Is a career as an HVAC Technician right for you?
Here are some things to consider before you decide:
After completing a trade school program and receiving your Universal EPA certification, you can expect to make $32.12 an hour or $66,809 a year plus overtime and benefits.
It is one of the most in-demand trades in North America.
There are over 145,142 Heating & Air-Conditioning Contractors businesses in the US as of 2023, an increase of 3.5% from 2022. (IBIS World)
The right personality type to become an HVAC Tech is someone who is:
Excellent Customer Service Skills
Familiar With Equipment Testing
Willing To Work in All-Weather Conditions
Dependability and Trustworthiness
The Career Journey
Apply For & Attend Trade School
- Programs are offered Nationwide
- Average length of program is 18 months, though some can be as short as 12 weeks
- The cost of an HVAC Technician program can range from $12,000 to $35,000. When vetting a program and its cost, determine which certifications you will receive upon graduation. It is important that you are job-ready at the completion of the program or you may require more schooling.
- Skills you will learn: Air Conditioning, Gas Heating, Basic Electricity, Indoor Air Quality, Heat Pumps & Electric Heat & Employment & Certification Readiness
Find an Apprenticeship
- Apprenticeships are 3-5 years
- You can apprentice while attending school which means you are able to earn while you learn. Some employers will even sponsor your school tuition if you commit to a multi-year employment contract post-graduation.
- An apprentice will typically earn $23.00 an hour, but your wages will increase as you earn your licenses and certifications.
Earn Your Credentials
- Type I EPA Certification – This certification covers the repair and maintenance of small HVAC appliances. This would include things like window A/C units and residential refrigerators and freezers.
- Type II EPA Certification -This level is for larger appliances that operate at high pressure. It would include things like outdoor A/C units and commercial refrigerators.
- Type III EPA Certification – Low-pressure systems that do not fit under the small appliance category are covered by this certification.
- Universal EPA Certification – If you are certified in Type I, II, and III, you have earned your Universal EPA and can work with refrigerant in any type of HVAC equipment.
- NATE Certification – NATE is short for North American Technician Excellence which is an exam-based certification that must be kept up to date throughout your career.
Become a Journeyman
- Requires a set amount of classroom and on-the-job hours to qualify
- Every state’s requirements to become a Journeyman vary, however, most will require at least 2 years of experience and passing of an exam.
- Hourly wages drastically increase after your Journeyman’s license is obtained.