Before becoming a fully certified HVAC technician, it is imperative for all aspiring HVAC technicians to first work alongside a certified HVAC technician for a certain period of time doing an HVAC apprenticeship. Doing so helps the amateurs to learn not only about the various tricks to the trade and know how of the HVAC units, it also gives them the confidence to practically work on operating different HVAC models and units. If you want to acquire a license that enables you to work on HVAC units, you will first need to provide documentation of working experience doing an HVAC apprenticeship. The apprenticeship training method is particularly helpful for those that benefit and learn easily from watching others perform and work. If you want HVAC certification, this is an essential part.
What is an HVAC apprenticeship all about?
Well, working as an apprenticeship helps all aspiring HVAC technicians learn more about the industry, technical terms, and skillset required to perform certain repair and service works. While working as an apprentice, you will be able to get a general overview on all the basics of HVAC units and re-learn how they operate and function, how they are maintained, and how they are repaired etc. You will re-learn the basics of plumbing, heating, refrigeration, electrical and pipefitting work etc.
In addition to that, you will also learn how to carry out tasks such as taking measurements and abide by industry and safety rules and regulations. You will be taught how to use certain specialized tools and equipment too.
In the contemporary world we live in, it is essential for everyone, no matter the profession, to know how to use computer programs and software. Similarly, it is essential for an HVAC technician to learn how to use computer-assisted drafting software programs too. When aspiring HVAC technicians enroll themselves in an HVAC apprentice-training program, they get the opportunity to learn how to use useful computer programs and software, allowing them to review and create digital blueprints.
So, how do you get an HVAC apprenticeship then?
The easiest way you can score an HVAC apprenticeship is if you find a certified HVAC technician/business owner that is willing to take you under his/her wing. You can also search for job openings.
However, you should know that if you want to be accepted as an HVAC apprentice, you must prove your worth and be prepared beforehand. When visiting any HVAC business, you must always have your résumé with you. In addition to that, it is also suggested for you to carry with you your social security card, your driver´s license, and copies of your high school or college transcript. You must be able to convey your sentiments carefully and explain what it is about the HVAC industry that truly captivates you. You must also be able to state why you are looking for a mentor and not exactly a particular certificate.
If you want to increase your chances of getting hired, you will need to submit a CV that paints an accurate picture of your background and abilities. You will need to provide your previous work experiences as well. And, since HVAC technicians must be able to read and calculate gauges, you will need to show to the potential employer that you are good at math and physics!
Of course, the certified HVAC technician might be hesitant to take you in. During such times, you can also increase your chances of being hired by offering to work for free during a probation period.
Fortunately, you can also become an apprentice by getting in touch with an HVAC union. Organizations such as United Association, the Union of Fitters, Welders, Service Techs etc., even sponsor apprenticeship-training programs. It is also possible for you to get an apprenticeship opportunity through different HVAC classes and courses.
Why should you opt to become an apprentice?
Well, there are numerous advantages to becoming an apprentice. When you become an apprentice, you will be able to get a general overview on all the basics of HVAC units and re-learn how they operate and function, how they are maintained, how they are installed, and how they are repaired etc. You will re-learn the basics of plumbing, heating, refrigeration, electrical and pipefitting work etc. Basically, apprenticeship programs help you learn the fundamentals of HVAC units. When searching for an HVAC apprenticeship program, we would advise you to only consider programs that meet the requirements of the BAT (Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training).
What should you opt for—school or apprenticeship?
It is ideal for you to both attend a school that offers HVAC courses and an apprenticeship program. When applying for a license, you will generally have to meet certain criteria including sitting through HVAC classes for certain time, having enough working experience etc.
Joining an apprenticeship program certainly has its fair share of benefits. An apprentice basically has a hands-on experience on everything, allowing him/her to learn while on-the-job. However, attending HVAC classes in schools can be beneficial too. The classes can help you understand the theory behind what you do.
How long do apprenticeship programs usually last for?
Aspiring HVAC technicians are required to clock in a set number of work hours on the job to become eligible for a license. While some apprenticeship programs usually last for 3 to 5 years, there are others that require a 3,000-hour commitment etc.
Is it necessary for you to have an HVAC license to become an apprentice?
Well, it certainly doesn´t work that way. In order to become a licensed HVAC technician, you will first have to become an apprentice.
How much can you expect to earn as an HVAC apprentice?
Most HVAC apprentices, on an average, earn around $10 per hour. However, there are some that even earn $18 per hour. Experienced apprentices can expect to make around $23 per hour in salary. Once you have completed the course, you can earn a lot more, read this salary guide if you are interested.
Going through an apprenticeship program is certainly old-fashioned. However, it is still an effective way for you to earn while learning along the way. It prevents you from racking up a hefty student loan. Only after your apprenticeship program will you be eligible to apply for a license. The license can either help you land a job at a prestigious HVAC company or enable you to establish your own business.