How to Start a Career as an HVAC Technician

Why Complete a Certificate in HVAC?

The air conditioning and heating systems found in many homes and commercial buildings are way more sophisticated than the systems used just a few decades ago. The sophistication of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems means that it’s now much easier for people to control the temperature and humidity in their homes or workspaces. As the systems have become more complex, the process of installing, maintaining and repairing them has also grown more complicated. The increased complexity has led to an increased demand for trained and skilled technicians.

Earning an HVAC career certificate can set you on the path to a career as an HVAC technician. As you work through an HVAC certificate program, you’ll be able to take exams demonstrating your newfound skills and knowledge. After earning your certificate, you can start working as an HVAC technician or continue your training and education in an associate’s degree program.

What Do HVAC Technicians Do?

HVAC technicians work on the systems that control air quality and temperature in buildings. A technician might specialize in a particular type of system, such as heat pumps or air conditioning.

The typical responsibilities of an HVAC technician include installing HVAC systems, including wiring and electrical components, maintaining previously installed systems, and inspecting systems. A technician will typically discuss any problems an HVAC system has with the building’s owners and is likely to recommend a schedule for maintenance work to keep a system working at its best.

It’s important that an HVAC technician has a variety of different skills. Math skills are essential, as a technician needs to be able to calculate the load requirements that will allow a system to heat or cool a building adequately.

Since part of the job of being an HVAC technician involves figuring out what might be going on with a system, the ability to troubleshoot and solve problems is also essential. Being physically strong, detailed oriented, and able to work well with others are also useful skills for an HVAC technician to have.

What Will You Learn in an HVAC Certificate Program?

Since the goal of an HVAC certificate program is usually to prepare you for a career in the HVAC industry, training and education in the program should focus on a variety of topics relevant to the industry.

During an HVAC program, you will develop technical and production skills, gain an understanding of entry-level engineering design of HVAC technology and learn about planning and management. Your program will also cover topics relevant to health, safety, and environmental issues as well as labor and community issues.

What Can You Do After Earning a Certificate?

Earning a career certificate in HVAC can help you find a position as an entry-level HVAC technician. As HVAC systems become ever more complicated, the demand for technicians with some amount of training before they begin will increase[1].

As you work through a certificate program, you will have the opportunity to take several exams that will help to prove your readiness for employment and that will help you earn the needed licensure or certification to being your career.

Another option after earning an HVAC certificate is to continue your education in an associate’s degree program. Students who earn either the HVAC 1 or HVAC 2 certificate from Orange Technical College can earn articulated credits at Valencia College in the following programs:

  • Construction & Civil Engineering AS degree (3 credits)
  • Energy Management & Controls Technology (6-9 credits)
  • Supervision & Management for Industry AS degree (24 credits)

What You Can Expect From a Career as an HVAC Technician

Living and working in the state of Florida, you can expect ample career opportunities as an HVAC technician. The field is expected to grow by 15% by 2026[2], considerably faster than average for other occupations.

Florida is an ideal state for HVAC technicians, as it has the highest employment rate of technicians in the country. Around 29,650 people are employed as HVAC technicians in Florida[3].

The median salary for HVAC technicians is higher than the median salary for all other occupations: $47,610 as of 2018[4]. In Florida, the median salary for technicians is $42,630[3].

How to Enroll in an HVAC Certificate Program

One of the first steps you can take to a career as an HVAC technician is to sign up for a certificate program. Orange Technical College offers HVAC 1 and HVAC 2 certificates at our Mid Florida and Westside campuses. To learn more about our programs and the steps to enrollment, contact us for more information today.

Sources:

  1. “How to Become a Heating, Air Conditioning, or Refrigeration Mechanic and Installer,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 13, 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-4
  2. “Job Outlook,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 13, 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-6
  3. “Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2018: 49-9021 Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2019, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes499021.htm#st
  4. “Pay,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 13, 2019, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-5

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