HVAC Training – How to become an HVAC Technician
Congratulations on your decision to start your career as a HVAC Technician. Whether you are just start getting into it or actively looking for a complementary training, this may well be the beginning of a new exciting stage in your professional life.
Today’s building construction sector is more restricted and demanding than ever, which calls for highly qualified manpower in each and every task. One of these functions is related to indoor and automotive ambience comfort, realm of the HVAC fields, and home for numerous job opportunities all across the country, in a relatively unexplored employment sphere.
How to get HVAC certification
The increasing relevance of HVAC systems to space architecture and ambience control carves opportunities to its professionals, namely HVAC technicians, the most fitted to deal with all types of situations and requirements.
To obtain that level of expertise a complete HVAC Training is imperative even though that will mean little if there is no official recognition, unless the person who doesn’t has it works with a certified contractor or is part of a larger team already followed by certified supervisors, the two unique scenarios to legally install all HVAC gear past individual qualifications.
Following conclusion of the respective course available in several accredited education entities, which can last from six to 24 months according to the selected stage, getting practical experience is the next step, something forecast in a number of good all-round training programs offered across the US.
Finalized the learning phase it will be the time to visit the state website and verify what is necessary to request an HVAC Certification, contact directly that same governmental branch or even national agencies like Partnership for Air-Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Accreditation, National Center for Construction Education and Research or the HVAC Excellence.
Lastly, certification exams come in play, and in spite of the variations that may exist between regional regulations, the approval of the attendee is unavoidable.
It can appear that getting this official recognition to perform such a task is a puzzling and slow process when actually that couldn’t be further from the truth. Indisputably a set of rules ought to be fulfilled, the majority of which decisive to secure that all goes well, but the outcome more than offsets the reported labor.
Hence, although not instant or effortless, getting such certified appreciation is unquestionably worth the trouble and should be seen as a great investment.
Advantages of HVAC certification
The benefits of being an officially recognized professional go beyond the acquisition of a diploma.
Having this proof of expertise undoubtedly proves that a person intimately knows the HVAC field and is a highly specialized professional, justifying superior work rates, considering the vast and deep insight of each HVAC domain, something that can hardly be said about uncertified laborers involved in this business area.
For those seeking specialization on the heating part of the job no explicit certification is obligatory, on the other hand, enter into the fields of air conditioning and refrigeration is utterly prohibited in the absence of US Environmental Protection Agency certification, since those are strategic aspects of building construction.
Nevertheless, it’s extremely advisable to gain HVAC Certification if the ultimate ambition is to be in charge of exciting bigger projects, ground-breaking creations or leave a mark in the industry, as only an experienced HVAC Technician with more than entry-level expertise, whether he is just licensed or also certificated, can lawfully implement the appropriate procedures and practical knowledge in the US, at least in most of the states.
How to acquire HVAC licensing
There are a variety of HVAC official accreditation levels but not all of them are mandatory if a professional wants to pursue a career in the field. However, acquire an HVAC license is not an option, since it’s the basis for legally executing tasks related to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, stipulation also applied to the refrigeration realm. Therefore, no matter the extension of the state regulations, having an HVAC license is an unavoidable step.
By acquiring HVAC licensing the professional authenticates his knowledge on subjects that are essential for him to conduct a high-quality job including but not limited to thorough comprehension of a large number of devices used to accomplish the task at hands such as furnaces, boilers, fluid conveyance and air conditioning equipments, amongst other gear.
This way a person with limited skills will become aware of them and can choose to follow the path of overcome said constraints or just stay as is, thus not receiving activity certification, which means that will be legally prohibited of performing any HVAC related work in the majority of the US territory.
Since legislation, both national and local, changes constantly, seeking information close to the time of the appliance itself is advisable. Although many of the requirements do coincide there may be a few changes depending on the state, so previous research is highly recommended. Usually all the information can easily be found on the regional government website but if that’s not the case a visit to the Partnership for Air-Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Accreditation and HVAC Excellence online pages will go a long way.
From the start to the end of the HVAC licensing process the professional must acquire all the necessary expertise to deal with various situations and scenarios that typically occur during the life of this kind of systems and not just learn how to install them because they will work with new but also old equipments that will involve repairs and maintenance over the curse of the years.
