HVAC job demand is on the rise and expected to grow over the next five years as the economy rebounds. HVAC technicians install, maintain and repair heating, cooling and ventilations systems for residential and nonresidential buildings. There are various ways to get the training you need to become an HVAC tech.
A community college or vocational school is probably one of your best sources. A typical program runs from two semesters to two years. You can try working for someone who will give you a formal apprenticeship. This typically takes three years to complete and consists of on the job training and classroom instruction. You can also attempt to find work as an unskilled entry level helper and learn the ropes. This way you bypass the formal training and learn on the job. Online classes are also available, however you won’t have hands on experience. Whatever course you choose, remember it is good to also have plumbing and electrical experience when working with HVAC equipment.
The standard designation for HVAC techs is to complete the Air Conditioning Excellence or North America Technical Excellence Program. These are the two big well known certification programs in the US.
HVAC techs can specialize in one type of HVAC equipment (residential a/c), or in one facet of the industry such as maintenance. Depending on what you plan specialize in, it is important to find out from your state what the requirements are. Also, the EPA has specific certification requirements for working with refrigerants. There are Type I, Type II and Type III levels depending on what you will be working with. For example Type I is for small appliances such as refrigerators. They also have a Universal certification.
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