If you're looking for a job that pays well and doesn't require you to go to college, becoming a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer could be a good choice. As part of the job, these specialists may survey sites ahead of an HVAC installation, plan and execute the installation, perform quality checks, find and repair problems, and help customers reduce the amount of energy they use.
There are several ways of becoming an HVAC engineer. After you've obtained your high school diploma, you can attend a trade school or community college and complete an accredited HVAC program. Alternatively, you could do an apprenticeship with more experienced contractors. At the end of your program or apprenticeship, you can sit exams and get certified.
Get Your High School Diploma
Most accredited HVAC programs require you to complete your high school diploma before beginning your training. An engineer working in this industry needs to be skilled in a variety of fields, including mathematics, physics, and electronics. Therefore, a basic level of education is required, and most companies are unwilling to employ someone who doesn't have a GED or high school diploma.
Do an Accredited HVAC Program
When you do an accredited HVAC program, you might be able to begin your career within six months, although some options take up to two years. You can complete your education at a trade school or community college in your local area. During the course, you will learn about service, repair, and design, and in some cases, you receive on-the-job training under licensed contractors.
Usually, both theoretical and practical instruction is required for local or national certification. The best programs prepare candidates for a variety of accreditations, such as the Section 608 certification.
Do an HVAC Apprenticeship
After studying in an accredited program, some engineers immediately begin their careers. Others become apprentices and learn from more experienced people in their field. In some cases, formal classroom-based HVAC training isn't necessary, and candidates can skip straight to the apprenticeship. A comprehensive program lasts between three to five years and may include more than 2,000 hours of training and almost 150 hours of technical instruction.
Often, apprenticeship programs are run by committees of organizations that oversee the HVAC industry. Some renowned options are the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). After you finish such a program, you are ready to get certified.
Apply for Certifications and Pass Exams
Once you've successfully completed your HVAC program or you've been an apprentice for several years, you can apply for certifications and sit the relevant exams. As discussed, there are various options. Some training programs include certification once you pass the internal assessments. For instance, the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) allows you to sit exams that certify you as an HVAC specialist, efficiency analyst, or performance verifier.
Some other organizations to look into are the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA), and HVAC Excellence. The certification process is different in every area, so you should have a closer look at the requirements in the city or state you would like to work in.
Can I Do My Training Online?
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more training courses have moved online. So, are there options for people who would like to complete their HVAC program virtually? The answer is yes, there are several institutions currently offering distance learning. For example, Ashworth College's online diploma in HVAC can be completed in just four months. During that time, students are prepared for the EPA Section 608 certification exam.
Similarly, Penn Foster College's remote diploma includes nine courses that prepare students to perform a wide variety of HVAC repairs. After completing this seven to eleven-month program, students can work as HVAC installers, HVAC technicians, or refrigeration technicians. Often, online-only programs are cheaper than in-person courses, and you might be able to complete your training for under $1,000 if you choose this option.
What Are the Job Prospects for HVAC Technicians?
According to the job platform Indeed, the average salary of an HVAC technician is over $23. However, your earning potential and the type of job you can get depends on your current location, your experience, and whether you are willing to work as a self-employed contractor. Technicians who work for others generally earn less than those who set up their own small businesses.
How Can I Set Up an HVAC Business Once I'm Certified?
In most areas of the country, setting up your own business is quite straightforward. However, you'll need to attract enough customers and have an easy way to manage your appointments. Many HVAC contractors state that the majority of their revenue comes from ongoing maintenance contracts, so it's essential that you achieve a high level of customer satisfaction.
The best way to get started is to speak to a more experienced engineer or to discuss your business's needs with the experts here at ServiceBox. We can help you set up a great quoting and scheduling system from the start, so you can stay on top of your calendar when it gets busier. Because we know how hard it is to get set up, we can offer you a starting price as low as $20 per user per month. That way, small businesses keep their costs reasonable.
Becoming an HVAC engineer can be a great career choice, and some applicants get certified in under a year. Because heating and refrigeration systems are present in almost every home across the country, this job has a bright future. Once you've received your HVAC certification, you can look into ways of setting up a successful business.
Call us now at ServiceBox to find out how we can help you gain, retain, and serve customers.