HVAC technicians are highly trained professionals who specialize in the installation, maintenance, and repair of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. To become an HVAC technician, you need to have a combination of hands-on training and classroom instruction. Most aspiring HVAC professionals choose to obtain some type of post-secondary education, such as a certificate or associate degree from a technical school or community college. The minimum requirement to begin a career as an HVAC technician is a high school diploma or GED.
The high school curriculum must hone the math and reading skills needed to get the job done. However, very few employers hire technicians with only a high school diploma or GED. Job prospects for HVAC technicians are very positive, with the number of jobs available in this field expected to increase by 15% between now and 2026 (according to the BLS). The ideal way to learn the trade is to complete an accredited HVAC program from a community college, trade school, or vocational institute.
The training can last 6 to 24 months and lead to a certificate or an associate degree. The College of Southern Nevada offers several HVAC programs that emphasize hands-on training and hands-on experience, preparing students to analyze and resolve HVAC problems. 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. 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. Since HVAC technicians are trained in all HVAC systems in general, some technicians specialize much more in the types of work they do as their careers progress. With the growing demand and complexities involved in HVAC technologies, HVAC technicians will continue to find job opportunities. In addition to technical skills, certain personality traits increase a potential HVAC technician's odds of success.
Future HVAC technicians must be able to explain the intricacies of an HVAC system to customers who may not be familiar with the details of their building system. Two institutions that offer accreditation for HVAC classes are HVAC Excellence and Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Becoming an HVAC technician requires completing an accredited program from a community college, trade school, or vocational institute. Before starting work, most HVAC technicians have at least some specialized training.
Mount San Antonio Community College offers several accredited programs that emphasize hands-on training and hands-on experience.