HVAC-R Technicians repair or replace our airflow systems. They work on heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration units. Given today’s technological advancements, this position now requires a proper education, as well as extensive on-the-job training.
Typically, you can obtain a professional certificate from a technical school or your local community college. In some schools, an associate degree or bachelor’s degree program may be offered; however, although rare, you can also find programs offered through an online format. Most programs can take between six months and two years to complete, as you may find programs that will allow you to work at your own pace and some that will require specific deadlines. You may choose which type works for you best.
To begin, you must have a high school diploma. If you’re thinking ahead, there are a few classes in high school that will help you in an HVAC-R career, such as computer science, physics, and chemistry. If you attend a vocational type school, they may offer shop classes that cover mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, electronics, and technical mathematics.
Next, your HVAC-R professional certificate or associate degree program will cover the basics of HVAC-R repair or replacement; however, depending on your online school requirements, you may need to find an apprentice type position to help you apply actual “hands-on” experience. Your online training will include instruction on maintaining, designing, diagnosing problems, and the new installation of all types of heating and cooling systems, including residential and commercial applications. You will learn about the electrical current components, gas piping, heat pumps and water-cooled units, thermostats, capacitors, air distribution balance, switches, cooling system compressors, fan motors, and sensors. You will learn about furnaces, carbon monoxide screening, control systems, hydraulics, combustion analysis, boilers, air duct piping, in addition to HVAC energy conservation, among other topics.
You will also learn about the specific types of refrigerants needed and their uses. If you will be handling refrigerants such as Freon, you will need to pass a certification exam for the type of refrigerants you will be working with. You will also learn about the machinery and tools that are used in HVAC-R work, such as a welder, gauges, refrigerant scales, meters, and other power hand tools, along with the proper safety precautions to use.
In addition to book smarts and common sense, the HVAC-R Technician must be in good physical strength. Some repair parts can be heavy to maneuver and may require you to work in awkward positions. Excellent core strength is a must, as well as manual dexterity and good hand-eye coordination.
You may or may not need to have a state license to work as a HVAC Technician. It will depend on your state’s requirements. If you do, you may be required to show proof of your training and have at least two to five years of on-the-job work experience. If your employer requires you to be certified in a particular skill, there are some organizations that offer testing in specific areas. And, as always, additional voluntary certification testing can improve your employment opportunities.
If you are interested in pursuing this career field, you may want to check our choices for the best Online Schools for HVAC-R Tech Programs.