Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) training consists of classroom lectures and hands-on instruction designed to teach students how to maintain, repair and diagnose equipment related to HVAC technology. With technological advances rapidly changing the industry, formal HVAC training is becoming more in demand than in previous years.
There are several ways to receive HVAC training. The most common are:
- HVAC Degree Programs, usually associate’s degrees
- HVAC Certificate Programs, for professionals who already hold a degree
- HVAC Diploma Programs, for high school-educated professionals
HVAC training takes place at an accredited HVAC school, which may be a junior college, career school, or other institution. The length of an HVAC training program depends on the level of education sought, and can be as long as 2 years or as little as 6 months. In addition, apprenticeships and internships can add on to this time, but they often include paid on-the-job training opportunities.
HVAC Training Curriculum
The HVAC industry is growing quickly, and new types of HVAC employment are appearing as technology develops. This growth, as well as new industrial and environmental regulations, have expanded the type of HVAC systems technicians work on and the types of training they receive. The subjects covered during HVAC training have also evolved to prepare technicians for these different systems.
Some courses that may be included in HVAC training include:
- Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
- Boiler Operation and Safety
- HVAC Electronic Controls
- Air Distribution
- Water Treatment
- Applied Chemistry
- Temperature Theory and Control
- Mechanical Drawing
A combination of these classes and others will teach technicians how to install and maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Some HVAC training programs also offer classes in specialized areas of the HVAC industry including solar panel installation and sheet metal work.
In addition to formal HVAC training, some students decide to enroll in an HVAC apprenticeship, which are on-the-job training programs that generally last anywhere from three to five years. They differ from traditional training programs in that they include both classroom instruction and paid job training.
Over the course of an apprenticeship, technicians learn the ins and outs of the HVAC industry. They start with basic installation and move on to more advanced systems and techniques. Most apprenticeships are run by organizations within the HVAC industry.
Some of these organizations include:
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
HVAC Training and Certification
Many HVAC training programs are geared toward helping students achieve HVAC certification. There are several organizations that administer certification, including:
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- HVAC Excellence
- National Occupational Competency Testing Institute
- The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
Most HVAC training programs prepare technicians for certification from at least one of these agencies. Speaking to school reps about which certifications graduates are eligible for can help students decide which HVAC training program is best.