
  • Piping and Duct Systems
  • Refrigeration
  • Load Calculations
  • Air Quality Management

A couple of accrediting bodies for HVAC programs include PAHRA (Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation) and HVAC Excellence.

  1. Complete an HVAC apprenticeship (Optional)

An apprenticeship is not a mandatory requirement but it can brighten up your career prospects considerably. Completing an HVAC apprenticeship will take you around 3 to 5 years. Apprenticeships are normally paid positions where you will need to complete 2,000 hours of hands-on training annually along with 144 hours of technical education/training every year.

How to Get an HVAC License?

You will need to apply for a license in the state where you plan to work. Different states may have somewhat varying requirements for HVAC licensing/certification. After that, you will need to take the qualifying exam. This will only be the case in those states which do not allow HVAC technicians to work without a license. Many states require you to pass the North American Technician Excellence Exam (NATE) in order to be eligible for a license.

How Long Does it Take to Complete HVAC Training?

Depending upon the type of program you enroll yourself in, it can take you anywhere between 6 months to 2 years to complete HVAC training. If you decide to go for an apprenticeship afterwards, it will take you an additional 3 to 5 years to complete.

How Much Does an HVAC Professional Make?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration mechanics and installers had an annual median pay of $47,610 in May, 2018. This translates to an hourly wage of $22.89.

Job Growth and Career Outlook for HVAC Professionals

The future is quite encouraging for HVAC professionals. As per projections by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in the United States will increase by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is a lot faster than the average employment increase in other fields.

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