Heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC) technicians are in demand. Job opportunities in the field continue to grow as the industry demand for HVAC tecnicians increases. To become an HVAC technician, you need to complete a degree, HVAC certificate program or formal apprenticeship. The time for completing certification varies but it can be done in as little as six months. While initial HVAC training may take less than a year, technicians may need to take state-required additional continuing education to maintain industry standards.
Job Opportunities for HVAC Technicians
HVAC technicians install, diagnose and repair heating and air conditioning units. They are also able to install and repair ventilation systems and refrigeration units for home and commercial usage. These job skills open up opportunities for technicians to work as independent contractors or perform services for private companies. Technicians may have work opportunities in sites like homes, offices, government agencies, schools, hospitals and construction work sites. They may have to work in tight spaces like ventilation ducts as part of these HVAC jobs.
HVAC Certification Education Programs
HVAC certification programs are offered primarily by community colleges and online schools while apprenticeships may be offered at industry-specific businesses. Program length varies by school but the typical length is six months to one year. Coursework in these programs may cover HVAC system design and specifications, duct work and piping systems, building codes, energy management and facilities management. These programs work to prepares students for licensing and to start working upon completion of the courses.
HVAC Licensing Guidelines
Once an HVAC certification program is completed, the next step is usually getting a state license if the state requires one for employment. Each state has different licensing requirements for an HVAC license. California may have different requirements than other states as an example. However, licensing typically involves passing an exam and providing proof of credentials. The required credentials may include a program certificate and potentially a criminal background check depending on the industry. In some states, a certain number of working hours under the supervision of a licensed HVAC technician are also required for graduates.
Continuing HVAC Education
HVAC technology is constantly changing and HVAC systems may not be the same from the beginning of a course through to certification and employment by a student. In some states, continuing HVAC education is required to maintain a valid license ensuring technicians stay up-to-date on the latest HVAC technology. These courses can often be taken through the same program that granted the original certification.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
- UC Berkeley Extension: Certificate Program in HVAC
- Ashworth College: Career Diploma Heating and Air Conditioning
- Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation: Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Frequently Asked Questions
- ATI: How Long Does it Take to Become an HVAC Technician?
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.