Skilled Trades Careers

How to Become a HVAC Technician: Step-by-Step

DateSeptember 6, 2023
how to become a hvac technician

Are you interested in a career that offers high job security and opportunities for ongoing education? Becoming a HVAC technician might be the perfect path for you. With a high school diploma and the willingness to learn, you can enter this rewarding field.

This article explores the steps to becoming a HVAC technician, which include obtaining a high school diploma, completing an apprenticeship, and pursuing relevant certifications and ongoing education.

Join SkillHero today to find apprenticeship opportunities, connect with industry professionals, and access resources to kickstart your journey to becoming a HVAC technician.

What is a HVAC technician and what do they do?

The acronym stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Technicians are skilled professionals who specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They work in residential, commercial, and industrial settings to ensure that these systems are functioning properly and providing optimal comfort.

HVAC technicians are responsible for tasks such as inspecting air quality infrastructure, identifying issues or malfunctions, repairing or replacing defective parts, conducting regular maintenance, and ensuring that the systems meet safety and efficiency standards.

These technicians work with a variety of equipment including air conditioners, furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, and refrigeration systems. They also have knowledge of electrical systems, air distribution, and air quality control. Becoming an HVAC technician usually requires a high school diploma or equivalent.

Many aspiring technicians choose to attend trade or technical schools to gain the necessary technical skills and knowledge. Some may also opt for apprenticeship programs or associate degree programs in the field.

Sign up for a free SkillHero account today to kickstart your career in this in-demand field.

How much does a HVAC tech make?

The average salary for HVAC technicians can vary based on factors such as location, experience, and industry. According to the latest data, the average annual wage for apprentice HVAC technicians is $34,320 on the low end, $48,630 for journeymen, and $102,210 for masters.

HVAC salaries

It's important to note that HVAC technicians may be paid either hourly or on an annual basis. They may also receive overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week, as well as compensation for working in hazardous conditions or on weekends or holidays.

Keep in mind that these figures are just averages and can vary based on factors specific to each job opportunity. To explore current job openings and get connected with relevant training programs, sign up for a free SkillHero account today.

How difficult is HVAC work?

Like most skilled trades, the work can be both challenging and rewarding. It requires a combination of technical skills, knowledge, and physical stamina. To become a successful HVAC technician, you need to acquire expertise in various areas.

One essential aspect is mastering HVAC safety procedures. This involves understanding safety regulations, handling refrigerants safely, and being aware of potential hazards. Additionally, knowledge of piping and fitting techniques is crucial for proper installation and maintenance of air quality systems.

What skills are required?

Understanding basic electricity is another important skill for HVAC technicians. You will need to be able to read and interpret electrical schematics, troubleshoot electrical issues, and safely work with electrical components.

Refrigeration systems play a significant role in HVAC work, so having knowledge of how they work and being able to perform repairs and maintenance is essential. Heating systems, including both boilers and heat pumps, also require expertise in installation, troubleshooting, and repair.

Understanding indoor air fundamentals is crucial for ensuring proper air distribution and quality. This includes knowledge of filtration, ventilation, humidity control, and ductwork.

While HVAC work can be challenging, it offers great job security, competitive salaries, and numerous opportunities for growth and specialization. So, if you are willing to put in the effort to learn and develop these skills, a career as an HVAC technician can be a highly rewarding choice.

SkillHero's app includes a vetted database of the best skills to list on your resume, sign up for a free account to get free access to it and our other resources.

How to become a HVAC Technician

If you want a career that combines technical education and practical experience, this may be a good option for you. With the demand for HVAC technicians on the rise, job security and competitive salaries are leading to full time and part time opportunities.

Get your high school diploma or equivalent credential

It's important to start by obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent credential. This is a foundational requirement for most vocational training programs and will open doors to employment opportunities in the HVAC field.

If you don't' have a high school diploma, you can explore options such as completing a General Education Development (GED). A GED is a recognized equivalent to a high school diploma and can fulfill the educational requirement needed to pursue most careers.

Another option is to enroll in vocational school or trade schools that offer HVAC training programs. These schools often have flexible admission requirements and provide focused technical education in the field of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

Create a skilled trade resume

It's important to have an easy-to-update resume that reflects your latest job experience and any certification exams you've completed. You can also include any technician certifications you have and whether you're best at working on residential or commercial property.

The SkillHero app includes a resume builder which makes it easy to craft your resume and share it with potential employers. You can also easily find local certificate programs to complete and technician jobs to apply for.

Find an apprenticeship

Finding an apprenticeship is a great way to kickstart your career as an HVAC technician. Apprenticeships provide valuable on-the-job training and experience, giving you a solid foundation in the field.

To find an apprenticeship, consider reaching out to trade unions and associations in the industry. They often have established programs that connect aspiring technicians with experienced professionals. Joining these organizations and networking with industry experts can increase your chances of finding an apprenticeship opportunity.

Completing an apprenticeship offers several benefits. First, you gain valuable hands-on training from experienced HVAC technicians who can mentor and guide you. This practical experience is crucial for mastering the technical skills required in the trade.

Sign up for a free SkillHero account to explore apprenticeship opportunities and take the first step towards becoming a skilled HVAC professional.

Acquire a relevant degree

While a high school diploma is the minimum requirement for becoming an HVAC technician, acquiring a relevant degree can greatly enhance your career opportunities and provide a deeper understanding of the field. This will require a higher level of study and passing one or more exams.

Obtaining a relevant degree equips you with the technical skills and knowledge needed to excel as a contractor or employee. It will make any job application look more ideal and meet the standards required by many large corporations.

When choosing a degree program, it is essential to select one that is accredited by reputable organizations like North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Accreditation ensures that the program meets industry standards and provides quality education.

Passing local licensing exams and getting job-specific hands-on experience are more necessary than degrees, however technician salaries are often higher for workers with higher education.

Sign up for a free SkillHero account and explore the various accredited degree programs available to jumpstart your career in HVAC technology or mechanical engineering.

Continue your ongoing education

Continuing your education as an HVAC technician is crucial for staying updated with the latest technologies and industry trends. In a field that is constantly evolving, ongoing education ensures you have the skills and knowledge to provide top-notch services for your employer or clients.

There are several industry-recognized certifications and training programs available that can help you expand your expertise. Certifications like NATE, HVAC Excellence, and EPA 608 Certification demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and proficiency in the field. Participating in manufacturer-specific training programs can also give you an edge for specific jobs.

Who is HVAC tech work best for?

HVAC technician work is best suited for individuals who enjoy working with their hands and have a strong interest in technical skills. This career is ideal for those who have an aptitude for problem-solving and enjoy working in a variety of settings.

Whether it's residential or commercial, HVAC technicians play a vital role in ensuring the comfort and safety of occupants by installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Job security and steady employment opportunities make this field attractive, with a high demand for skilled technicians in both urban and rural areas.

If you're someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment and values the satisfaction of seeing tangible results, pursuing a career as an HVAC technician could be the right choice for you.

Is HVAC a good career choice

The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning industry provides continuous opportunities for skill development and problem-solving. As technology advances and energy efficiency becomes more important, HVAC technicians need to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices. This ensures that you are constantly learning and evolving in your field.

In addition to job security, the average salaries for HVAC technicians are competitive, and there is room for growth and advancement. Whether you choose to work for a company or start your own HVAC business, the potential for success in this field is significant.

This career path definitely requires time commitment and competency in multiple aspects of labor, but it also offers a variety of jobs and the option to become a business owner.

Take the first step towards a rewarding career in HVAC by signing up for a free SkillHero account. Our app connects aspiring skilled trade workers with the best opportunities and resources in America.