The HVAC industry is growing and it has created a huge skills gap that technical schools in Virginia Beach, VA aren’t filling fast enough. Companies are already struggling to find qualified technicians. By the year 2026 the HVAC field will need nearly 50,000 new HVAC professionals (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
How you can become an HVAC Professional
Although there are several ways that you can become an HVAC professional, you can choose to gain experience through apprenticeship or on-the-job training. However, you should consider enrolling in an accredited HVAC program to prepare yourself for the current highly competitive job market. Results from a recent survey by HVACCLASSES revealed that nearly 60 percent of HVAC professionals hold postsecondary certification.
Steps to Becoming a Certified HVAC Professional
Earn a high school diploma: If you aspire to become a certified HVAC technician, you’ll need strong skills in physics and chemistry among other physical sciences. In addition, you should also consider volunteering or acquiring work experience in assisting HVAC technicians.
Complete an accredited training program: You can apply for a certificate or associate’s degree with coursework in energy management, refrigeration, air quality and conditioning, and HVAC systems design. In the HVAC associates degree program, you will learn both theory and practice, and you’ll have the opportunity to work with other HVAC professionals for hands-on training.
Get experience: Before you become a certified HVAC technician, it’s advisable that you get some professional-level experience. You may find an entry-level HVAC job without necessarily having any certification; however, specialists working with regulated refrigerants should have an EPA certification.
Earn the required Virginia licenses and certification: In Virginia, there are three levels of licensing: journeyman, master, and contractor. Additionally, there are three classes of contractor HVAC licenses that you can apply for: A, B, and C. Keep in mind that having a contractor license is mandatory when you have a project whose budget is more than $1,000. You must be pre-approved by the board before you can go through any HVAC licensing exam process.
Importance of Formal HVAC Education
To become successful in the HVAC industry, you should be highly skilled in working on high-tech HVAC and refrigeration equipment. This means you’ll need some form of training on all complex concepts. Through formal education, you will learn all the concepts, such as the refrigeration cycle and laws of thermodynamics.
Formal education will also train you on how to install and troubleshoot both residential and commercial HVAC systems. Through formal education, you will also receive instruction in the proper methods of handling refrigerants to prepare you for the EPA certification.
Benefits of Formal HVAC Training Over Self-taught
Because of today’s highly complex climate control systems, those interested in an HVAC career have to undergo an intense training process. Formal education has become very important now more than ever due to the environmental issues which have led to new and more complex technologies. The two most common ways of receiving HVAC training are through vocational school and apprenticeship.
HVAC training through a vocational school
Before you join a vocational HVAC training college, ensure that it offers EPA approved certification and is an authorized ESCO and Nate Testing center. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that, HVAC vocational courses mainly focus on the theory part of temperature control, construction, and equipment design. You will also learn how to install, maintain, and also conduct HVAC repairs.
Advantages of a vocational school
Networking opportunities: Although America prides itself for being meritocratic, there’s no denying that you stand a better chance of landing the sweetest HVAC jobs through a personal connection to someone in the industry. Your classmates could turn out to be your-in-the door HVAC dream job a few years from now.
Skilled instructors: Vocational schools employ the best professionals in the industry who not only understand the skills and professionalism that goes into HVAC but who are also certified. All instructors have years of experience in the industry as well as teaching.
Prepare Yourself for a Promising Career
Interested in becoming an HVAC technician? Your first step will be to get the right education for the job. An Associate in Occupational Science in HVAC Technology with Service Management could be the first step into a rewarding career in the HVAC industry. Connect with ATI today to learn more about this exciting program.