How Do I Become an HVAC Technician in San Diego?

Become an HVAC Technician in San Diego
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Do you enjoy working with your hands and have a passion for helping people? If so, then becoming an HVAC technician could be the perfect career path for you. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, referring to the categories of household and commercial systems you’d be working with on a day-to-day basis. As an HVAC technician, you will assist customers in keeping their homes or businesses cool in the summer and warm in the winter. After graduation, you would have the choice of working with businesses, residences, or both. Either way, you’d have the opportunity to make a real difference in peoples’ everyday lives.

What Does an HVAC Technician Do?

HVAC technicians have various duties, and it’s not uncommon for them to perform a task one day and work on something entirely different the next. However, there are a handful of typical jobs you would do regularly as a certified HVAC technician.

HVAC System Management

You will frequently be installing, cleaning, and maintaining various HVAC systems. You will learn how to inspect appliances and diagnose the proper fix. In those cases, you will discuss the malfunctions with the client and conduct a repair or replace a worn-out or defective part. Many customers would ask for your guidance on properly caring for their HVAC systems.

Ultimately, you will learn the tasks needed for optimum HVAC performance, reliability, and efficiency. You will be responsible for any job your customer needs concerning their furnace, heat pump, air conditioner, ductwork, thermostat, or other home comfort system.


That said, many HVAC technicians choose to specialize in one or two areas. For example, you may decide that inspecting, cleaning, and repairing air ducts is your specialty. In that case, you could be a ductwork specialist and work exclusively in that HVAC category.

Granted, the broader your services are, the more work you’ll likely have. Once you become a licensed HVAC technician, you’ll have numerous opportunities. You could work as an independent contractor for an established HVAC company or even start your own HVAC business. So, how do you become an HVAC technician in San Diego?

How Do You Become an HVAC Technician in San Diego?

Being an HVAC technician is something that requires some knowledge and practice. Those who do the job constantly work with complex equipment, some of which can even be dangerous for a beginner. So, for obvious reasons, you can’t just start working as an HVAC technician in San Diego.

Enroll in an HVAC Program

The first step toward becoming an HVAC technician is enrolling in an HVAC program at a trade school in San Diego. You’ll receive a detailed education about the career’s requirements and responsibilities there. At ATA College, you can complete an HVAC program in as little as 10 months. After completing your course, you’ll receive a certificate demonstrating that you’ve learned the trade.

Get Real World Experience

You will also train in student workshops and participate in externships in the San Diego area. For most people, seeing the concepts they’ve learned in trade school demonstrated in a real-life setting helps to solidify the knowledge and provide extra context.

In addition to watching your mentor work, you’ll learn how to handle the tasks yourself. You’ll start by doing minor jobs, such as insulating a refrigerant line or cleaning out a furnace. As you learn and improve, you’ll be given tasks that are more and more challenging and significant.

What Do You Learn During an HVAC Technician Program?

During your time in an HVAC technician trade school program in San Diego, you’ll learn about the many intricacies of how the various HVAC systems operate. For example, you’ll learn all about how heating and cooling systems are able to distribute air through a household or office building. You’ll also learn about ventilation systems, including the subjects of both outside air exchange and venting the fumes from combustion furnaces.

Air Conditioning & Heating Systems

Your trade school lessons will cover air conditioning systems and the mechanics of how they create cool air and control humidity. Since you’ll eventually be installing, maintaining, and repairing these HVAC systems, you’ll also learn all about their electronics and control circuits. In addition to being taught about the more common gas-burning furnaces, you will learn about electric heating systems and the process they use to produce warmth. Your lessons will also cover heat pumps and the ins and outs of how heat pumps transfer heat from outdoors instead of creating it.

Refrigeration Systems

Refrigerants are used in many different HVAC systems, as they help with the transfer of heat. So, to ensure that you’re knowledgeable about those aspects of the job, you’ll learn how to handle refrigerants properly and safely. Because trade school programs are very in-depth, you’ll also learn about many of the more obscure and uncommon HVAC-related topics. For example, you’ll learn about hydronic HVAC systems and how they utilize water to transfer energy through buildings. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to gain an understanding of airside equipment, such as air handlers and fan coil units.

Licenses & Certifications

Finally, your course will teach you about the different available HVAC-related licenses, when they’re needed, and about doing your job in San Diego, while following all necessary codes, standards, and regulations.

At the end of your trade school course, you’ll be required to apply for a universal Section 608 Technician Certification, which certifies that you are qualified to handle refrigerant substances. These certifications are managed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in accordance with the Federal Clean Air Act.

What Are the Benefits of Formal Education?

In addition to having access to all the valuable lessons outlined above, attending a formal HVAC education has many additional benefits.

Comprehensive Curriculum

When you attend one of these trade school programs, you’ll know that you’re getting a complete, comprehensive education. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have learned the knowledge and skills necessary to become an HVAC technician.

Experienced Instructors

This formal education program also provides you with the opportunity to work closely with knowledgeable, experienced instructors. Beyond the curriculum, you’ll have direct access to these excellent resources. If anything is unclear, you can ask the necessary questions and even get one-on-one time with your teacher.

Hands-on Training

Another benefit of HVAC trade school programs is the opportunity to practice your craft working closely with machinery, getting hands-on experience. When you attend an HVAC program in San Diego, you’ll get to work with real HVAC equipment and systems. You’ll practice many of the same tasks that you’ll perform for real customers at their San Diego homes or businesses. This practice not only lets you physically apply the concepts you’re learning, but it also gets you accustomed to handling the systems that you’re training to work with professionally.


Attending a trade school program to become an HVAC technician will also give you opportunities to get your foot in the door of employers in the San Diego community. One example of this is externships, in which we will help you get a position and receive practical experience in a real HVAC business environment. ATA College will also provide you with career services to help get you started with your first job in the HVAC industry.

Final Thoughts

So, now you have a good idea of what you need to do to become an HVAC technician in San Diego. If you enjoy working with your hands, learning about systems and mechanics, having a diverse day-to-day schedule, and helping people, then becoming an HVAC technician may be an excellent career choice for you. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll have your certifications and start earning. Now is the perfect time to enroll in an HVAC technician program and begin your new career.

HVAC Technician Diploma

Ready to train as an HVAC technician in San Diego? The HVAC Technician program at ATA College has been designed to prepare you for entry-level positions as a Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanic and/or Installer through relevant classroom knowledge and hands-on technical skills. Gain hands-on experience and college credits with local employers during a five-week practical externship.

Contact us today to learn more about HVAC technician career opportunities offered at ATA College.

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