Training and Licensing Requirements for HVAC Professionals
Homeowners and business owners who want to repair or install an air conditioner or refrigeration system usually enlist the sets of a licensed HVAC technician. Believe it or not, there’s a complicate science to working with these kinds of systems, and inexperienced people need a skilled, trained expert to get the service required to keep their unit running effectively. In order to work in the field of HVAC (which stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), a technician is required to go by a certain amount of education and training. Though specific licensing procedures may differ among states, there are a number of procedures that are standard throughout the country.
There are two types of professionals in this industry: Technicians and Engineers. The technicians are the hands-on professionals who perform repairs and installations, while the engineers work on the theoretical side, designing and planning new HVAC systems. The procedure for licensing and training engineers in the field is a bit less cut and dry than that for technicians. Companies tend to require a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, though some chiefly hire people with a Master’s degree. Additionally there is a licensing course of action for engineers who serve the public.
For technicians, the time of action is a bit different, and follows a similar structure to those of other technical trades. The prospective technician usually starts off in a community or technical college, and works for anywhere between 6 to 24 months toward obtaining a certification or Associate’s degree in HVAC Technology. These programs include similar training to those of many other technical fields. The student will learn about electrical elements, airflow physics, refrigerant handling, blueprint reading, and a variety of other subjects necessary to work in the field.
Once the degree program is completed, the graduate will generally begin an apprenticeship. Sometimes, a person may skip the college studies altogether and go straight into an apprenticeship. This option is often engaged by a labor union, though it is becoming less of a shared practice. With or without a degree, the apprenticeship lasts somewhere between three and five years, and involves training both in the field and in the classroom. Apprentices work directly with experienced technicians, and learn the intricacies of the trade.
At some point during the apprenticeship, the apprentice will be required to acquire a number of state licenses. The specific licensing requirements differ depending on the state. For example, some places require separate credentials for different levels of journeymen and for masters. Some people may be required to demonstrate knowledge of applicable electrical codes, and some will require a license for the handling of refrigerants. Continuing education may also be required for HVAC technicians to continue their credentials and continue working in the field.