JOB STARTS IN HVAC
Starting a new career or learning new skills to meet the job qualifications for jobs in the heating and air conditioning field can be overwhelming, if you do not know where to begin.
Even the greatest HVAC techs and installers started at the bottom.
What basic qualifications do employers look for? Employers generally prefer applicants who have completed basic HVAC training with certification of completion. Programs generally last from 3 months to 2 years and lead to a certificate or an associate’s degree. Training is designed to prepare students for the EPA certification exam. Employers require workers to have a high school degree or GED, a driver’s license with a clean record and the ability to pass a background check prior to hiring.
What industry credentials are needed for entry level tech jobs? To maintain, service, repair, or dispose of refrigerant-containing equipment technicians must be certified under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. In addition, states, counties and metro areas vary in licensing requirements. Ask The Blue Collar Virtual Trade School about your area.
Does the industry offer paid internships, or learn-while-you-earn programs? With a shortage of people entering the field compared to the jobs available, employers may offer paid internship programs.
How are newly certified HVAC techs trained on the job? Typically techs begin by working alongside experienced technicians. At first, they perform basic tasks such as insulating refrigerant lines or cleaning furnaces. In time, they move on to more difficult tasks, including cutting and soldering pipes or checking electrical circuits.
What does an Apprenticeship involve? Some technicians receive their training through an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs usually last 3 to 5 years. Over the course of the apprenticeship, technicians learn safety practices, blueprint reading, and how to use tools. They also learn about the numerous systems that heat and cool buildings.
What skill sets do employers value in newly certified techs? Character and commitment to an HVAC career are very important.
Customer Service Smarts: Technicians often work in customers’ homes or business offices, so it is important to be polite, patient and punctual. Repair technicians sometimes deal with unhappy customers whose heating or air conditioning is not working.
Math & Mechanical Skills: Techs need to calculate the correct load requirements to ensure that equipment properly heats or cools the space required. Techs also install and work on complicated climate-control systems, so they must understand HVAC components and be able to properly assemble, disassemble, and, if needed, program them.
Physical Strength: Techs may spend many hours walking and standing. They may also have to lift and support heavy equipment and components, often without help.
Time Management: Employers frequently require a set number of daily maintenance calls. Techs need to use time management skills to keep a schedule and complete all necessary repairs or tasks.
Troubleshooting Skills: Techs must exhibit the ability to identify problems with malfunctioning heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems and then determine the best way to repair them.