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How to Prepare for a Career as a HVAC Technician

In the current economy, the most abundant jobs are those related to trade careers such as HVAC technician. If you are interested in working as an HVAC Technician, getting the proper training and preparation is critical. In the article below, adapted from How to Become A HVAC Technician, we've summarized five main points that you should keep in mind as you prepare this career.

High school students may prepare for a career as a HVAC technician by taking courses like: technology, chemistry, physics, English, physical education, and business. Additionally accesses trade or vocational training courses in: blueprint reading, electronics, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, and computer applications increases a student's acceptance into formal training programs. Working as an assistant to a plumber or electrician also assists in increasing acceptance into future training programs.

An apprenticeship program allows students to learn through hands on mastery of basic skills and classroom instruction. Students participate in a three to four year training program to advance from basic tasks to more difficult tasks. Students take courses in: blueprint reading, mathematics, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, system evacuation, refrigerants, system charging, automatic electronic and programmable controls, heating systems, AC and DC power sources, and domestic appliances to advance to HVAC technician jobs as journeymen.

Successful completion of a 6 to 12 month career diploma program or undergraduate degree training program are qualified for employment as HVAC technicians. Students within an associates degree program take courses in: refrigeration and air conditioning technology, system evacuation, refrigerants, system charging, automatic electronic and programmable controls, commercial refrigeration, heating systems, AC and DC power sources, fuel systems, and domestic appliances. Two year associates degree programs allow students to access courses in: HVAC/R fundamentals, electromechanical systems, heating and air conditioning residential systems, heating and air condition commercial systems, HVAC installation procedures, energy alternatives duct design, computer applications, and blueprint reading. Students in 4 year bachelor degree programs take courses like: introduction to electricity, introduction to refrigeration, schematics, technical writing, air conditioning/organizational communication, heating, commercial HVAC, pneumatic control, commercial refrigeration, energy management systems, and environmental systems.

Most career diploma and undergraduate programs require students to complete an internship under the supervision of a qualified HVAC technician as well as certification examinations offered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Both organizations offer students credentials necessary for employment as an HVAC technician, expanded client bases, and access to continuing education upon a candidate's demonstration of proficiency learned through relevant training programs.

Graduate degrees in HVAC technology do not exist. Students who wish to advance to master or doctoral degrees must choose a HVAC related field, like mechanical engineering. Master degree students complete courses in: statistics, physics, solid mechanics, instrumentation and measurement, thermodynamics, heat transfer, energy conversion, fluid mechanics and dynamics, hydraulics and pneumatics, drafting (CAD/CAM), and business organization before completing a masters thesis and internship. Master degree students may advance to doctoral degree programs or gain employment as managers of mechanical engineering departments. Doctoral degree candidates participate in courses like: development and operational evaluation of physical systems used in manufacturing and end-product systems, hydraulic and electric systems, computer information and technology, statistics, and business organization and management. Doctoral candidates must complete an internship and publishable dissertation before gaining employment as researchers or professors in the field.

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