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HVAC is the abbreviation for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. Those who work in this occupation are HVAC technicians. The skilled trade of HVAC maintenance and repair requires up to five years of classroom and on-the-job training. Skilled HVAC technicians earn an average salary of $44,860 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2010. HVAC apprentices earn wages while learning the trade and work under skilled professionals until training is complete.
Attend courses in high school that will prepare you for an HVAC apprenticeship. HVAC technicians understand the fundamentals of math, physics, chemistry, computer applications and electronics. Coursework focusing in these areas will prepare you for an apprenticeship.
Obtain vocational training either in high school or immediately after. Some vocational and technical schools offer six to nine months of training in HVAC resulting in a certificate and others offer training in one or several related disciplines, such as mechanical drawing, electronics or plumbing. All of these programs include understanding and reading blueprints, which is required for HVAC occupations. Most of these programs award a certificate or diploma upon completion.
Find a local chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. This organization sponsors craft training and apprenticeships in a variety of trades. Its formal apprenticeship programs are registered with the United States Department of Labor. Contact a local office and apply for an apprenticeship program in HVAC. No previous training is required for this organization, but education and training may improve your chances by showing your interest in an HVAC career.
Research and understand the requirements for HVAC credentials recognized by the industry. HVAC technicians often obtain credentials administered by the National Center for Construction Education and Research, the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation, and the North American Technician Excellence. Obtain these credentials as you become qualified for them. Requirements vary for each credential, but understanding how and when you qualify to take each credentialing exam will also improve your chances to enter an apprenticeship program.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition -- Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
- North American Technician Excellence
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2010 -- Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers