Ready to start a new career? If you are interested in learning a new trade then becoming an HVAC technician though a trade school program is an easy way to start. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians have access to a growing, diverse industry rich with different job opportunities. So, “What does an HVAC technician do?”
What Does an HVAC Technician Do?
HVAC technicians diagnose, install and service heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Now commonly known in the industry as HVAC/R professionals, these technicians are leaders in the latest HVAC standards and technologies.
Every day is a little different for an HVAC technician. You may be overseeing the installation of a new air conditioner the first day, and the next day, you could be performing multiple tune-ups as homeowners prepare for the coming season. If you work in a commercial building or industrial property, your job may involve monitoring, maintaining and optimizing systems for health, safety and energy-efficiency.
The best part about being an HVAC technician is the ability to build your own career to suit your preferences. Some HVAC professionals specialize in a particular area, like heating, or they decide to open their own business or take jobs as an independent contractor.
Where Do HVAC Technicians Work?
You’ll find HVAC technicians just about everywhere. From driving to various residences to working on-site at a hospital or airport, HVAC technicians can work in many environments.
You can even look for jobs in construction or industrial HVAC if that suits you better. While residential and commercial HVAC technicians may move to different locations for work, some are stationed at a particular company as a permanent member of the staff.
How Do You Become an HVAC Technician?
The first step on the path to a rewarding HVAC career is earning your diploma through trade school. An HVAC training program will teach you what you need to know about heating, ventilation and air conditioning to earn your state license.
Through a trade school, you learn about the fundamentals of HVAC as well as what you need to pass the licensing and EPA 608 certification. The EPA 608 certification standardizes the management and disposal of refrigerant according to the Clean Air Act. All HVAC technicians must pass this exam to ensure they know how to safely work with, dispose of and maintain systems that use refrigerants.
What Do You Learn During an HVAC Technician Program?
Every day at trade school teaches you something new, and you only learn exactly what you need to perform well in your future careers. Without any “filler” electives, you can rest assured that the education you receive will only be relevant to your field and give you the foundation necessary to become a skilled professional. Let’s take a closer look at some of the material you will learn in an HVAC technician program.
How does AC differ from DC currents? How can you optimize a home’s central HVAC system to use less power? How do you calculate the electrical load that a machine will need to effectively heat and cool a room?
Your basic electrical training course will answer all these questions and more. You’ll learn the fundamentals of electrical science, how electricity affects HVAC systems and how to safely work with electrical components on the job.
Safety and Shop Practices
Working with such intricate machinery requires safety protocol. In addition to keeping yourself out of harm’s way, knowing how to safely operate HVAC systems and tools will ensure you make systems safe for others to use as well.
Through several lab exercises, you’ll get to work hands-on with different types of HVAC equipment and tools to learn the safest way to handle any job.
Students in this portion of training learn not only what refrigeration is but how it works to cool air. Refrigeration systems can also expand beyond traditional heaters and air conditioners to include cases in supermarkets and refrigerators in laboratories.
You’ll learn the basic scientific principles behind refrigeration and heat transference, as well as how to apply this knowledge to make informed troubleshooting decisions at work.
Brazing, Soldering and Piping
An HVAC technician must know different types of metal-joining techniques to perform their jobs, especially when making large repairs or installing new HVAC equipment. You will learn how to braze, solder, and assemble different forms of piping commonly used throughout the industry. You will learn not only how and when to use each process but how to select and operate the right tools for the job.
Sheet Metal Fabrication
Sheet metal is used to line ducts. The manufacturing process includes cutting, bending and attaching different types of sheet metal to line ductwork in homes and businesses. While most HVAC technicians will work with existing sheet metal, you may rely more on the fabrication process if you are interested in working HVAC construction jobs.
The duct system delivers heated and cooled air throughout a home. Understanding how ducts work will influence different repairs, modifications and upgrades you make to various HVAC systems. In some cases, you may make repairs to ductless systems, like a ductless, mini-split AC.
Duct systems can also require their own maintenance; cleaning, repaneling and loosening and all fall into an HVAC technician’s wheelhouse.
Heating and Air Conditioning
You will spend the majority of your studies learning how different types of HVAC equipment performs various heating and air conditioning functions. In addition to the science behind heating and air conditioning, you will also get to work with different types of equipment to make repairs, install new parts and gain an in-depth understanding of the system.
Commercial HVAC technicians service retail stores, gyms, medical clinics, restaurants and any other public building. They can also make repairs to large-scale HVAC systems in office buildings and other facilities. Commercial HVAC systems are larger, more complex and therefore, demand their own specialized training and understanding.
Commercial refrigeration can also become an HVAC technician’s specialty; you may decide to operate exclusively with refrigeration systems found in grocery stores, food service businesses and factories. However, you may also need to know how to work with commercial refrigeration systems to make routine job calls as well.
What Are the Benefits of Attending an HVAC Program?
There are many reasons why students choose to attend trade school for HVAC rather than work an apprenticeship. HVAC trade school is designed to give you all the education and support you need to enter the field with confidence. Here are some of the benefits you can expect by attending an HVAC trade school program.
Benefit #1: Complete Curriculum
Learn what you need to know about HVAC, from the essential basics to advanced techniques. From diagnosing to client satisfaction, you’ll build the technical and communication skills you need to perform your job to your fullest potential.
You’ll can also take your HVAC and EPA 608 Universal exams with confidence, knowing that your education covers everything you’ll encounter on the test and in the field.
Benefit #2: Ample Practice Opportunity
You can learn from your mistakes, ask questions and let curiosity guide you as you practice on real HVAC equipment. From typical residential heaters to furnaces and commercial air conditioning units, you’ll build familiarity through hands-on exercises alongside your classmates.
Benefit #3: Industry-Experienced Instructors
All the school’s faculty are experienced professionals who have decided to transform their passion for HVAC into a teaching career. Because they all have experience working in the field, your instructors know exactly what you need to build the right skills and become confident HVAC technicians.
Benefit #4: Career Services
You won’t graduate and have to figure out how to get a job by yourself. Through Career Services, you get the hands-on attention your career deserves. From answering your common questions to helping you build an irresistible resume the Career Services team is always available to help you achieve your dreams throughout your entire career.
HVAC Technician Diploma
Ready to train as an HVAC technician? The HVAC Technician II 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. Learn in small classrooms or hybrid! 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.