Heating Up Your Future: 8 Tips for Starting Your HVAC Technician Career

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
May 7, 2019

May 7, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

It's more common in American homes to have an AC unit than a garage, dishwasher, or dining room. In fact, Americans use more air conditioning than all other nations combined.

But what do you have to do to become an HVAC technician? Read on for 8 tips to help you get started. 

Why Choose a Career in HVAC?

Heating and cooling homes and businesses is not a luxury. That means that your job fulfills an ever-present need.

And, with the rising costs of energy, consumers are focused on finding more efficient ways to heat and cool their homes.

Plus, there are so many options for HVAC technicians. From installers and estimators to product specialists and design engineers.

There's the opportunity for advancement, working with your hands and considerably less schooling than many other jobs. Find out more reasons why HVAC careers are a great choice.

Now, here are 8 tips to get your HVAC technician career off the ground. 

1. Get HVAC Technician Training

There are several options you can choose from to become trained as an HVAC technician.

Apprenticeships are great programs that last between three and five years. The best thing is that apprenticeships are paid. So you'll be earning money as you learn the tricks of the trade.

Another option is a certificate from a trade or technical school. Some employers will only take HVAC technicians with a certificate. Getting this certificate is a great way to make yourself competitive.

There are various online HVAC training programs as well as in-person HVAC classes at trade schools.

2. Get Your HVAC License

The licensing you need depends on the state where you plan to practice your HVAC trade. You may need to take a state exam in order to get an HVAC license. Some states don't need you to get a license.

Make sure to check your state requirements carefully. 

3. Get Your EPA Certification

There are various types of HVAC work out there. Does the type of HVAC work you plan to specialize in involves refrigerant?

If so, the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) requires you to become certified. The EPA certification is a written exam

To gain this certification you must pass a written EPA-approved test to earn a Section 608 Technician Certification. These credentials do not expire. You only need to take the exam once.

4. Get Your Foot in the HVAC Door

As with most industries, getting your foot in the door is priceless to help you establish your HVAC career.

Once you are rubbing shoulders with the right people, opportunities will begin to present themselves. 

Though this tip is easier to say and harder to do, find ways to get connected in your local area.

5. Work for an HVAC Distributor or Wholesaler

Sure, this may not be the place you end up during your HVAC career. But this can be a great first step.

There are many entry-level jobs in distribution. And you'll learn about HVAC parts and what they are used for while getting paid to do so!

Plus, while you're here, you'll be exposed to hundreds of companies that your distributor sells to. You can make all sorts of connections this way. And you'll have some relevant work experience to add to your resume.

Search for the latest career opportunities on AdExchanger. 

6. Learn To Handle Pressure

One of the best things you can do at the start of your HVAC technician training is to learn how to handle pressure.

You will experience many pressure situations during your career. In fact, your whole job is about dealing with bad situations (no heat, no AC, leaks and so on).

Each day you'll arrive in a stressful situation and have to work to fix it. Learning how to remain professional and calm in these situations is key. 

7. Be Personable 

As with many trades, your personality is your business card. No one wants to let someone into their home or business who doesn't seem approachable.

And, your customers will be stressed and nervous about the issue and how much it will cost. Of course, you don't want to make promises about cost without evaluating the situation.

 But you can be friendly and have a customer-service mind frame. Saying things like "let me see what I can do to get you smiling again" can go a long way towards making customers feel at ease.

You don't have to be a social butterfly to be an HVAC technician, but some customer service training can't hurt. 

8. Never Stop Learning

One of the best ways you can set yourself up for success is to never stop learning.

Have the attitude that there's always something new you can learn. There are HVAC pros who have 30 years of experience under their belt. And the best ones are those who go home and research a new piece of equipment.

As a new HVAC tech, you have the great opportunity to ask lots of questions. Find a mentor who can help you grow and succeed.

Then, once you're comfortable with the ins and outs of your job, find ways to continue your learning.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading. We hope these 8 tips on how to become an HVAC technician were helpful.

Remember, skills and training is just one aspect of the job. A focus on customer service will get you referrals and improve your reputation.

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