Individuals considering a career in the HVAC industry as an HVAC contractor will need to enroll in an accredited HVAC school, and complete the coursework required for graduation and ultimate certification. HVAC courses are designed to cover all of the basic areas of knowledge expected from a trained HVAC professional, ranging from basic mechanical and electrical knowledge to the intricate constructional details of specific HVAC systems.
HVAC Tech Courses: Mechanics
While specific HVAC technician courses differ from between HVAC schools, almost every program requires that students take some variation of a mechanics course. In these classes, students study the mechanical and physical properties of refrigeration, ventilation, and heating units, often with a particular focus on the refrigerant cycles. These courses also introduce students to the basic tools and parts used in the HVAC industry, like gauges and vacuum pumps. Finally, any course in mechanical knowledge will generally include some discussion of safety procedures around machinery.
HVAC Courses: Electronics
In addition to the mechanical nature of various HVAC systems, most technicians-in-training will also take HVAC certification courses in the electrical circuitry of certain HVAC units. These classes cover the electrical makeup and workings of motors, transformers, thermostats, and gas valves, while also providing instruction for ways to repair and troubleshoot certain electrical systems. As in the case of courses in mechanics, students will generally be offered some kind of hands-on instruction and guidance during study, which will factor into the course examinations.
HVAC Training Classes: Refrigeration and Heating
Since refrigeration and heating systems make up the foundation of the HVAC industry, most schools will require students to take HVAC training courses devoted to these subjects. Occasionally, the basics of these systems are taught in one class, but often they are divided into two different classes to ensure that the subject matter is taught in a sufficient amount of depth. In these classes, students will learn about the workings of compressors, forced air systems, different kinds of furnaces, and refrigerant brands, among other things. This is a great class for any aspiring HVAC contractor.
HVAC Training Courses: Air Conditioning Units
In addition to general HVAC training classes in mechanical and electronic knowledge, students are also often required to take classes that address specific HVAC systems, such as air conditioning units. A class in air conditioning units will teach technicians how to differentiate between different systems, and how to repair the units themselves. Often, classes with this level of specificity require students to complete a large project, in which they must replace parts, fix compressors, change refrigerant, successfully complete an installation, or test faulty units.
HVAC Courses: Maintenance and Troubleshooting
While some coverage of troubleshooting and maintenance techniques will likely be included in most classes required for a degree in HVAC technology, almost all accredited institutions will also offer courses that specifically address these strategies. Often, these troubleshooting classes are advanced courses, which build on the basic knowledge of HVAC systems and construction acquired during earlier study. Part of the aim of a troubleshooting course is to teach students to think on their feet, and learn to adapt to and eventually solve different problems that may arise on the job.
These are just a few of the most basic requirements for HVAC certification and training. In addition to these HVAC courses, many students will also take more classes in their designated area of specialization, such as maintenance and service, heating, hydronics (hot water and steaming systems), or ventilation. Special courses are also offered to those who want to focus on HVAC sales or administration of an HVAC business.