No matter the state of the economy, there will always be a need for air conditioning and refrigeration techs in Texas. If you have a mind for mechanics and like working in the field, you can advance from registered ACR tech to certified ACR tech or licensed ACR contractor. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jobs for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers are expected to grow 34 percent between 2010 to 2020.
Before registering as an ACR tech, you must earn a high school diploma or equivalent certification. The minimum age is 18. In addition to core courses such as mathematics, electronics and physics, most Texas high schools offer classes in technical and industrial arts, including AC and refrigeration. While you won't need to take an exam in order to start work as a ACR tech in Texas, you should have a foundation that begins in high school.
AC Tech Registration
In order to legally assist a licenced air conditioning and refrigeration contractor in maintenance or repair in Texas, you must be registered with the state. You do not need to be take a certification test in order to register; just pay the $20 fee and register with the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration online or with a paper application found on their website. In addition to the standard information such as name, address and social security number, you will also be asked to certify that you have read and will comply with Texas Occupations Codes relating to air conditioning and refrigeration.
Next Step: Certification
To become a certified ACR tech in Texas, you must pass a qualifying exam. While a degree is not required for certification, there are many two-year associate degree programs that will help you get the skills and knowledge needed to pass. These programs offer courses such as air conditioning control principles, refrigeration principles, basic electricity, gas and electric heating, installation and technical algebra. While there is no official study guide provided by the state of Texas, you can find online courses, practice tests and review guides.
After 48 months of practical experience as an apprentice, you are ready to become a licensed ACR contractor. Education can be used to fulfill part of this requirement. For each year of education in studies related to air conditioning and refrigeration, you can qualify for six months of experience. For example, a four-year degree in a related field will fulfill 24 of the required months. Upon completion of your 48 hours, fill out the License Application and the Employment Verification Form found on the Texas Department of Licencing and Registration website. If approved, you will be ready to take the licensing exams in the speciality areas of your choice.
2016 Salary Information for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned a median annual salary of $45,910 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,440, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $58,960, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 332,900 people were employed in the U.S. as heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers.