If one wants to choose a career path as an HVAC technician, it is essential to be aware of the best HVAC training programs around you. Completing HVAC training, HVAC programs, and HVAC schools can help you gain entry-level positions and even beyond.
HVAC Technician Explained
HVAC is an acronym for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Individuals who tend to the installation, repairing and maintenance needs are called HVAC technicians.
The median earnings of HVAC installers in 2019 was $48,730. This is higher than the total median salary for all other occupations, which was around $39,810. In the U.S., the Bureau of Labor and Statistics found about 70,000 jobs in the HVAC and Refrigeration industry.
An HVAC technician is an increasingly popular career. It is a lucrative industry to tap into as well. It is mainly because of the following reasons:
-Environmental concerns that require HVAC systems that provide “greener” solutions
-Fusion of HVAC systems with modern technology
-Employment opportunities due to growing number of retirees.
-Widespread construction activities both in small cities and metropolitan areas
-Demand in heating and cooling systems from households to multi-factories, the lack of workforce in the industry
Job opportunities in the HVAC industry will grow up to 115,000 in the coming years. If one is looking to choose a career, pursuing an HVAC technician can be rewarding in the future. As long as you are interested in fixing machines, or if a “screwdriver” is your standard go-to tool, you might stand a chance to excel as an HVAC technician.
Getting Started With HVAC Technician Education And Training Requirements
Do you feel like you are ready to be an HVAC technician? To pursue a career as an HVAC technician, preparation is needed. There are many HVAC schools, programs, and trainings offered across varoius states all throughout the U.S.
One interesting fact about these HVAC schools and training programs is that an aspiring technician can specialize in a field according to their region. For example, in Florida, some HVAC schools offer detailed Air Conditioning courses because of the climate in a particular region.
HVAC Training and Programs
When one undergoes HVAC training, students will learn how to install effectively, repair, and maintain heating, ventilation, and cooling systems. Students will also gain deep insights into HVAC systems’ design, troubleshooting, and physical requirements involved in the job.
One can attain HVAC Training through these three programs:
The duration to complete one’s HVAC training in a technical school is two years. A technical school follows the traditional schedule, i.e., 250 to 300 credit hours.
In a technical school, the HVAC programs focus on building skills. It also prepares one for the EPA 608 Exam. Once you qualify for your course, you will earn a certificate.
The EPA 608 Exam is mandatory. Suppose you want to specialize in refrigeration systems. In that case, qualifying for this exam will be your ticket to be a successful HVAC/R technician.
The EPA 608 exam is a 30 minutes test. There are four types of EPA Certification:
-Type I: Repair of small appliances such as air conditioners, domestic refrigerators, and vending machines
-Type II: Repair of high-pressure appliances such as residential air conditioners, refrigeration units, and heat pumps
-Type III: Repair of low-pressure appliances such as chillers
-EPA Universal Certification: All of the above certifications (Type I, Type II, and Type III)
Some of the subjects you will study in a HVAC technical school are:
-Air conditioning(cooling and heating)
In a Community College, you will spend 6-2 years. Once you complete this, you can get an Associate degree or certificate, which will further help you pursue a bachelor’s degree. The minimum requirement to get into a community college for HVAC training is either a high school diploma or GED.
Community colleges will offer different programs covering heating systems, studying the HVAC system design, heat load calculation, air duct fabrication, etc.
HVAC Apprenticeship Program
An apprenticeship program provides a large part of hands-on training to aspiring HVAC technicians. It takes three to five years to complete one’s apprenticeship program and be a Journeyman.
The minimum requirement to get into a community college for HVAC training is either a high school diploma or GED. He/ she must be 18 years old. One is required to perform and pass the physical tasks and entrance exam.
The 8000-10000 hours of training will give a robust knowledge about the HVAC trade. You will learn how to practice safety on-site, install types of HVAC systems, ductwork and learn about one’s tools.
Apprenticeships are advantageous because you can simultaneously undergo training and earn stipends.
Online and Hybrid HVAC Programs
Instead of an offline HVAC trade program, you can also opt for a full-time online program that provides an internship. It gives an offline-like feel and provides the student with a more in-depth study.
A hybrid program (a blend of online and offline courses) provides practical training from the institution’s lab itself. One will have to attend classes at least once or twice a week, depending on the instructor and the type of course.
Before signing up for any technical school program, one needs to make sure that it is credible and accredited by major accreditation agencies. They are:
-Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA)
-Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE)
-International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)
If you are pursuing HVAC programs at the institutional level, programs accredited by prestigious agencies like the DOE (U.S. Department of Education) or the CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation) will add more value once you complete your HVAC program.
Some other accreditation agencies are:
-Council on Occupational Education (COE)
-Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
-Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET)
HVAC Courses and Certifications Offered In States Across The U.S.
Community colleges, technical schools, and various universities are now providing training and formal education for HVAC. These multiple programs offer different certification, diploma, and associate degrees in numerous subjects. Below is a list of some thought-provoking topics you will get to study:
-Air Conditioning and Heating Service Management
-Ventilation and Refrigeration Maintenance
-Temperature and Pressure Relationships
-Fundamentals in Troubleshooting Skills
-Mechanical Systems Maintenance
-Systems Design and Installation
-Sustainable Energy Practices
-Air Conditioning Technology
-General Basics in Electricity
-Solar Thermal Applications