Become an HVAC Technician
These systems distribute the cold or warm air through building HVAC configurations that consist of sheet metal ducts.
They are operated, however, by a network of thermostats, switches, fans, furnaces and refrigeration or air conditioning units.
HVAC technicians may spend as much time repairing or replacing old systems as they do installing new ones.
Work in an existing structure on an old system can be cramped, uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous if the old ducts are insulated with asbestos.
Nevertheless, trained HVAC technicians are in a business that in theory is not seasonal, since HVAC is designed to maintain constant temperatures year 'round.
Many young people find this work appealing because of its mixture of electronics and construction work.
No two jobs are the same, and usually an HVAC installation is a team effort.
If this is an occupation that interests you, here are your options that lead to a career as an HVAC technician.
- Begin by checking state requirements.
Some states require certification of HVAC installation and repair professionals.
Requirements for licensure vary greatly, but all States or localities that require a license have a test that must be passed, some of which require extensive knowledge of local electrical code requirements.
IMPORTANT: In many cases, state licensure also requires participation in an apprenticeship program.
If not, there are a couple of training options.
- You can enroll in a vocational school.
There are many vocational schools that provide the academic work required for HVAC training, both in classrooms and online.
Most programs last from six months to two years, resulting in a diploma or an associate's degree.
Studies include the theory of temperature control, equipment design and construction, and electronics; as well as the basics for installation and repair.
You'll probably have to take an "entry level" certification exam at the completion of the program.
- You can sign on to an apprenticeship program.
Many HVAC workers learn the trade through an apprenticeship program, usually sponsored by a combination of a contractor's association and a local of the sheet metal worker's union.
Apprenticeship programs take three to five years and include classroom instruction as well as on-the-job training.
Upon completion, the former apprentice is considered a skilled HVAC technician.
- You must also be licensed to work with refrigerants.
In order to purchase or work with refrigerants technicians must pass a written examination specific to the type of work in which they specialize.
There are three types: small appliance refrigerants, low pressure refrigerants and high pressure refrigerants.
The exam is administered by a local body, such as a union office, approved by the EPA.