What does an HVAC technician do? HVAC technicians work on equipment that controls the air environment within a building. Whether it’s industrial HVAC systems or residential split systems, today’s “air conditioner repair man” is a highly skilled, technically adept trades-person.
Many future technicians chose HVAC trade school programs to train for their NATE and EPA certifications but there are other options, like apprenticeship. As an HVAC technician your day to day will include:
- Installing, and repairing different types of HVAC systems
- Install all the wiring and other components
- Inspect, test, and monitor all the equipments
- There is a customer service component where you’ll discuss what’s going on with the customer
- If there are defective parts, you’ll repair or replace them
- Make recommendations for optimal HVAC performance
- You’ll need to keep detailed records of all repairs and conversations you’ve had
HVAC and plumbing contractors are the largest employers of HVAC technicians, but you may also find jobs in the retail industry, as a self employed contractor, and within the educational system.
Take one of our many free HVAC practice tests to see if this is the right career choice for you.
How Long Does HVAC Training Take?
More and more employers are looking to hire HVAC technicians who have gone through training programs, as opposed to training them on the job. HVAC training generally takes between a few months and two years, depending on if you go through a trade school or community college. You education will take:
- Trade school averages six months of training, and you’ll earn a certificate.
- 2 years at a community college and you’ll earn an associate’s degree for HVAC
- Apprenticeships are an option and last between 3-5 years.
The benefit of getting your associate’s degree is that you can transfer the credits to a four year college and go deeper into HVAC, maybe even becoming an engineer. The benefits of a certificate is that you get out of school and start working relatively quickly.
If you’re in high school, you may want to enroll in the Votech program and get a head start with your education. Focus your studies on all the maths, and physics. And, any experience you have with plumbing, electronics, and electrical will help you tremendously.
- To become an HVAC technician, you first must have your high school diploma or GED.
- You’ll need to decide if you want to go to a trade school or community college.
- Once you get your certificate or associate’s degree, you’ll have to find an apprenticeship or a company that will train you.
In order to work as an HVAC tech and touch any types refrigeration, the EPA will require you to be certified.
How Much Money do HVAC Tech’s Make?
When you first start out as an apprentice, you’ll earn about half of what an entry level HVAC tech earns, but as you gain more experience, your paychecks will get larger. Entry level HVAC technicians earn a median salary of just over $29K. Once you’ve worked for a few years, you can expect your salary to be in the $47K range, reaching to over $75K.
There is good news in the hiring front! There will be over 48K new jobs opening through 2026, which means the job growth is much faster than most other occupations. To increase your chances of getting hired, learn tablet computers, and electronics. Also, fine tune your troubleshooting skills; it’s a very sought after quality.