How Do I Start a Career in HVAC?

If you are a technical person who loves solving puzzles, overcoming challenges and working with your hands, then a career in HVAC could be right for you. Technology has made some jobs either obsolete or much harder to acquire, but HVAC career opportunities are still thriving.

Although you can start to learn HVAC by jumping in headfirst or by watching YouTube videos, most successful HVAC technicians learn through a formal education. Not only will you learn everything about HVAC, but you will prove to employers that you are serious and have the training to start working on day one. So, what does an HVAC technician actually do?

What Does an HVAC Technician Do?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Some technicians are called HVAC/R technicians because they also handle refrigeration equipment. As the skillsets continue to expand, these professionals remain some of the most essential and valuable workers throughout Florida communities.

As a certified HVAC technician, you will handle the installation, maintenance and repair of various types of heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment. Projects can range from small to large and be anywhere from a two-bedroom residential home to an entire public school. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC job duties include:

  • Installing, maintaining, and repairing (servicing) HVAC equipment.
  • Installing and working with electrical wiring.
  • Working closely with clients to educate them about their hardware and how to use their HVAC products.
  • Troubleshooting problems and providing customer service.
  • Identifying worn or defective parts and managing their repair or replacement.
  • Recommending product upgrades and maintenance services to improve system efficiency and stability.

The day-to-day tasks of an HVAC technician vary depending on where they work and their skill level. However, you can rest assured that you will always have something to do, and you will never be forced to sit inside all day at a desk. This is a great alternative career path for people who are not interested in traditional office-based jobs. Skills you will need as an HVAC tech are:

  • Patience.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Determination for problem solving.
  • A friendly attitude and good communication skills.
  • Ability to interpret and understand different types of data.
  • Ability to remember small details, like the technical components of different products.
  • A love of learning as this job requires ongoing training to support new technologies.

All of the education you need to service different types of hardware and equipment will be taught during your HVAC training program. Now that you know what a career in HVAC looks like, it is time to learn how to make it happen.

How Do I Start a Career in HVAC?

There are a few steps to starting a career in HVAC. Once you graduate high school, it is on to vocational school. Then you apply for a basic license. Some advanced licenses require a few years of work experience.

Graduate High School or Earn Your GED

Florida requires that HVAC technicians are at least 18 years old and have completed their fundamental education. You can apply to vocational school programs with a high school diploma or GED. GEDs can be completed at any age, so even if you dropped out of high school or were unable to complete it when you were younger, you can get a GED and be well on your way toward achieving your career goals.

Apply to a Vocational School

You will have to complete an accredited HVAC certification program in Florida to be qualified for work. Whether you intend to apply to a company or be self-employed, you must complete your vocational program. To become an HVAC technician in Florida, you must complete a training course from an approved institution.

HVAC certification programs can be completed in as little as 15 months, attending full time. During training, you will learn all the basics to prepare you for work as an entry-level HVAC technician. Subjects include:

  • HVAC diagnostics.
  • HVAC equipment and components.
  • Electricity and mechanical engineering.
  • Residential & commercial HVAC and refrigeration systems.
  • Math and electrical basics for diagnostics, installation and repairs.
  • Systems design and installation practices.
  • Workshop HVAC system maintenance and repair

Attending a vocational school for your HVAC certification can help you get into the workforce and start your new career. You can build your entire career from the ground-up. The soft skills you will learn at vocational school are also important to your future success. Every career requires more than just technical ability. You will work closely with your instructors and fellow students to build communication, self-management and problem-solving abilities.

Earn Your HVAC License

You will need a license to work as a certified HVAC technician in the state of Florida. There are different licenses depending where you work in Florida and on what HVAC systems or refrigeration systems you work on. Some advanced licenses require a few years of experience.

Final Thoughts

You may choose to specialize in a certain discipline, like commercial or residential HVAC or one day open your own HVAC business. Working at the same company long enough can qualify you for advancement; with some hard work, you can work toward a supervisor or manager position, managing big projects. Whatever path you choose your career as an HVAC technician all starts by being certified through a qualified vocational school.

HVAC Diploma Program

Ready to start working toward your HVAC/R diploma? The HVAC/R with PLC Diploma Program offers students the technical and practical knowledge and skills to perform heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning maintenance, installations, and repairs. Students will also learn basic skills related to the programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Graduates from this program will be able to fill positions at construction firms, as well as residential and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning companies

Ready to move from the classroom to a career? Florida Technical College is here to help. Contact us to learn more about completing the HVAC/R technician diploma program at Florida Technical College.