All that said, what are the actual steps to get HVAC licensing? Let’s explain them:
1. Take a good HVAC Technician Training course and learn as much as possible to prepare you to a future and more extensive learning. See what types of offers are available in your residential area but don’t exclude others outside that geographic zone. Above all choose the best you can afford not the nearest alternative;
2. If the education program doesn’t include practice on the field search for a local company and apply for an apprenticeship position. Some of them will need you to have at least basic work experience but several also open entry-level jobs, so look for those where you fit according to your initial education;
3. Fulfill the mandatory learning period (generally two to five years) and make a self-assessment. If you don’t feel prepared at that point ask for an extension of the apprenticeship and improve your skills to the point where you’re entirely confident with your work results. Never undervalue the (vital) importance of this evaluation. Be honest with yourself. Don’t start with the wrong foot or your career will be over before it even starts;
4. Inform yourself about the requirements to turn in an HVAC licensing application and complete the register to attend the licensing exam, procedures that are not equal in every state. After successfully passed the exam you will receive a license that now allows you to follow an independent career as an HVAC licensed technician.
To learn more about each state policy on HVAC licensing visit our page dedicated to the laws and requirements applied in your residential area: HVAC certification by state.
Getting the right HVAC technician training
Taking a course in HVAC technician training is the only way to ensure the best existing training in this realm, one of the most elementary when building a safe habitable house. Choose this path will provide to those who wander through it the procedural and practical tools require to plan and install the necessary equipments to optimize any space environment by converting it into an ambiance controlled location.
When we first look at our houses most of the things responsible for making it a good place to live don’t really come to mind. All the little big details are taken for granted and we just move to the next step, turning it into a home. However, if we take a few seconds to think about what allows us to call it a home the comfort will be one of the words in the back of our thoughts, and although linked to a variety of factors, that state is partially made possible by the HVAC, acronym of the combination heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Given the importance of the HVAC to achieve the greatest interior ambience in a house is of the most value to have that task performed by people who know their craft, which means that owning proper theoretical and technical education is no less than mandatory. Nevertheless, master this duty takes intensive learning and plenty of practice, something to be acquire via specific programs offered by accredited education providers that you can find all over the country.
What to expect of HVAC comprehensive courses
HVAC technician training will provide the trainee with crucial knowledge and technical understanding of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems as well as other fields that play a part on the installation, maintenance and operation of such procedures. This learning will be done in both traditional classes and actual field situations, thus challenging what has been learned so that eventual mistakes can be corrected and doubts clarified in time.
At the end of a HVAC comprehensive course the learner should be able to pursue a career in the area as heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician or even refrigeration installer, since many of the offers out there also include this last option in its curriculum, enlarging the spectrum to HVACR, consequently rendering this education to an upper stage.
Whether one is looking to start from the beginning or expand the skills already possessed, a good HVAC Technician Training will guide the apprentice through the universe of indoor and automotive environmental comfort that distinguishes this domain. This comprehension will be at the student’s disposal in the form of a complete dynamic learning supported by textbook modules and the matching real world assignments created to test said acquire knowledge, in an earlier stage with the help of established HVAC Technicians and more down the road just supervised by these professional contractors.
Comprehensive HVAC courses main structure
Even though each program has its own learning path some subjects are common regardless of the education entity carrying it out. This fundamental knowledge is comprised of extensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning understanding couple with a broad perspective of how to attain the best performance taking into account the space that will receive the system in question.
Both practical and technical proficiencies come from the extended crossed accumulated comprehension linking thermodynamics, mechanical engineering and fluid mechanics, large spectrums that have a vital role in the HVAC field, arguably one of the most decisive pieces to the puzzle that is an environmentally controlled area, thusly contributing to a more inclusive apprenticeship (as it is the case with HVAC technician training) that of a simple one-sided professional, frequent scenario not many years ago.
The value of HVAC certification
HVAC certification is needed to prove heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician’s level of expertise so that he can offer his services on the geographic area/s of his choice.
