If you want to become an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technician, you will most likely need to attain a degree specializing in HVAC. You can gain hands on training skills as an HVAC technician by participating in an apprenticeship. As many applicants will tell you, HVAC apprenticeships are very competitive. Hundreds of applicants compete for only a few positions. Many individuals who are interested in the field, but who are not pursuing a formal education, are missing opportunities at being promoted from assistant to technician.
HVAC educational programs combine theoretical learning with hands on practice. Technological advancements have made HVAC a field that changes so rapidly that hands on learning alone no longer cuts it. Some states even require formal education in HVAC for a technician to become licensed. Many HVAC schools provide a curriculum that is in accordance with state licensing requirements.
HVAC is a growing industry that requires highly trained technicians. HVAC technicians deal with heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration at both residential and commercial properties. Some technicians specialize in service while others specialize in installation. Service technicians provide diagnostic and repair services. Different from most installers, service HVAC technicians work with a variety of systems. Many installers specialize in specific manufacturers and/or HVAC system types. Both service technicians and installers deal with heavy equipment and tools. However, because installers have to install and replace entire systems, their physical workload can be heavier.
To become an HVAC technician, an individual can get hands on training through an apprenticeship or attend a trade school or a community college. An individual can get an associate or a bachelor degree in the field of HVAC. The advantages of formal education in HVAC are many. Students not only gain hands on skills but also advance their theoretical knowledge of complex systems that change constantly due to advancements in technology. HVAC schools help students meet state licensing requirements and gain the necessary knowledge to pass any state exams.
Residential Versus Commercial HVAC
Residential HVAC technicians deal directly with customers. Commercial technicians are more independent and deal less with customers. Many residential technicians work for commission. Usually, commercial technicians have a set salary. Residential technicians may work longer and more irregular hours than commercial technicians. Because residential HVAC issues are often smaller than commercial HVAC issues, residential technicians may be required to visit more sites in a day and thus may spend more time driving than commercial technicians.
By attending an HVAC school, a student will increase their opportunities of becoming an HVAC technician with a competitive salary. In addition, HVAC programs can direct students into the specialty that is right for them.