HVAC certification will require an enrollment into a HVAC training program which will be one to two years in length and will include a one to two year apprenticeship and an end of course exam. In order to enroll in an accredited HVAC program you will need to be at least 18 years of age and have your high school diploma or GED. Here we will find out how you can earn your certification in this field, what the HVAC technician salary will look like and how you can start your own business.
The HVAC Education Requirements
An HVAC certification program will teach students how to read blueprints, temperature control, equipment design, how to maintain and repair heating and cooling systems and how to install them. The following is some of the core courses you can expect in an accredited program: fundamentals of HVAC technology, pressure, heat energy, personal protective equipment, hydronics, oil heat, gas heat, personal safety, electrical lockout, electrical tag-out, what is energy, intro to the industry, parallel circuits, magnetism, transformers, power wiring, residential heat, electric motor theory, diagnosing motors, three phase motors, system properties and air flow measurement.
The Required Apprenticeship and Work Environment
Most states will require the HVAC student to have worked one to two years as an apprentice under the supervision of a certified HVAC technician or contractor. Some apprenticeship programs can last four to five years and will teach the apprentice how to incorporate and blend practical learning practices with theoretical practices. An apprenticeship program will commonly be provided by a professional union.
After a student has graduated from an HVAC program they will need to sit for their licensing exam which will contain questions about system installation, repair and maintenance and electrical codes. For those HVAC techs that want to work with refrigerants they will need to take an additional exam for certification.
As a professional technician in this field you will work for the city, or you can work for a large or small heating and cooling company. In the field you will work on repairing and installing systems in residential homes, offices, factories or hospitals.
The median salary for the HVAC technician in 2011 was 42,000$, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the top ten percent of technicians making 65,000$. The national average salary for this field in 2010 was 25,000$. Working as an apprentice you will earn fifty percent of the salary that the licensed HVAC technician will make. The salary for this field will be based on the level of education, union affiliation, the company they are employed with and which state they live in. Those technicians that have worked in the field for more than three years may also decide to open up their own HVAC business.