An HVAC technician plays a vital role in controlling a home or building’s air circulation, temperature or humidity level. Indoor and outdoor environments of a construction are very important since it directly affects people’s health. Storages or factories also have to keep their temperature at an exact level to preserve their products.

This is why HVAC technicians are much needed and the demands for them are highly increasing in recent years, and more and more people are considering this career path. However, it surely will take you a lot of effort, time and a certain amount of money to pursue this profession, since becoming an HVAC technician involves several requirements in terms of skills, education, certificates and so on. In this article, you will find some helpful information on how to become an HVAC technician.

how to become an hvac technician

1. What should you know before becoming an HVAC technician?

An HVAC technician takes charge of working with systems related to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Their jobs are to install units, replace and repair existing ones, read blueprints or daily checking to keep the whole system running nicely. For that reason, an HVAC technician usually has to work out of office, with lots of physical activities besides just using their brains. 

Every modern building and construction includes HVAC systems, so that HVAC technicians can work almost everywhere, from private houses to companies, factories, public constructions like schools, hospitals… 

hvac technicians can work almost everywhere

The average salary range for an HVAC technician in the United States is $23.45 an hour, calculated by Indeed Salary Information, with participation of 18,838 HVAC technicians during 36 months. HVAC technicians are commonly paid by hour, additional works or over-time works will also be paid with higher rates. Years of experience will also contribute to an HVAC employee salary level.

>> Read more: Why Is Becoming An HVAC Technician A Promising Career Choice?
2. How long does it take to become an HVAC technician? 

There will be no specific amount of time for a person to become an HVAC technician since the training periods will vary from state to state. For earning certification, it takes at least 9-10 months. For a higher degree in a specific area of HVAC , it may take about two years. Additionally, apprenticeships from companies or organizations may take up two to five years. Especially, for states that require licensure, HVAC technicians may have to acquire 2-6 years  of working experience to get licensed. In general, the process to become an HVAC technician is very variable depending on individuals. However, there are 5 main steps you can separate into so that you can make a better schedule for yourselves. 

2.1 Graduating from high school and earn diploma

You can start your HVAC career right from high school, students who show their interests to HVAC jobs can register to classes about math, physics. Attending vocational school or taking mechanical courses are also highly recommended. These activities will create you basics background and instruction which are very helpful for your future. 

2.2 Enrolling for Training Programs or Apprenticeships

After you leave high school level, you must enroll for a training program and finish it. A certificate training program will give you a chance to sharpen your skills and it may take you about 10 months to complete. You also may choose to attend college to get an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in HVAC profession, and having these degrees will help you get more job opportunities. 

Employees can also decide to take apprenticeships which last for about 3-5 years. There are several trade unions and companies that provide these programs. Some of the apprenticeships also provide employees national level certification. 

2.3 Earning HVAC license and state approval

In many states in the U.S, HVAC technicians are required to get licenses. For example, in Texas, HVAC technicians need to work for four years under supervision before becoming licensed by the state’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Advisory Board. 

earning hvac license and state approval

To be approved by your state, you must meet several requirements. The requirements for being licensed differ from state to state, but there is a common certification that is needed in all states: the Section 608 technician certification from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and certification from R-410A. These certifications are essential because after you get it, you can legally work with refrigerants. 

The Section 608 Technician Certification has three levels, which are: Type I certification (related to small appliances), Type II certification (related to high-pressure heating and cooling units), Type III certification (related to low-pressure heating and cooling units)

Practice now: HVAC Online Test

2.4 Considering additional and professional certification

Having higher certifications is not compulsory for you if you want to become an HVAC technician, but they will increase your competency level with other technicians. If you want to offer a higher range of salary or to get better job opportunities, a professional certificate will surely be a big plus to your portfolio. 

Read more: HVAC Career: What Are The Pros And Cons?

There are several certificates for you to consider, such as Ready-to-Work certification (for entry-level workers), HVAC Support Technician certificate (for early-career HVAC technicians), Core & Specialty Tests Certificate (for HVAC technicians who have worked more that 2 years), or Senior Level Efficiency Analyst Certification (for HVAC technicians with at least five years of professional experience).

By following these four main stages, you can create your own schedule and plan on how to become an HVAC technician. 

3. How much does it cost to become an HVAC technician? 

In general, the cost to become an HVAC technician varies between $1,200 to $15,000. This variation in price comes from the expensive level of programs you take, more expensive ones will require high-priced tool kits as well as examination register fees. Some of the supplies that HVAC technicians have to prepare are multimeters, thermometers, gauges, flashlights, cutters, gloves, and so on.

This article is believed to give some helpful guides for people who want to become an HVAC technician. If you have interest in this field, you should probably start your plan now since it will take several years for you to work as an HVAC technician and get a decent level of income.