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Schools for HVAC Certification and Training

An HVAC engineer may be certified through a technical school, or receive training and experience from an apprenticeship program. As the demand for air-conditioning and heating continues to be consistent around the country, HVAC specialists provide the necessary installation, maintenance, and repair services. Training provides an HVAC engineer or technician with the knowledge required for both residential and commercial building systems.

Job Description and Responsibilities of HVAC School Graduates

Graduates may be involved with:

  • Installation and repair of furnaces, oil burners, solar panels, or machinery
  • Installation of heating and air conditioning systems
  • Implementing fuel and water lines
  • Installing ducts and vents as needed
  • Combustion testing
  • Ensuring proper functioning of furnaces, burners, and thermostats
  • Inspections and maintenance procedures for heating systems
  • Replacement of ducts and filters
  • Working with commercial refrigeration systems
  • Reviewing blueprints, equipment specs, and piping specifications
  • Communicating with team members through mobile phones
  • Ensuring all safety standards are met

A license allows an HVAC engineer or technician the ability to operate and maintain various types of machinery. Training can provide many skills and a comprehensive knowledge base for a long-term career in the field. An HVAC mechanic is most commonly involved with maintenance and installation of motors, compressors, ducts, pipes, and thermostats. A technician can specialize in one type of equipment and often works with installation and servicing of heating, cooling, and refrigeration equipment.

Career Options After HVAC Training

HVAC training provides many opportunities for students interested in the engineering, mechanics, heating, and air conditioning industry. Students may chose to pursue a career as a:

  • HVAC Technician
  • HVAC mechanic
  • Duct Installer
  • Refrigeration Specialist
  • Electrician
  • Sheet-metal worker
  • Plumber
  • Electronics Technician
  • Facilities Maintenance Supervisor

HVAC Certification, Licensing, and Training Programs

Although an HVAC school provides comprehensive training, many students also receive training through an apprenticeship program. An HVAC class that specializes in a specific area can also help improve a student's skills and job opportunities. Most programs range from 6 months to 2 years in length, and certification can be received through trade and community colleges. An HVAC class can be comprised of courses such as:

  • Installation and maintenance of systems
  • Equipment construction
  • Design theory
  • Electronics
  • Equipment design
  • Maintenance and Repair Procedures
  • Furnace Materials and Insulation
  • Cutting and Soldering Pipes

A license is required for any HVAC technician or engineer who is involved with handling and purchasing refrigerants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administers an exam to various organizations, and the written examination covers three key areas:

  • Servicing small appliances
  • Low-pressure refrigerants
  • High-pressure refrigerants

Certification is available through the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) board which offers an Air-Conditioning Excellence program. Certification allows students to apply for positions with higher levels of responsibility such as cost estimators, team supervisors, and managers of a business.

HVAC Online Training

A student who is interested from completing their education from a distance may choose an online training program instead. Through an independent study format, a student can still learn about the general rules and regulations of the industry, along with receiving HVAC certification through the Air-Conditioning Excellence Program. Online training can be extensive, and still provides solid training for an HVAC career.

The best foundation for pursuing a career can start as early as high school. Prospective students may choose to take subjects such as applied physics, electronics, plumbing, electrical work, computer applications, or mechanical drawing. A technician must also learn basic business practices such as how to draft a contract and fundamental mathematics.

HVAC School and Accreditation

An HVAC school or training program receives accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. Each school and program must also comply with all local, federal, and state regulations. The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) board is the only organization that administers the Air-Conditioning Excellence program.

HVAC School Graduates Earning Potential and Employment Prospects

Job opportunities for students look promising, and occupations are expected to increase with advances in technology and increased demand for skilled workers. The increased population and demand for residential and commercial climate-control systems makes this an attractive industry. The heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and cooling industry is project to grow faster than average through 2012. Advancements in the industry include an emphasis on energy-efficiency and ongoing maintenance of current systems.

The average hourly wage of an HVAC technician was $16.78 in 2002. These earnings vary depending on certification and HVAC training received. Related occupations include:

  • Refrigeration Maintenance Specialist

  • Heating and Cooling Sales

  • Engineer

  • Mechanical Supervisor

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