HVAC Training – Beginning a New Career

HVAC training is offered in a variety of formats, including initial training and continuing education. Programs are available for the training needed to obtain certification or a degree in heating, ventilation and air conditioning or heating and refrigeration. This training will vary depending upon the type of degree or certification desired. This can include an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, which will require from two to four years of education. The length of time for certification programs will differ depending on the program.

Checking cooling levels on Trane unit outside

General or Specialized Training

HVAC training encompasses the fields of refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation systems and heating technology. The technologies differ, but due to the close relationship between the systems, many students choose a generalized education in this field while others specialize.

The specific areas of training available for heating and refrigeration will include building codes, refrigeration technology, heating design, ventilation, electronics technology and indoor air standards among others. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning field will include study in electronics, equipment construction, design theory, blueprint reading, installation and maintenance.

There are numerous opportunities for those who wish to enter this high-demand field. From universities to online courses and apprenticeships, those who are interested in a career can find the specific program that meets their needs. The demand for professionals in the field is growing and is expected to continue.

HVAC training includes:

  • Knowledge of HVAC equipment and the methods in which they are used

  • Environmental issues

  • Handling chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and refrigerants in a safe and responsible manner

  • Health issues on air quality

  • Energy efficiency

  • Safety issues

Even though apprenticeship is an option for learning the basics in this field, a school is the best option to obtain a degree or certification. This will allow the highest potential earnings. Trade schools will offer programs in HVAC training that will typically require from 6 months to 2 years of education. This will cover the following:

  • Operation

  • Design

  • Construction

  • Installation

  • Maintenance

  • Repair

A more inclusive program will also include training in areas such as blueprint reading, computer applications, electronics, applied physics, mechanical drawing and shop mathematics. Completion of training and passing the licensing exam will be required for certification.

Degrees in HVAC and HVAC/R

As stated, many choose a career in HVAC as well as refrigeration since the fields are so closely related. A bachelor’s degree can include basic classes as well as advanced. The mechanics of each of the systems include courses in the same basics that are required by trade schools. Additionally they require courses including schematics, drawings, specifications, estimating, industry codes, regulations and Computer-Aided Drafting and Design (CADD).

The Bachelor’s Degree

The bachelor’s degree will provide students with the necessary skills for complying with environmental laws, HVAC/R building codes and regulations that include local, state and federal procedures. In addition, they will learn how to perform inspections, design, testing and maintain heating, cooling and refrigeration systems, estimate costs and read specifications and blueprints.

Skills learned in the bachelor’s degree program will provide students with the knowledge to install systems as well as improve energy efficiency, repair defects or dangerous leaks and provide required climate control.

The Associate’s Degree

An associate’s degree in HVAC will include the basics of servicing the systems. Included are troubleshooting, American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards, psychometrics, thermal comfort, air distribution and indoor air quality. The student will learn how to install, service, find and eliminate problems associated with the control mechanisms including relays, pneumatics and HVAC Ethernet controls.

Online Certificate Programs

Online certificate programs are available. There are two – HVAC installation and repair or design of HVAC systems. The training to learn installation and repair and prepare for entry level positions require 320 credit hours, which will include up to 16 courses. This program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions. After receiving the online certificate, the North American Technician Excellence Certification Examination may be taken.

When choosing HVAC training, such as the certification program for design, this will require completion of 4 to 5 courses. In addition, experience in engineering as well as a bachelor’s degree is required. The opportunities afforded by completing certification and degree programs include competitive salaries and many receive other benefits such as company cars, bonuses and reimbursement for further training.