This official recognition provided by the local, state and federal agencies is absolutely mandatory and without it, perform numerous of the tasks related to the field might be restricted depending on the state you are in, a crucial caution to ensure that regulations are respected and the job is carried out by qualified people who know the trade.
It should be underlined that such certified appreciation is not required for every person working on this domain yet it is entirely binding for those aiming to be accredited HVAC technicians. Given the significant complexity of HVACR systems, a skilled and knowledgeable contractor in this particular specialty will be able to produce the best possible results with maximum security, thus guaranteeing not only the most efficient set up but mainly a stable and safe installation of the equipments.
Although it may differ in some aspects from one state to another the primal standards are well accentuated in each and every regional regulation, which makes them largely similar and only set a part by minor details associated with neighboring legislation. To indentify precisely the variations make sure to use our search of HVAC certification by state.
Due to the increasing demand for HVAC experts, countless institutions in the US already offer full accredited HVAC courses. It is now possible to select from various degrees and majors available in schools, colleges and universities everywhere national-wide.
It is up to the student choosing the right HVAC program and entity in his state, reason why online pages like HVAC Training Tools make the endeavor of smoothing the whole process by gathering vital information and present it to the reader that is aiming towards becoming a professional in the field.
Be aware of the academic programs through the search of HVAC schools by state.
Please select your state below to learn about the schools and your requirements, and know the annual average salary of your state.
What types of HVAC are there?
The efficient performance of an HVAC installation is guaranteed by the way its various elements interact between them, which means nothing can go wrong to allow maximum usage benefits. This is where the fundamental HVAC systems (heating, ventilation air conditioning) come in play, since it is from this tri-factor that everything starts, making its comprehension absolutely indispensable in any case.
Although the upper mentioned systems are the heart of the HVAC world, the industry also distinguishes the combination itself by two sub-divisions (more used in homes and usual in commercial spaces) that have their own separation, as we clarify below. Such differentiations can be easily mixed up so an attentive reading of the following information is recommended to fully understand the subject in question.
- Division by household types
In order to achieve the best performance in a common home, HVAC systems must have their components working properly individually and as a whole, a vital aspect only possible if there is no defects and if the union of combined functions is correctly established. Thus the current distinction by applied equipments in heating and air conditioning split system, hybrid heat split system, duct-free split heating and air conditioning system, and finally, packaged heating and air conditioning system. Enunciation made let’s see the particularities of each one of them:
Heating and air conditioning split system does the hot and cold separation task by managing the interaction of a valve and coil with a furnace and its condensing unit. The air goes through a proper network of ducts controlled by an integrated central panel or individual panels for every building division.
Hybrid heat split system is basically a more advanced integration of elements in a crossbreed evolution that improves the “simple” heating and air conditioning split system efficiency because it has the best of this last one (ducts, thermostats, evaporator coils and furnaces) to which a heat pump is added, thus enhancing the cooling and heating of areas to a more productive level as it uses electricity to better control the entire process with minimum loses.
Duct-free split heating and air conditioning systems are similar to hybrid ones except for the ducts, since as the designation suggests, have none. However this is a complementary system of the hybrid heat split systems – being installed where these cannot be placed – that profits off of the refrigerant, thermostat, heat pump or air-conditioner, and compact fans (a duct substitute) combined work.
A packaged heating and air conditioning system is more adequate option for buildings with a limited area where a split system is not a viable alternative. The core of this choice is a thermostat, pump, fan and coil, which can interact with dehumidifiers as well.
- Division by commercial types
The present possible sub-division organizes the systems according to air flow management and spaces covered while operating, being identify with the expression “commercial types” because these set ups best serve larger spaces, thus being the most suitable choice for ample infrastructures such as big stores, warehouses, office buildings and so on.
Constant volume and variable volume systems diverge in the way they make the air flow, being constant on the first one as opposed to adjustable like the second. A variable system changes temperature increasing or reducing the air flow (heated or cooled) that enters the space while constant volume systems use the ducts to do the same.
Forced air and radiant HVAC systems are a modern incarnation of ancestral systems. The forced air structures take advantage of a fan and ducts that expel and push the air out and into the areas, filtering it through coils. The radiant systems use tubes and pipes filled with cold or hot water normally located under the building’s walls and floors.
