How Long Does it Take to Get an HVAC License?

HVAC technicians have to get licenses to practice their trade. To get this license, they need to follow a few steps first. The first is to get a high school diploma. This will take 3 to 4 years. During high school, you should ideally be taking courses in mathematics, shop mechanics, and automotive repair. The next step in the process is to get the appropriate training. This can be done in a few ways and is the main determinant of the time it will take for you to get a license.

A Certificate Program

Certificate programs allow you to learn basic skills needed in the field and prepare you for entry-level jobs in the industry. These programs are usually 6 months to 2 years long and will teach you about repairing, maintaining, and installing heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems. You will also be required to take classes on math, design, physics, computers, and mechanical drawing. Getting a certificate can increase your employability and let employers know that you will be getting continuing education units and keeping up with new developments in the industry. Certificate programs generally offer a more condensed curriculum than degree programs, but an associate’s degree could provide more in-depth understanding.

An Associate’s Degree

It will take you 2 years to complete an associate’s degree in HVAC engineering. During your degree, you will get some general education credits as well as learn about the specificities of an HVAC technician’s job. The best thing about getting an associate’s degree is that it sets you apart from others with lesser credentials. You will also learn about air conditioning maintenance, boiler operation and safety, air distribution, mechanical drawing, sewage and water treatment, temperature theory, and control, etc. When choosing which program is right for you, it is important to make sure it is an accredited one.

HVAC Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is one of the oldest and time-honored ways of learning a trade. During an apprenticeship program, you will be receiving on the job training under an experienced journeyman. Because you will be learning as assistants to experienced professionals, they will be able to teach you all the tricks of the trade.
Some state accredited organizations offer apprenticeship opportunities to students e.g. United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada (UA) or The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART). An apprenticeship takes 3 to 5 years to complete. After receiving your training, you are required to pass a state exam to get licensed.

How Much Do HVAC Technicians Make After Getting Certified?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics, and installers made a median wage of $47,610 per year and $22.89 per hour. The number of jobs available in the field in 2016 was 332,900. This figure is expected to rise significantly with a growth of 15% expected, leading to an addition of 48,800 new jobs in the industry.