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The Beginner’s Guide to a Career in HVAC: Choosing an HVAC School

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by Florida Technical College

A career in HVAC presents great opportunities for anyone willing to train and learn how to install, repair, and maintain heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. The construction industry in the U.S. took a hit during the recession, but has been rebounding in recent years. According to statistics and forecasts, new construction is expected to grow and keep growing for many years to come, which means that there will continue to be a need for trained workers who graduated from an HVAC school.   It’s not just new construction that makes this an enticing industry. HVAC systems are not designed to last forever. There is always a need for maintenance, repair, and installation of new systems, so for someone going to HVAC school to learn these skills, the future is bright and includes a lot of job stability. If you like to work with your hands, think on your feet, problem solve, work with people but also be self-directed, and you like to do work that people appreciate and that you can actually see in front of you when you’re finished, HVAC is a great option.   Choosing an HVAC School – First Know What You’re Getting Into Before you actually get to the part where you choose a school, it makes sense to understand just what it will mean to get trained in HVAC and to enter this industry. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and many skilled workers in this field are also trained in refrigeration and programmable logic controllers (PLC).   Technicians trained at an HVAC school are usually prepared to work on systems in both residential and commercial settings, but it may take a few years of on-the-job experience to work up from a residential to a commercial technician. As an HVAC technician your job could include installing new systems, repairing existing systems, and performing routine maintenance to help keep older systems running well. Technicians usually work for a company, but mostly work independently throughout the day and are responsible for decision making on the ground. Every day is typically in a new location with a new problem to solve, so this is not a job for someone who wants to sit in an office and do the same thing day after day.   When you choose to train to be an HVAC technician you can expect to get into an industry that is growing. It’s a smart choice if you want a career with skills that will always be in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), HVAC careers are growing at a rate of 14 percent, much faster than average, overall job growth. The BLS also records the average annual salary for an HVAC technician as $45,110. For workers with more experience and specialties, the salary can be significantly greater than the average.   Are You Ready for HVAC School? Now that you know a little more about what it means to work in HVAC, are you ready to choose a school to get your training? To be an HVAC technician it is important to understand that you need training, but there are also characteristics of your abilities and personality that will make you more likely to succeed in the field. For instance you need to be able to be physically active and stand on your feet for much of the day. This isn’t an office job. You also need to have good customer service skills, an ability to troubleshoot and make independent decisions, and good time management. You also need to be prepared to spend a little over a year training and earning a diploma at an HVAC school.   Choosing the Best HVAC School to Meet Your Needs If you have made it this far and are still excited about HVAC, you’re ready to start figuring out where to go to school. This is an important step to take because your HVAC school will teach you what you need to know to work in the field, should help you find an apprenticeship or a job, and will be the place you spend the next 12 to 18 months of your life.   Choose a Quality HVAC School. This goes without saying, but how do you know a school is a quality school or that you will get a quality education? One of the easiest ways to know that you are choosing a good school that will serve you well is to make sure it is accredited. Accreditation is a process that some schools go through to prove that they provide a valuable education for the money students pay.   Accrediting agencies are independent organizations that spend years looking into a school to be sure it meets all requirements and provides the kind of education it promises its students. FTC is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and is licensed by the Florida Department of Education Commission for Independent Education. If an HVAC school is not accredited, take a pass.   You Want an HVAC School that Provides Full Training. HVAC systems are only getting more complicated and more technical. Don’t settle for an HVAC school that has not kept up with the times. Training alone is no longer enough in the field of HVAC. You want a school that will also train you in refrigeration repair and installation, as well as PLC. FTC’s diploma program for HVAC includes both so that you get a complete, well-rounded education in HVAC/R and PLC. Look for Small, Hands-On Classes, Not Big Lecture Halls. HVAC maintenance, repair and installation are skills. These are not academic concepts. Although you will need to learn some theory, which may be taught lecture style, what you really want to look for in an HVAC school is the chance to get your hands dirty. You want small classes, plenty of one-on-one time with instructors, the chance to collaborate with and learn from other students, and most of all the kind of training […]