If you enjoy working with your hands, can think critically, and are interested in mechanics, you might want to consider getting a job as a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician. These employees are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing various unit systems. They might work in residences or in commercial buildings. If you choose to become an HVAC specialist, you should be comfortable making house calls, deliveries, and working by yourself if need be. People in this occupation have well-developed mechanical skills, are detail-oriented, and are also physically strong. If these adjectives don’t describe you yet, they could by the time you graduate from a certified HVAC education program. Most people who work in the field today have some sort of certificate or diploma signifying that they are knowledgeable in the technical areas related to HVAC installation and repair. Whether or not you are required to do so (and if so, what kind of program you need to complete) will vary by state.
The shortest certificate programs for becoming an HVAC mechanic are six months, if you choose to go full time. These programs will provide you with the essential skills you need to work as a professional in this industry. Sometimes these programs are aimed at people who already have a basic knowledge of plumbing, electrical work, and math, and focus more on developing those skills to a level at which you can be HVAC certified. Students learn essentials such as thermodynamics and temperature, as well as fundamentals like electricity. Studies will also include courses in areas such as troubleshooting flow. Programs that also include classes in refrigeration might include classes such as refrigerant types and applications, and how to read diagrams. Coursework may also include studies in more general areas of education, such as math. Skills in place values, fractions, decimals, and other mathematical components are necessary to excel in this career path.
Associate Degree Programs
Associate degree programs take more time than certificate options, and typically last between 18 months and two years, although exact program times may vary based on your schedule. A portion of these programs are based in practical experience, so students will learn hands-on how to repair systems, design heating and air conditioning systems, service them, test equipment, and read blueprints. Many of these programs also have general education requirements that are typical of most institutions that offer associate degrees. These may include English, Communications, Mathematics, and Social Science classes. Many time these programs also offer more flexibility for the student, as they can choose between different options for classes and pick their own electives. Some colleges also allow students to specialize in a minor related to HVAC mechanics to help them further their studies and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Despite the hands-on quality of HVAC mechanics, some schools do offer some or all of their program online. These courses might utilize a variety of features common in distance learning, such as videos, diagrams, regular communication with instructors, or occasional in-person class visits. Online programs give you the flexibility to set your own learning pace and graduate whenever you find the time. This method can be particularly appealing to those who have full-time jobs or familial obligations while engaging in their studies.