What Qualifications Do HVAC Repair Technicians Need?

Aspiring HVAC technicians must have strong skills in chemistry, physics, and other physical sciences. In addition, competitive candidates may also have work or volunteer experience helping HVAC technicians. Candidates can apply for a certificate, associate program, or bachelor's degree that includes courses on HVAC system design, refrigeration, energy management, load calculations, industrial code standards, duct and pipe systems, air quality control systems, air conditioning quality. Future HVAC technicians participating in these programs learn the theory and practice of HVAC as well as the safety protocols and regulations associated with the industry.

Before starting work, most HVAC technicians have at least some specialized training. Today, most HVAC technicians start by taking courses at a technical school or community college. Shorter programs can last just six months and result in an HVAC technician certificate, while longer programs can last up to two years and result in an associate degree. In addition to technical knowledge and manual skills, HVAC technicians may also need to sell service contracts to their customers.

In that case, HVAC technicians must be able to convince the customer that repairs are really necessary. To be a successful HVAC technician, one must have strong interpersonal skills and be able to communicate clearly and directly. Technical training and education are key requirements for becoming an HVAC technician. After some degree of formal education, more on-the-job training is usually required.

Sometimes this can take the form of an apprenticeship with an experienced HVAC technician. Other HVAC technicians will move directly from school to entry-level positions. The paths to becoming an HVAC technician often diverge after the first one to three years of work. At that time there are several exam and certification options that can lead to more specialized work.

While there are no national associations that an HVAC technician should join many offer professional support and certifications. One of the most prolific testing organizations North American Technician Excellence (NATE) offers industrial competency exams (also known as ICE) in installation and service specialties. These exams are supported and recognized by other HVAC organizations such as the Institute of Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration (AHRI), Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), and Heating Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). Advanced HVAC certifications can be attractive to both potential employers and customers so many HVAC technicians choose to obtain them but they are not mandatory.

Sometimes an employer may require more education to advance the job. For example a non-specialty HVAC technician working for a construction company may need to obtain certification in the field of HVAC installation to advance and oversee new buildings. Ultimately higher education and certification are the best ways to progress in a career as an HVAC technician along with ongoing technical experience The path to becoming an HVAC technician can be varied and promising over time it will be dedication and experience to the trade that will determine if an HVC technician continues to move up the ranks in terms of both responsibility and salary.