How to Become an HVAC Technician
With an excellent job outlook and salary potential, there's no reason not to start your career as an HVAC technician today.
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2 Years

The Definitive Guide to Becoming an HVAC Technician

There is no doubt that the world of work is changing. Gone are the days when a person could walk into a job and stay with that company for their entire career. With layoffs becoming more common, it's essential to have a backup plan. One option that is growing in popularity is becoming an HVAC technician. This guide will teach you everything you need to know on how to become an HVAC technician.

What is an HVAC Technician?

An HVAC technician is a professional who installs, maintains, and repairs heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units. They work in various settings, including homes, businesses, and factories. HVAC technicians may also be known as heating, ventilation, air conditioning mechanics, or refrigeration mechanics.

One of the benefits of learning how to become an HVAC technician is that there are many different specializations you can choose from. For example, you could specialize in installing air conditioning systems in homes or repairing commercial refrigeration units. There are also many opportunities for advancement within the field. For example, with experience and certification, you could become a lead technician or service manager.

How Do I Become an HVAC Technician?

Want to know how to become an HVAC technician? The process is relatively straightforward and can be broken up into the following four stages.

Get a High School Degree (or GED)

The first step is to obtain a high school degree or GED. While this is not always required, it is strongly recommended. Many employers prefer to hire technicians who have a formal education. If you've already graduated high school or have your GED but want more training, you can also look at your local community college to see if they offer an HVAC technician program.

Complete an HVAC Technician Program

The next step is to complete an HVAC technician program. Many different programs are available, but they all cover the same topics. You can find a list of accredited HVAC technician programs on the EPA website. These programs usually take between six and twelve months to complete and prepare you to start as an HVAC technician by teaching you things such as:

  • How to read blueprints
  • How to install and repair heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units
  • How to troubleshoot malfunctions

Get Licensed and Certified

After completing an HVAC technician program, you'll need to get licensed and certified. Each state has different requirements, but the process typically involves passing a written exam. You can find more information on your state's licensing requirements on the EPA website.

In addition to getting licensed, you may also want to get certified by a professional organization such as the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of America (HRAI).

Working as an Apprentice

The final step is to find a job as an apprentice. An apprenticeship is a type of on-the-job training where you work under the supervision of a licensed technician. This is a great way to learn the ropes and gain experience. You can find apprenticeship opportunities on the HRAI website or your local community college.

Apprenticeship programs typically last two to four years, after which you'll be eligible to take the licensing exam to become a full-fledged HVAC technician. You can also work on your apprenticeship while studying for your certification exams.

What Skills Should an HVAC Technician Have?

To be successful as an HVAC technician, you will need to have a few essential skills. These skills will ensure that you can do your job effectively and efficiently. Some of the most critical skills for an HVAC technician include:

Good Mechanical Aptitude

Having good mechanical aptitude means that you have a natural ability to work with machinery and tools. This is an essential skill for an HVAC technician because you will be working with many different types of equipment, including air conditioners, furnaces, and ventilation systems.

Physical Strength and Stamina

HVAC technicians need to be physically strong and have a lot of stamina. They often have to carry heavy equipment, work in tight spaces, and stand for long periods. In addition, work is usually performed outside in extreme weather conditions.

Customer Service Skills

HVAC technicians need to have good customer service skills. This is because they often have to deal with angry or upset customers about their heating or air conditioning not working. In addition, HVAC technicians need to be able to explain complex technical problems in a way that is easy for the customer to understand.

If you have these skills, you may be a good fit for a career as an HVAC technician.

Good Problem-Solving Skills

HVAC technicians need to be able to solve problems quickly and efficiently. This is because many problems with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units can be challenging to diagnose. When this happens, it is often up to the HVAC technician to find the root cause of the problem and develop a solution.

What Are the Working Conditions for an HVAC Technician?

HVAC technicians usually work in various settings, including homes, businesses, and factories. They may also be required to work outside in all weather conditions. That's because HVAC systems are often located on the roof or outside of buildings and can break down.

Most HVAC technicians work full time, and some may have to work evenings or weekends. As a result, overtime is often required during the summer and winter, when demand for heating and air conditioning is highest.

HVAC technicians typically work in teams of two or more. Many HVAC systems are too large for one person to handle. In addition, working in teams allows HVAC technicians to complete jobs more quickly and efficiently.

The hours can also be variable. HVAC technicians may be required to work early in the morning or late at night, depending on the needs of their employer. They may also be called in on weekends or holidays to deal with emergencies. If you become a freelance HVAC technician or start your own HVAC business, you will have more control over your hours.

Benefits to Becoming an HVAC Technician

If you're thinking of becoming an HVAC technician, you'll be happy to know that there are several benefits to pursuing this type of career. Some of those benefits include the following:

Varied Work Settings

As an HVAC technician, you will have the opportunity to work in various settings. This means that you will never be bored with your job, and you will always be able to learn new things. In addition, no two days are ever the same. For example, one day, you might be working on a residential air conditioning unit, and the next day you might be working on a commercial heating system.

Good Job Stability

HVAC technicians enjoy good job stability because someone will always need their services. In addition, as more and more buildings are constructed, there will be an increased demand for HVAC technicians. It also means that you will have more freedom to choose where you want to work.

The Opportunity to Help People

HVAC technicians have the opportunity to help people every day. It is because they provide a service that is essential for many people's comfort. In addition, HVAC technicians often go above and beyond to help their customers. For example, they may work long hours to get a heating or air conditioning unit up and running again. What's great about this is that you can see the effect that your work has on other people.


HVAC technicians have the opportunity to specialize in a variety of different areas. This means that you can focus on what you're interested in and develop the skills you need to be successful. Some of the sites you may want to specialize in include installation, maintenance, and repair. By becoming specialized, you will be able to stand out from the competition and increase your chances of finding a job.

The Ability to Start Your Own Business

HVAC technicians who have the necessary skills and experience may want to consider starting their own business. This is because it can be a very profitable venture. In addition, it will allow you to be your boss and set your hours. Starting your HVAC business can be a great way to secure your financial future and advance your career.

What Are the Job Outlook and Salary Expectations?

The job outlook for HVAC technicians is excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in the field will grow by 5 percent from 2020 to 2030. As the population grows, there will be an increasing demand for HVAC technicians to install and repair air conditioning and heating units.

In terms of salary, HVAC technicians earn a median annual wage of just over $50,000 per year. Keep in mind that these figures are just estimates, and your actual salary will depend on several factors, including your experience, education, and location.


Becoming an HVAC technician is a great way to secure your financial future. You can become a part of this growing field with the proper training and certification. There are many different specializations to choose from, so you can find an area that interests you. And with the excellent job outlook and salary potential, there's no reason not to start your career as an HVAC technician today.