Single and multiple zones systems allow for different manners of controlling the temperature: single zone have a central control panel which manages the whole area influenced by the system (a room, various rooms or even multiple floors); multiple zone offer a number of individual panels to set up each space at a desired temperature. This feature reflects itself onto the price, making the multiple systems costly and the single option more affordable at the expense of relinquish full control.
Although many houses still use some of the now considered commercial systems, the “new” hybrids efficiency are giving them the lead in sales thanks to its cost/benefit relation and more stable long term life cycle. However it must be emphasized that the mentioned classifications are not mutually exclusive, just represent two ways of arrange the existing HVAC systems by considering distinct factors.
The basics of HVAC systems
On account of the large complexity of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, HVAC systems require a wide range of specific knowledge on each of these domains in order to do a high-quality service installing them as a whole. Such expertise needs not only a great initial education but also – and perhaps more importantly – a constant learning process over the course of the career, a (more than) positive attitude achievable by “just” following the latest advances and constantly seeking to improve the skills to reach the next level.
In order to fully utilize the numerous benefits of those kinds of systems to indoor and automotive ambience comfort the professional must have previous training and experience in technical areas underlying the main fields, including thermodynamics, mechanical engineering and fluid mechanics. While expert comprehension of these fields is not necessary it is absolutely mandatory to know everything about heating, ventilation and air conditioning, otherwise there is an elevated probability of facing an unsolvable problem due to lack of knowledge.
The first rudimentary heating systems were mainly water based but nowadays more efficient options are replacing what was once popular. One of the most established techniques is the use of forced air systems, which can save up to 150% counting the over-all thrift with water, energy and efficiency gains, crucial qualities when choosing an HVAC system.
According to some studies, forced air systems consume 20% less energy while doubling the performance of traditional water heating systems, providing an even conditioning and better air circulation. In the end, forced air systems improve the best of its predecessor adding the most recent know-how to raise the bar in terms of cost/benefit, values that most definitely have to be considered for a budget conscious decision.
The only inconvenience of forced air systems is the installation cost, since it is considerably higher than conventional heating systems. Although the final bill could vary from a contractor to another the differences will be negligible and these types of set ups will invariably be a few thousand dollars more expensive. However, the total savings over the course of the years will turn this option into the best choice for a lifetime HVAC system.
One of the most vital parts of an HVAC system is the ventilation process, a key feature to any building construction. Develop a good air circulation structure is fundamental to increase the life cycle of a closed space, therefore, it must be conceived with attention to detail and every aspect, from the operation to the way it blends into the surroundings, deserves careful thought, otherwise it will end up being just another cluster of devices.
The main function of a ventilation system consists in filtering the air to remove undesirable agents whether they are produced indoors or come from outdoor. This task is achieved by the actions of appliances that can be mechanical, natural or a mixture of the two, with the actual solution being selected depending on the budget, necessities and the space characteristics.
When properly installed a ventilation system will drastically enhance the air quality thus reducing the likelihood of certain diseases extremely common on people who usually spend hours in confined spaces not correctly ventilated. Many of those health hazards can easily be avoided by a budget-friendly elementary ventilation installation that will pay itself in less than a year.
No perfect HVAC system would be completed without the air conditioning elements, hence, understanding how they work and its advantages is imperative, namely perceive its role in the HVAC system, a deep knowledge that must exist concerning both heating and ventilation part as well.
Regarding the air conditioning a key rule is maintaining the equipments clean to prevent any sort of respiratory problems caused because of impediments generated by a poorly preserved system. Consequently, a professional working with air conditioning must advise the person in charge of the arranged space of the fundamental fact that it will need regular maintenance to keep functioning in the most efficient way possible throughout the years.
An HVAC technician should be prepared to solve issues such as lost of performance, noise or wasted energy, three of the most frequent situations that affect air conditioning installations. Even after being repeatedly used without problems, a simple alteration can trigger an unusual response from the system, for which the professional has to provide an adequate response.
Working with heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems requires the use of two types of tools: handyman ones and very specific utensils. There is no big secret behind them. The real trick is know what to use them for rather than how to use them, since it is fairly intuitive its handling, and even the more advanced HVAC tools will most certainly be taught during the chosen course, hence the value of a good education in the field.
