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HVAC: Heating and Cooling The Future

Apr 12, 2008
The need for heating, venting, and air conditioning technicians, commonly known as HVAC, has never waned. Well-trained HVAC experts and graduates are skilled with the essential knowledge of system components, tools, brazing and soldering, and more. This includes the installation and repairng of valves, compressors, water chillers, thermostats, heat pumps, connection switches and controls. Effective HVAC technicians are also trained to adjust refrigerant levels as well as work safely with gas, oil, and electric heat.

Among the various trades, the fastest growing specialty is HVAC. It is expected to rise by 31.8% through 2012. This includes job opportunities that include working for and as building contractors, residential maintenance and service companies, plumbing supply and hardware shops, and, of course, self-employment.

Because of the sophistication of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems, employers choose to hire those who have completed technical school training or a formal apprenticeship. Some mechanics and installers, however, still learn the trade informally on the job. A number of high schools, colleges and junior colleges, and even Armed Forces branches offer programs that train prospective HVAC students. This training includes the study of temperature control, equipment construction, and electronics, as well as the basics of installation, maintenance, and repair.

There are three certified agencies that set HVAC academic standards: HVAC Excellence, National Center for Construction Education and Research, and Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation. Upon completion of the academic portion of the training, students typically spend another two and a half years in the field.

Apprenticeships are still very popular and feasible means to gain valuable HVAC certification and training. Apprenticeship programs are usually managed by local chapters of the ACCA (Air-Conditioning Contractors of America), the MCAA (Mechanical Contractors Association of America), and the PHCC (Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors). Official apprenticeships typically span three to five years and involve on-the-job training along with classroom instruction. The topics of study include the use and care of tools and blueprints, and the methods at work with regards to heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration.

Students and prospective apprenticeships must have a high school diploma or GED. And it should be noted that aptitudes in math and reading comprehension are essential for successful HVAC careers. Once an apprenticeship is adequately completed, the apprentice graduates to "skilled tradesman" status and is legally certified to work alone to start his or her own company. It should be noted that some apprenticeships can qualify a student for some college credits.
About the Author
If you're interested in learning how to become a HVAC specialist, try starting with an Ashworth Degree.
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