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Become A Hvac Technician

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Working As A Hvac Technician

  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Stressful

  • $58,250

    Average Salary

What Does A Hvac Technician Do

A HVAC Technician installs and maintains heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They respond to emergency situations in order to resolve issues on an immediate basis.

How To Become A Hvac Technician

Because HVACR systems have become increasingly complex, employers generally prefer applicants with postsecondary education or those who have completed an apprenticeship. Some states and localities require technicians to be licensed. Workers may need to pass a background check prior to being hired.

Education

A growing number of HVACR technicians receive postsecondary instruction from technical and trade schools or community colleges that offer programs in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. These programs generally last from 6 months to 2 years and lead to a certificate or an associate’s degree. To keep program costs lower, many schools are combining online lectures with in-class lab work.

High school students interested in becoming an HVACR technician should take courses in vocational education, math, and physics. Knowledge of plumbing or electrical work and a basic understanding of electronics is also helpful.

Training

Some HVACR technicians learn their trade exclusively on the job, although this practice is becoming much less common. Those who do usually begin by assisting experienced technicians with basic tasks, such as insulating refrigerant lines or cleaning furnaces. In time, they move on to more difficult tasks, including cutting and soldering pipes or checking electrical circuits.

Some technicians receive their training through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs usually last 3 to 5 years. Each year, apprentices must have at least 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 144 hours of related technical education. Over the course of the apprenticeship, technicians learn safety practices, blueprint reading, and how to use tools. They also learn about the numerous systems that heat and cool buildings. To enter an apprenticeship program, a trainee must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass a basic math test
  • Pass a substance abuse screening
  • Have a valid driver’s license

Apprenticeship programs frequently are run by joint committees representing local chapters of various organizations, including the following:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America, Inc.
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America
  • Home Builders Institute
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
  • SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers
  • United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, and Service Techs
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all technicians who buy, handle, or work with refrigerants to be certified in proper refrigerant handling. To become certified, technicians must pass a written exam specific to one of three specializations: Type I—small appliances; Type II—high-pressure refrigerants; and Type III—low-pressure refrigerants. Many trade schools, unions, and employer associations offer training programs designed to prepare students for the EPA exam.

Whether having learned the occupation through postsecondary education or through other means, HVACR technicians may take several different tests that measure their abilities. These tests require different levels of experience. Technicians with relevant coursework and less than 2 years of experience may take the entry-level certification exams. These exams test basic competency in residential heating and cooling, light commercial heating and cooling, and commercial refrigeration. Technicians can take the exams at technical and trade schools.

HVACR technicians who have at least 1 year of installation experience and 2 years of maintenance and repair experience can take a number of specialized exams. These exams certify their competency in working with specific types of equipment, such as oil-burning furnaces or compressed-refrigerant cooling systems. Many organizations offer certifying exams. For example, North American Technician Excellence offers the Industry Competency Exam; HVAC Excellence offers a Secondary Employment Ready Exam, a Secondary Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology exam, and a Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology Plus exam; the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute offers a basic test and an advanced test in conjunction with the Home Builders Institute; the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association offers the entry-level Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator and Certified Industrial Refrigeration Operator certifications; and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) offers EPA certification and specialized-knowledge certificates.

Certifications can be helpful because they show that the technician has specific competencies. Some employers actively seek out industry-certified HVACR technicians.

Some states and localities require HVACR technicians to be licensed. Although specific licensing requirements vary, all candidates must pass an exam.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. HVACR technicians often work in customers’ homes or business offices, so it is important that they be friendly, polite, and punctual. Repair technicians sometimes must deal with unhappy customers whose heating or air conditioning is not working.

Detail oriented. HVACR technicians must carefully maintain records of all work performed. The records must include the nature of the work performed and the time it took, as well as list specific parts and equipment that were used.

Math skills. HVACR technicians need to calculate the correct load requirements to ensure that the HVACR equipment properly heats or cools the space required.

Mechanical skills. HVACR technicians install and work on complicated climate-control systems, so they must understand the HVAC components and be able to properly assemble, disassemble, and, if needed, program them.

Physical stamina. HVACR technicians may spend many hours walking and standing. The constant physical activity can be tiring.

Physical strength. HVACR technicians may have to lift and support heavy equipment and components, often without help.

Time-management skills. HVACR technicians frequently have a set number of daily maintenance calls. They should be able to keep a schedule and complete all necessary repairs or tasks.

