HRVAC techs are trained professionals that work to install, repair and maintain heating, refrigeration, ventilation and air conditioning systems in homes and businesses. These trained professionals are always in demand whether it’s hot summer days or cold winter nights. Learn the essential facts about these professionals and their career potentials with these basics below!

Individuals interested in becoming an HRVAC technician have several paths to choose from to become a professional. Earning a high school diploma is the first step to success.

Obtain On-the-job Training

Candidates may work alongside a licensed HRVAC tech and obtain training on the job, although, this is rare. Most companies prefer to hire people who have completed formal training.

Earn a Degree

This is the most common path towards becoming an HRVAC tech. Individuals can pursue certificate or associate degree programs at community colleges or technical schools. The programs, which include classroom instructions and lab classes, take anywhere from six months to two years to complete. Some schools assist students with finding internships where they can obtain hands-on training before taking licensing and certification exams.

Complete an Apprenticeship

This path is the longest but provides the most comprehensive training. Apprenticeships can take from 3-5 years to complete and are available through area chapters of HVAC industry contractor associations. These may include the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, Air-Conditioning Contractors of America or the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, among others. Each state has different requirements regarding apprenticeships.

What About Licensing?

HRVAC technicians are required to be licensed; however, licensing requirements vary from state to state. Aspiring techs are recommended to inquire with their state and local government to determine what’s required in the state in which they wish to work. Individuals who will be working with refrigerants are expected to be certified through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Career and Salary Outlook

Licensed HRVAC techs are predicted to see an employment growth of 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to a 2016 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growing need for energy-efficient furnaces and AC systems will keep these workers in demand. A May 2016 report by the bureau indicates that the median annual wage for HRVAC techs was $45,910. Factors that can affect salaries are years of experience, education, employer and geographic location.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employee outlook and general info on HRVAC techs U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wages licensing information EPA certification