You’re interested in getting started with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), but you aren’t sure which course to choose. If so, the following article will help guide your decision!
In this list are various options for those looking to get into the HVAC field and start earning money without wasting years at school.
Introduction to HVAC Certification Programs
HVAC certification is a process that ensures an individual has the necessary skills and knowledge to work in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry. There are many benefits to becoming HVAC certified, such as increased job security and higher wages.
The program provides theory and training, enabling students to begin an entry-level HVAC Technician Career upon graduation.
How to Become a Certified HVAC Technician
Step 1: Receive a high school diploma
To become an HVAC technician, you must first choose a certification program. There are many extraordinary certification programs available, every with its requirements. Once you have chosen a program, you must meet the necessities of that program to be certified.
A licensed HVAC technician has completed precise training and tests on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. To become a certified HVAC technician, you should have a high faculty diploma or equivalent and an entire certification program from a certifying body.
Certification programs vary, but most require at least 900 hours of training. After completing a certification program, you can work as an HVAC technician, maintaining and improving the efficiency of building heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.
Step 2a: Complete an accredited HVAC program (option 1, six months to two years)
There are three main options for HVAC training: full-time, part-time, or apprenticeship. The duration of the program depends on the chosen option, but most programs last between six months to two years.
Apprenticeships are the longest HVAC training, lasting up to five years. During an apprenticeship, students learn on the job under the supervision of a journeyman or master HVAC technician. Apprenticeships typically combine in-classroom instruction with on-the-job training.
Shorter programs, such as those lasting six months to a year, are typically offered at technical schools or community colleges. These programs often offer more hands-on opportunities than longer programs.
Longer programs, which can last up to two years, are typically offered at trade schools. These programs offer more in-depth classroom instruction than shorter programs.
Step 2b: Complete an HVAC apprenticeship (option 2, three to five years)
An HVAC apprenticeship is a training program that takes anywhere from six months to five years to complete. The length of the program depends on the student’s schedule and needs. There are three different types of HVAC apprenticeship programs: self-training, apprenticeships, or programs that take around two years to complete.
Self-training involves learning about HVAC systems on your own. This option is best for those who are already familiar with how HVAC systems work. Apprenticeships are paid programs that last anywhere from two years to five years. During an apprenticeship, students learn about HVAC systems from experienced professionals.
Programs that take around two years to complete are typically offered at community colleges or technical schools. These programs provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to become certified HVAC technicians.
Step 3: Apply for additional industry competence certifications and pass examinations (timeline varies).
To become a certified HVAC technician, you must first complete a training program and pass certification exams. There are many accredited training programs available, from HVAC Excellence to PAHRA. To become certified, you need to take several exams and complete training, which may include Section 608 certification. Certification exams and licenses require practical experience, typically under a licensed contractor.
Step 4: Pursue national and state certifications or licensure (timeline varies).
- Pursue formal, classroom-based HVAC training: Many aspiring HVAC technicians choose to complete formal, classroom-based HVAC training at a community college or trade school.
- Can be accredited by industry organizations: Industry organizations such as HVAC Excellence and Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) accredit many of the HVAC programs.
- Include Section 608 certification and preparation for other industry certifications: As part of the curriculum, aspiring technicians may receive on-the-job instruction working under licensed contractors before taking certification exams and receiving licenses. It is usually necessary as certification exams and licenses require practical experience. Certification exams and licenses usually require at least one to two years of practical experience before you can obtain them.
HVAC Certification Boards & Requirements
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
ASHRAE certification is required for HVAC professionals in North America as it provides a standard of excellence.
Different organizations certify HVAC professionals, including the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACA), the Air Movement and Control Association International (AMCA), the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ACRI), and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACCNA).
ASHRAE offers certifications in mechanical engineering and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).
The HVAC Excellence certification is a credential offered by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (ACHRI) to technicians who have at least two years of experience in the field. The certification requires an exam and demonstrates competence in areas such as carbon monoxide safety, fuel oil combustion, electric heat, and light commercial air conditioning.
The HVAC Plus certification is a tougher credential that covers more topics than the regular H.E.A.T certification. It is offered by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (ACHRI) to businesses of all sizes. The Plus program includes a 100-question assessment, an exam component, and 25 questions to gauge employability skills.
The goal of HVAC Excellence is to provide technician certification that is progressive and relevant to the modern industry. Various educator credentials demonstrate that the holder is skilled in a specific topic area. The Certified Subject Matter Educator (CSME) credential is ideal for those who want to teach multiple areas of HVAC. To be a CMHE, you must pass six exams with a score of 80%.
The EPA certification is a certification that professionals can receive to demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of environmental topics. To become certified, technicians must pass approved EPA examinations. Delaware Tech offers approved test types, including Test I, II, III, and Universal. To take the exams, technicians must have a photo ID and be registered for the course.
