Heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians maintain, install and repair systems in homes and commercial buildings. The technician can specialize in an area such as repair or installation. Some HVAC technicians specialize in air conditioning and heating systems, and others work on only one type of equipment. Some states require a license to work as an HVAC technician in the state and candidates must meet the education and training requirements to obtain licensure.
Education and Training
Some HVAC technicians receive training for a position in a technical or trade school, while others obtain training from a heating and ventilation program in a community college. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an HVAC training program can take from six months to two years to complete. Apprenticeship programs provide training for HVAC technicians on the job with a trained and experienced worker. An apprenticeship program also provides classroom training for the technician in reading blueprints, safe practices and the design of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
An HVAC technician must have specific knowledge of HVAC systems and technology to work in the field. This includes safety procedures, tools, electrical, thermodynamics, air conditioning systems, heating systems, air handling, preventive maintenance and industry regulations and laws.
An HVAC technician often works with the public and must have good communication skills to explain complex procedures and processes to homeowners without technical knowledge. The technician must be skilled with using the tools of the trade as well as physically capable of lifting heavy equipment.
HVAC technicians entering the field can complete certification programs or examinations that demonstrate their knowledge and skill in the trade. Technicians with little experience can benefit from completing examinations to enhance job opportunities with potential employers. Certifications are available for HVAC technicians working on specific equipment. Employers sometimes require technicians have certifications as a condition of employment or for advancement in the organization.