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What Are the Training Requirements for an HVAC Technician Career?

Like technicians in many other fields, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians need to master complex processes and skills in order to effectively perform their jobs. This article explores a few avenues for starting a career as an HVAC technician.

Education

The minimum requirement for beginning a career as a HVAC technician is a high school diploma or GED. A high school curriculum should hone the math and reading skills needed to perform the job. However, very few employers hire technicians with only a high school diploma or GED.

Most employers hire entry-level technicians who have obtained a certificate from an accredited career training program in HVAC technology. Topics such as safety, system design and installation, electrics, and plumbing are covered. Once an HVAC certificate is earned, a mentorship alongside an experienced technician may be required to prove one's aptitude before work can be performed without supervision.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (May 2018) $47,610
On-the-job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Job Growth (2016-2026) 15% (Much faster than average)
Similar Occupations Plumbers, electricians and boilermakers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are sponsored by local chapters of trade organizations such as the Air-Conditioning Contractors of America or the National Association of Home Builders. These groups have hundreds of members willing to pass on their experience and train the next generation of HVAC technicians. Most apprenticeship programs are generally three to five years long and expose apprentices to real-life situations. These opportunities often allow students to learn both in the classroom and on the job, all while collecting a paycheck. Most employers hire an apprenticeship graduate as a fully skilled technician, waiving any supervision or mentorship requirement that may apply to technicians who haven't served as apprentices.

Ongoing Professional Training

HVAC professionals may obtain additional certifications to advance their careers or hone their skills. More information about such training can be found by contacting the Air-Conditioning Refrigeration Institute (ARI) or North American Technician Excellence (NATE).