North American Technician Excellence (NATE) & Industry Competency Exams (ICE) Exams
In order to become a certified HVAC technician, you must pass a core exam and one specialty exam. The five installation specialties are air conditioning, air distribution, heat pump (air-to-air), gas heating (air), and water heating (water). You can specialize in a particular field of service by taking a service specialty exam.
NATE offers industry competency exams (ICE) which cover a range of residential and commercial HVAC systems and related skills. NATE offers the ARI/GAMA Competency exams. Section 608 certification is offered for HVAC system installers and performance verifiers.
Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA)
The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) offers several certifications for HVAC technicians, including the CARO and CIRO certifications. The CRST – Certified Refrigeration Service Technician and CRES – Certified Refrigeration Energy Specialist exams are offered to HVAC technicians who specialize in industrial refrigeration.
The RETA offers a range of certifications for technicians in industrial refrigeration, with the CRST certification being for those specializing in industrial refrigeration specifically, and the CRES certification is for those specializing in energy efficiency in industrial refrigeration systems.
Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) is a certification body for HVAC technicians. To be eligible for RSES certification, students must pass an EPA-required Section 608 certification exam. The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society provides a variety of HVAC certification levels and specialized written exams. The R-410A training and certification provided by RSES is exclusive to active members of the organization.
HVAC certification is typically required to work with refrigeration systems. Some HVAC programs go beyond the minimum requirements and prepare students specifically for higher levels of certification.
Online Programs & Preparing for HVAC Certification Exams
HVAC technicians need to be certified to work with air conditioning, refrigeration, and climate control systems. The cost of certification and licensing can range from $100 to $300. The requirements for HVAC certification vary from state to state.
Online HVAC programs typically provide an exam voucher as part of the tuition so students can prepare for certification exams. Students should compare the program to their state’s requirements to make sure it is relevant. Online HVAC programs can help students boost their credentials and prove their skills.
Licenses and Certifications for HVAC Technicians
There are a few different licenses and certifications that HVAC technicians can get in order to work in the field. A certificate from a technical school is one way to show that an individual has the skills needed to work as an HVAC technician.
There are also certification exams, such as the EPA 608, that individuals can take in order to show their knowledge of heating and cooling systems. In order to be certified, HVAC technicians must complete a course on the topic.
Cost of Enrolling Online HVAC Certification Programs
In-person HVAC trade school enrollment can cost between $1,500 and $15,000; a complete beginner-level online HVAC certification can cost as little as $799.
Select programs may offer tuition reimbursement upon completing a certification program for students working for specific companies. Other programs may provide financing to avoid the burden of paying one large sum of money upfront.
Things to Consider When Choosing Online HVAC Certification Programs
Choosing the best online HVAC certification program requires careful consideration of several factors. The quality of the education offered by the program is important, as is the student’s preferred class format.
The length and price range of the program are also considerations. Finally, students will want to make sure that the program prepares them well for any licensing or certification exams they may need to take.
Skills You Will Learn
Safety is a top priority for those in HVAC certification programs, and apprentices learn work practices that follow state and federal law. Students also learn about the installation and service of equipment, duct work, and tools. Power drills, benders, and snips are just a few tools students will learn to operate.
Furthermore, HVAC certification programs teach students how to use saws, hand tools, torches, and sheet metal fabricating machines.
HVAC Training Program Career Outcomes
The HVAC Training Program provides students with the knowledge and skills to pursue a career in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry. The program offers hands-on training in installing, maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing HVAC systems.
Students will also learn about electrical wiring, refrigeration, and ductwork. After completing the program, graduates will be prepared for entry-level positions as HVAC technicians.
There are various HVAC certification programs, tech courses, and education options available to those seeking to enter the field or advance their career. With so many options available, it’s important to research the program that best fits your needs.
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FAQ on HVAC Training Schools and Programs
Q. What is an HVAC technician, and what do they do?
HVAC technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. HVAC technicians have a variety of responsibilities depending on the job they are called in for.
These responsibilities include testing pipes and circuits, changing filters, and connecting equipment to other sources. HVAC technicians work with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to maintain them and fix any issues.
Q. How long does HVAC certification take?
HVAC certification generally takes less than a year to complete. The process begins with an online application, followed by a testing session. Successful completion of the certification requires passing both the online and testing sessions.
The course will teach you the basics of HVACR quickly, covering topics such as accurate measurement and conversions, heat carrying capacity, condensation and vaporization, and air weight and value.
Q. Can you get HVAC certification online?
To get HVAC certification, you must complete a course and pay a fee. The fee varies by state but typically ranges from $100-$300. You will also need to research which state’s licensing requirements you must meet before choosing a school.
HVAC certification is important to work with air-conditioning installation, commercial refrigeration, and climate control systems. Many online HVAC programs include an exam voucher as part of the tuition cost. This allows students to take the Section 608 Technician Certification exam, which is necessary for certification.
Q. What jobs can you get with an HVAC certification?
The Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration program will prepare you for entry-level technician positions with heating, ventilation, and refrigeration companies. As an independent contractor, you may also perform maintenance and repairs on HVAC/R systems.