Troubleshooting skills. HVACR technicians must be able to identify problems on malfunctioning heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems and then determine the best way to repair them.

Because HVACR workers often work in and around people’s homes, they may need to pass a background check before being hired.

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Hvac Technician jobs

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Hvac Technician Career Paths

Hvac Technician
Engineer Chief Engineer
Assistant Director Of Engineering
8 Yearsyrs
Building Engineer Engineer
Chief Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Sheet Metal Mechanic Foreman
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Facilities Manager
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Chief Engineer Facilities Manager Director Of Facilities
Director, Facilities & Operations
7 Yearsyrs
Chief Engineer Operations Manager Assistant Director
Environmental Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician Field Engineer Estimator
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Supervisor Maintenance Manager
Facilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Journeyman Maintenance Technician Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Sheet Metal Mechanic Material Handler Installation Technician
Installation Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Hvac Technician
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Shop Foreman Maintenance Technician
Lead Mechanic
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Lead Person
6 Yearsyrs
Field Service Technician General Manager Maintenance Technician
Maintenance Technician Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Engineer Maintenance Supervisor Mechanical Technician
Mechanics Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Building Engineer Chief Engineer Project Manager
Owner/Operator
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Engineering Manager Facilities Manager
Regional Facilities Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Self-Employed Maintenance Technician Facilities Technician
Senior Facility Technician
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Technical Supervisor Maintenance Technician
Senior Maintenance Technician
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Engineer Field Engineer Assistant Superintendent
Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
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Hvac Technician Demographics

Gender

  • Male

    94.9%
  • Female

    3.8%
  • Unknown

    1.3%

Ethnicity

  • White

    78.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    12.9%
  • Asian

    6.2%
  • Unknown

    1.6%
  • Black or African American

    0.5%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    47.0%
  • Carrier

    28.0%
  • French

    4.3%
  • Russian

    3.0%
  • Chinese

    1.7%
  • Vietnamese

    1.3%
  • Romanian

    1.3%
  • Hindi

    1.3%
  • Italian

    1.3%
  • Filipino

    1.3%
  • German

    1.3%
  • Polish

    1.3%
  • Arabic

    1.3%
  • Hmong

    0.9%
  • Mandarin

    0.9%
  • Korean

    0.9%
  • Ukrainian

    0.9%
  • Japanese

    0.9%
  • Urdu

    0.9%
  • Cherokee

    0.4%
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Real Hvac Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Hvac Technician SILA Heating & Air Conditioning White Plains, NY Sep 20, 2016 $74,344 -
$71,344
Hvac Service Technician Janal Heating & Air Conditioning Mountain View, CA Apr 16, 2015 $64,043
Hvac Technician Island Energy Inc. Vineyard Haven, MA Nov 29, 2016 $55,869
Lead Hvac Service Technician Star Service Inc. of Mobile Mobile, AL Mar 15, 2010 $53,040
Lead Hvac Service Technician Star Service Inc. of Mobile Selma, AL Mar 15, 2010 $53,040
Hvac Technician Island Energy Inc. MA Jul 05, 2016 $51,528
Hvac Technician S and S Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning LLC Linden, NJ Jan 26, 2010 $50,318
Hvac Technician HVAC Mechanical Maintenance Co., Inc. Vienna, VA Apr 14, 2009 $45,822

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Top Skills for A Hvac Technician

PackageUnitsAir-ConditioningSystemsHvacEquipmentHvacSystemsBoilersAirDuctsPreventativeMaintenanceChillersFurnacesHeatPumpsServiceCallsCustomerServiceServiceTechAirHandlersNecessaryRepairsIceMachinesHotWaterHeatersRefrigerationEquipmentRefrigerationSystemsControlSystems

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Top Hvac Technician Skills

  1. Package Units
  2. Air-Conditioning Systems
  3. Hvac Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Service, Troubleshoot, Replace; Split systems, package units 5-100 ton.
  • Installed and serviced central air-conditioning systems and a variety of refrigeration equipment.
  • Performed and recorded routine maintenance of all specialty HVAC equipment/systems.
  • Assessed and tested, as required, any other HVAC systems or system changes.
  • Serviced A/C systems, gas, oil fired, boilers, furnaces and humidifiers.

Top Hvac Technician Employers

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Hvac Technician Videos

Becoming an HVAC Tech

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Tech.

Another Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

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