If you’ve heard that HVAC is a growing field, you may be wondering how to break into the profession. Though some formal education is required, the training is relatively short and hands-on. This is typically seen as a benefit since most aspiring HVAC professionals prefer being active to sitting idly behind a desk. Below, we will explain how to become an HVAC technician — from how to get into a training program to what you’ll need to accomplish post-graduation.
1. Earn a High School Diploma or GED
HVAC programs typically require you to have a high school diploma or GED. This will provide you with the foundation necessary to comprehend the technical knowledge presented in HVAC courses. Furthermore, the communication expertise you gain in writing and speech classes will improve the way you carry yourself and interact with clients and colleagues on the job. It’s important to learn these types of skills in high school because HVAC training programs are designed to focus on vocational material.
2. Enroll in an Accredited HVAC Program
Formal HVAC programs can last anywhere from six months to two years. Yet no matter which type of program you choose, you will learn both the theoretical basis and the practical applications of the topics like:
• HVAC systems design
• Industry code standards
• Energy management
• Load calculations
• Ductwork and piping systems
• Air quality and conditioning
3. Complete an Apprenticeship
Though they are optional, some students choose to build their skill set through an apprenticeship after graduation. Like internships, apprenticeships have several benefits. First and foremost, they give you an opportunity to integrate the skills you learned in school into the real world. In addition, an apprenticeship can help build your resume and enable you to land better positions down the line. However, unlike internships, apprenticeships are generally paid positions and can last up to five years.
4. Gain Work Experience in the Field
Even if you complete an apprenticeship, gaining an additional year or two of work experience at the empirical level is recommended before certification. This experience will teach you how to work independently and handle a wider variety of responsibilities. Most HVAC technicians also find that this time greatly increases their confidence and professionalism.
5. Obtain Professional Certification
While entry-level HVAC roles may be obtained without certification, specialized positions can have greater requirements. For example, HVAC technicians who work with regulated refrigerants are mandated to have basic EPA certifications. In addition, even if a position does not require certification, being certified can increase your pay and enhance your growth opportunities.
Become an HVAC Technician at ETI
With a full-time course load, ETI’s HVAC/R Program can be completed in as little as 7 months, making it one of the shortest programs around. Graduates of ETI’s HVAC/R Program will test for both EPA Section 608 Universal Certification and R-410A certification. Additional certifications are available on an optional basis. For further information about ETI’s HVAC/R Program, call (888) 830-7678.