With a 3.9% growth rate expected over the next ten years, there are lots of chances for anyone looking to work in the HVAC business. But before you can become a licensed HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) expert, you need to go through a number of steps. There are many ways to follow this route, but this guide will bring you through the fundamental stages needed to become an HVAC contractor.

1. What does an HVAC contractor do?

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, or HVAC, is an acronym for the climate control systems used in residential or commercial buildings. To keep occupants comfortable, they must circulate warm or cooled, filtered air throughout the facility.

Therefore, a company that employs service specialists to install, maintain, and fix those systems is known as an HVAC contractor. A business must have a professional license in order to provide these services.

A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor is a specialist who installs, fixes, and maintains HVAC systems in homes and businesses. Here are some additional duties for this position.

2. Average salary for an HVAC contractor

An HVAC contractor makes an average yearly pay of roughly $50,590, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Depending on a number of variables, including education, experience, certifications, and talents, the wage range might vary greatly. The numbers also change based on where you are in your career, whether you’re an HVAC manager, HVAC technician, HVAC sales manager, air conditioning engineer, or in one of the other related professional areas.

>> Read more: How To Become An HVAC Technician

3. How to become an HVAC contractor

While it is possible to learn about HVAC systems through job experience, contractors who have completed official education and training frequently have greater employment options. To assist you understand how to become an HVAC contractor, here is a step-by-step guide:

HVAC contractor
Learn about HVAC systems through job experience

3.1. Get a high-school diploma

If you want to work in HVAC, the first thing you need to do is get your high school certificate. To broaden your knowledge, pick disciplines like physics, computer science, and mathematics. You can also sign up for technical courses in electronics, plumbing, and metal fabrication.

3.2. Enroll in a training program

If you want greater employment possibilities after earning your high school graduation, you can enroll in a formal training or certificate program at any college. After finishing high school or earning your GED, you can enroll in a training program or a certificate program at any community college or trade school if you intend to get an associate’s degree.

Knowing whether the program delivers a certificate or official degree upon course completion is crucial. Depending on the subject you choose, finishing your formal education could take anywhere from six months to two years. This program will require you to take the following courses:

  • Operating HVAC equipment
  • Installing and troubleshooting commercial and residential cooling and ventilation systems
  • Handling refrigerants
  • Reading and understanding blueprints
  • Installing and repairing electrical wiring
  • Applying basic principles to practical circumstances

You can take extra courses in electronics or computer science to understand more about the complexity of contemporary HVAC equipment in addition to these courses. You might enroll in business management and accounting courses if you intend to open your own business in the future.

3.3. Complete an apprenticeship program

Gaining experience on the job can also be accomplished by becoming an apprentice with an HVAC contractor. The following prerequisites must be satisfied in order to enroll in an apprenticeship program:

  • Possess a GED or high school diploma
  • Possess a driving license
  • Pass a mathematics exam (optional)
  • Take a drug test

The apprenticeship can be managed in addition to your education or qualification. A fantastic way to get started earlier in your profession, comprehend the practical components of the work, and expand your network is through an apprenticeship.

what is HVAC contractor
Gaining experience on the job can also be accomplished by becoming an apprentice

3.4. Get EPA certified

The EPA 608 certification(Environmental Protection Agency) of the United States makes sure that no corporation damages the air, water, or soil. HVAC contractors deal with cooling systems that use refrigerants that, if handled improperly, can be damaging to the environment. Therefore, having EPA certification as an HVAC contractor will be a good idea.

To obtain an EPA certificate, you must pass a test. The exam covers subjects like recovering refrigerants, safety, the process for recycling products containing refrigerants, and refrigerant disposal. Any community college or trade school that has received EPA approval can provide you the certificate.

3.5. Get a state-approved license

While each state has its own licensing standards and prerequisites, all of them require HVAC contractors to get a license after accumulating the required work experience. Additionally, the authorities investigate your criminal history, and you must have performance bonds or liability insurance. There can be a minimum age restriction when applying for the license.

You must have at least four years of documented experience in order to be eligible to take the HVAC license exam. Before you may take the exam, your application must also be approved by the state board.

>> Read more: HVAC License in Texas

3.6. Consider getting certifications

Once you have obtained your HVAC contractor license, it is a great idea to advance your career by earning professional certifications. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, North American Technician Excellence (NATE), HVAC Excellence, and Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) are a few professional associations that can help you build your credibility as an HVAC contractor by offering various HVAC professional certificates.

The NATE certification exam is a popular technical exam that tests your overall HVAC knowledge as well as your speciality in installation and servicing. ACCI’s Quality Installation standard accreditation validates your ability to design HVAC systems for residential buildings.

3.7. Obtain work experience

Others who have already received training can work for businesses as entry-level technicians alongside those with greater expertise. From state to state, there are different minimum work requirements. If you’ve finished an apprenticeship, it typically lasts between two and seven years (if you did not undergo a training program). Working with a contractor will allow you to gain the necessary experience. You can also look up the state requirements in the area where you want to practice for further information.

The normal processes to become an HVAC contractor are as follows. If you tackle problems in a problem-solving manner, the career is promising. Your chances of success are only increased by the fact that an HVAC professional can serve in a variety of positions across the nation.

4. Why being an HVAC contractor is a good career option?

Here are some reasons to select an HVAC contractor job out of all the professional options:

The technical expertise needed for the task and the difficulties in locating and fixing HVAC equipment make HVAC work complex. You would appreciate working as an HVAC contractor if you enjoy taking on new tasks every day.

You can always operate in various settings with various pieces of equipment, alongside diverse individuals, and daily in front of fresh challenges. It’s energizing and a blessing for individuals who can’t concentrate in a small area. However, if you operate your own HVAC company, you must be involved in every aspect of running it, including employing the best specialists, overseeing logistics, and handling payoffs.

As you gain experience, your work opportunities improve. You can be your own boss in a sector with bright growth potential if you operate an HVAC-related firm.

Being an HVAC contractor can be highly satisfying if you appreciate handling the new problems that arise every day. It feels good to use your knowledge and experience to help another person with their issue.

There is practically little chance of being unemployed as an HVAC contractor. In the upcoming years, residential and large buildings will require more heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. This demonstrates the industry’s growth potential, where jobs are consistently available.