Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is a widely used commodity, so much so that knowledgeable technicians are in demand throughout the country, and the world. The HVAC industry is immense, containing a variety of highly specialized areas within the trade. The training and education necessary for these positions, like commercial heating/ cooling installation, product design, system engineering, and controls, vary greatly from position to position.
Residential techs are responsible for the installation and repair of heating, cooling, and air quality control systems in homes. They are also known to service refrigeration systems, and sometimes they sell maintenance contracts to potential customers. Technicians will evaluate specifications and explain available products to clients prior to installation. Regularly scheduled checkups on the equipment may be conducted by these technicians after an install has been completed. Preventative maintenance, system troubleshooting, settings adjustments, and performance tests are conducted during these visits.
Installing residential and commercial HVAC systems, as well as performing maintenance and repair, requires a variety of skills. Future installers and technicians can acquire these skills through HVAC schools with certificate or degree programs tailored to HVAC or HVAC-related fields, like plumbing or electronics. Depending on the program and school, a full curriculum may take as little as under a year to complete. To encourage workers to pursue a proper education, some apprenticeships will substitute a portion of the time served for relevant certification. Even when HVAC students who are new to the field plan to continue training through apprenticeship programs, vocational training programs still give them a good foundation to keep building their skills and knowledge.
HVAC career training programs involve traditional classroom education as well as on-the-job-training. Students are instructed on electrical and electronic components, the physics of airflow, reading blueprints, pipefitting, working with sheet metal, refrigerant treatment, and plumbing. Graduates of these programs are able to perform the duties of entry-level HVAC technicians and assist engineers in retrofitting and designing new or existing HVAC systems.
Many states require that HVAC techs earn a particular type of license before practicing. Three certification types exist: Type 1 qualifies techs to work with small appliances; Type 2 to handle highly pressurized refrigerants; and Type 3 emphasizes knowledge in low-pressure refrigerants. Successfully passing a cumulative exam is the final step toward attaining each respective certification.
Learning a technical skill requires much practice, so HVAC courses may be challenging and time-consuming, but the work can also be highly gratifying for those who like to solve problems and work with their hands. Before starting a program, potential students should carefully examine their personal and career goals to help them find the perfect HVAC educational program for them.