Some of the tools you’ll need in everyday: Refrigeration Gauges, Vacuum Pump, Refrigeration Scale, 25′ Tape Measure, Permanent Marker, 4′ Step Ladder, Battery Powered Drill, Sawzall, Hammer, 50′ Extension Cord, Screwdrivers, Hex Head “Nut Drivers”, Caulking Gun, Level, Electrical Testers, Pliers, Pipe Wrenches, Lefts, Rights, Straights, Crimpers, Tubing Cutter.
Normally the hvac technicians use a bag as it is in the picture, for trasportart all tools for each service, the van also used with other tools to larger systems when facilities.
As it is to be expected, an HVAC technician salary is above the average of non-specialized workers, difference that rewards the extra knowledge and expertise of those professionals. In this particular case, and according to the US Department of Labor and Statistics 2008 report, the average annual income is $25.000 to $75.000, middling $42.240 as of May, although total earnings vary depending on the certification level, being the cited lowest amount the basis from which it goes up.
The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data (released last year) shows that hourly rates of HVAC technicians start at $16.00 and can reach up to $40.00 in highly specialized jobs, while the standard rate is around $20.31/hour. Once again, final income also differs from a state to another and even within the same geographic area due to legislation and taxes since these may represent significant reductions of net earnings.
As an HVAC technician the professional can provide services of heating, ventilation and air conditioning individually or as a whole, possibilities that will make the hourly rate fluctuate, though not substantially. The main aspect for the variation between rates is by far the degree of expertise and experience; therefore, an aspirant contractor should invest in his education and continuously improve his skills.
HVAC salary by state
Looking closely at the numbers by state, Washington takes the lead with an annual average of $53.920, having Yuba City area as the most profitable of the country surpassing the $62.000, leaving
behind each and every other metropolitan region in the US. The information can be found on the 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics, so it is not the present day on spot status, but if meanwhile anything changed there was no more than a residual update, a normal evolution verified across all commercial activities.
The top of highest-paying states is completed by Alaska ($52.680), Massachusetts ($52.490), Minnesota ($51.060) and Illinois ($50.260), placed following Washington D. C. with the best rates for HVAC professionals. However, bear in mind that the actual final income is not stable and will fluctuate according to permanent mutating factors like supply/demand and, of course, economic conditions, the real accountable for our pennies.
Although an HVAC professional can operate in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning domains he will not have to apply all his skills on every job. For that reason he may provide an isolated service charged independently, ideal scenario to understand how much functions differ from one another, not only in price but mostly exigency-wise, two aspects very hard to evaluate when all HVAC fields are mixed at once, a reality that unfortunately has no concrete numbers by state available, at least as of now.
Pursuing that same line of thought we can analyze the annual income from the title or level of expertise point of view. Still according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2008, and on a national balance, commercial service technicians earn close to $110.000 on average, almost three times the calculated common of $42.240, also a big leap when compared to the $95.000 salary a senior engineer can take home at the end of the year. Except for these extremely well paid positions the remaining levels of expertise stay on the $25.000 to $75.000 usual range, in which HVAC engineers appear as the third most monetarily rewarded ones. On the opposite side are HVAC specialists and maintenance technicians with basic professional school courses receiving less than their business counterparts.
A career to invest on
As part of a field in great demanding, an HVAC repair, maintenance and/or installation tech must have extensive education in the subject matter discipline(s). It is absolutely essential the existence of both technical and practical knowledge as well as deep understanding of all things associated with such a crucial piece in modern’s housing performance.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems require a particular set of skills and oriented education (commonly known as HVAC training programs) that should respect a number of aspects such as a comprehensive study of the HVAC systems involved, real interaction between them, and how to operate said elements in order to achieve the desire results, in other words, what needs to be done to reach the best cost/benefit ratio for the client’s necessities within the established budget.
In a struggling job market choosing the right line of work is a tough responsibility and it becomes clearer than ever one must bet in a promising path, a growing field, a valuable domain. This is exactly an accurate description of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems…
I hope that helped, if you want any information, please contact, we will be happy to answer all your questions.