How is an HVAC Internship Different from an Apprenticeship?

HVAC training programs cover education in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning field. Once certification and often licensing is obtained, the technician will choose to specialize in a particular field. There are many available and the earnings can be substantial. In addition, the prospects continue to look good for those who choose heating, ventilation and air conditioning training. The demand for professionals in this field is expected to increase over the next several years.

There are several methods of training for these careers. There are a number of schools – both conventional and online – that provide courses in this type of career. The time may range from 6 months to 2 years and more education is required if you plan to specialize.

Internship

An internship is one way of becoming an HVAC technician. A person may work for a heating and air conditioning company to gain the experience needed. The intern is usually not as well paid as an apprentice and they are sometimes called assistants. They usually begin at the very bottom of the profession and if this is a career choice they want to pursue, they work their way up to the level desired. The experience gained as an intern can be beneficial for taking certification exams.

Some companies have internship programs in place and often they like to hire interns because this is a cost effective method for their company. Many pay minimum wage and look at this as a way of saving money on training. In addition, the companies receive the benefits of training the interns to their way of doing things. Internships are sometimes even unpaid programs. The training is provided as the incentive and learning the trade enables the intern to acquire certification once they have gained enough experience.

Apprenticeships

A formal apprenticeship is a step up from the regular apprenticeship and usually involves on-the-job training which is paid as well as classroom training. It is also a step up from internships. Applying for a formal apprenticeship requires a high school diploma of GED in most states. The classes and training combined are usually from 3 to 5 years. However, once it is completed, the apprentice is considered skilled enough to work on their own.

There are many apprenticeships offered by committees representing the HVAC industry. A few are the Air Conditioning Contractor’s of America, the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors National Association and the Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada.

The classroom curriculum that an apprentice receives is usually developed to meet requirements for subjects set by the standards of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT).

Therefore, the major differences between apprenticeships and internships are the providers. Internships are generally provided by the company and the apprenticeships can be provided by schools and committees for industry.

Apprentices are better paid than interns who may not get paid. The internship does not generally provide for classroom instruction and the apprenticeship requires this instruction.

Many consider the internship as a way of deciding if this is the right career choice. Whereas the apprenticeship is generally considered by someone who has made up their mind that this is the type of career they wish to pursue.