What Does it Take to Become an HVAC Technician?

Do you like fixing things around the house? Did you help your friends install their furnace or thermostat? All of these tasks can come together as a career. As an HVAC technician, you spend most of your time monitoring, installing, cleaning and repairing components of an HVAC system. Whether it is heating, ventilation or cooling, you are responsible for the comfort of your customers.

What is HVAC?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Add an R at the end for refrigeration. These are the systems in your house or office that heat up, cool down or bring in clean air. The HVAC system is a compilation of different components that include the mechanical system on the outside of the structure that blows in or removes old air. The HVAC system also includes the furnace, air conditioning unit, thermostat, ventilation ducts, and electricity (or gas) that powers this system.

What Does an HVAC Technician Do?

HVAC technicians are responsible for installing, clean, troubleshooting, repairing and maintaining the elements of an HVAC system. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an HVAC technician will:

  • Install, clean, troubleshoot and maintain HVACR systems.
  • Install electrical components and wiring.
  • Monitor, inspect and test HVACR systems and components.
  • Discuss system malfunctions and repair needs.
  • Repair, refurbish or replace worn or defective parts.
  • Recommend and implement maintenance to improve system performance.

What Does it Take to Become an HVAC Technician?

In addition to an interest in how things work, becoming an HVAC technician is easier after completing an HVAC diploma program. When you build upon your ability to take things apart and figure out how to fix them and add a structured diploma program in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, you prepare yourself for a career. During an HVAC diploma program, you not only work on HVAC systems and gain practical knowledge, you also build a set of skills that help you be successful.

What Skills Do You Need to be a Successful HVAC Technician?

There are many skills that help an HVAC technician become successful. The key skills for success include mechanical skills, attention to detail, problem solving, communication and time management.

Mechanical Skills

Much of what an HVAC technician does is install, repair, and fix the mechanics of an HVAC system. Whether it is replacing a component, removing ventilation ducts or replacing a thermostat, the HVAC technician must be good with their hands and able to figure out how things work. In addition to mechanical skills, the HVAC technician must have good stamina and manual dexterity. An HVAC technician will work in residences and commercial sites for long periods, standing, crouching and walking. Having the stamina to withstand this body stress is important. The HVAC technician also works with small parts, tools and other HVAC system components. Having manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination are important while working with these small parts and components.

Attention to Detail

HVAC systems are intricate and attention to detail is important. Making sure every aspect of the HVAC system is monitored and repaired takes a strong attention to detail. It takes proper step-by-step problem solving and use of checklists, so they don’t forget anything. One error and the client could be out in the cold, literally.

Problem Solving

Part of the job of an HVAC technician is to assess a problem and come up with the solution. Whether an HVAC system is malfunctioning, or a fuse is blown, the HVAC technician must use a methodical approach to understand the problem, identify the solution and implement the fix. A good HVAC technician will not get frustrated when something does not work as planned but stays calm and uses their education to solve the problem at hand.


The HVAC technician is always talking with a client, conversing with dispatch, talking to vendors or working with colleagues. Good communication skills are a must for an HVAC technician to clearly and concisely convey issues that need fixing. The HVAC technician will also need to convey the amount of time it will take to fix an HVAC system or whether they need help from a colleague. The ability to communicate in writing also comes in handy when the HVAC technician must make reports to their supervisor or colleague that pick up the notes for additional work on the HVAC system.

Time Management

Anyone that has an HVAC system that is not working properly may either be too hot or too cold, and time is of the essence. A happy client means repeat business, and fixing problems in a timely manner can keep clients happy. The HVAC technician will also have a list or clients that they are to see in a day. Making sure to spend the proper amount of time with each client takes good time management.

Final Thoughts

Do you have the skills needed to be an HVAC technician? Are you mechanically inclined, have a strong attention to detail, are a good problem solver, communicate effective and good with your time? Becoming an HVAC technician may be the right career for you. Take the time to learn a trade that is in demand and secure your future as an HVAC technician.

Want to Learn More?

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 program at Florida Technical College.

* These examples are intended to serve only as a general guide of possible employment opportunities. There are many factors that determine the job an individual may obtain and Florida Technical College cannot guarantee its graduate any particular job. Some positions may require license or other certifications. We encourage you to research the requirements for the particular position you desire.