HVAC technicians, sometimes referred to as HVAC/R technicians, install, repair, and maintain heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) systems that control the air quality within a building. They install and repair systems according to blueprints, install electrical wiring and systems controls, connect systems to fuel and water supply lines and air ducts, and test, repair, or replace damaged or defective parts. HVACR technicians sell contracts to clients to regularly inspect and maintain their building’s HVACR system.
HVAC technicians have traditionally learned their trade on the job. Today, HVAC technicians typically hold a certificate or associate’s degree in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technology. HVAC certificate or degree programs, some of which are available entirely online, can take anywhere from five months to two years to complete. Technicians may instead receive their training through a three to five-year long apprenticeship program that combines on-the-job training with technical instruction. Formal apprenticeships are offered by professional associations such as the National Association of Home Builders, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. Some states require that HVAC technicians be licensed. Licensure requirements will vary by state. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires technicians to be certified in the proper handling, conservation, and recycling of refrigerants.