You’ve completed your education and received your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning certification, but how do you maintain your certification? Certification is one of the most important qualities that the customer is going to be looking for, so it is crucial that you have the right certifications if you want to get work as an HVAC technician.
Certified or licensed HVAC technicians earn their credentials through their studies and work experience. Not all states require licensing, but even in states with no formal licensing requirements, employers usually prefer job applicants with professional certifications.
In the states that do require licensing, applicants must pass a written exam like the one we provide for our students. For example, Texas accepts a passing score on the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) exam for HVAC technicians in addition to registration with the state government.
It is important to keep your certification up to date and ensure it does not expire. Depending on the type of certification you receive, the expiration date may vary. Some certifications never expire while others need to be renewed every five years.
Types of Certifications
There are multiple types of certifications you can receive including EPA Section 608 Certification, HVAC Excellence Certification, NATE Certification, and more. Each certification is just as important as the other because different states have different licensing requirements for HVAC technicians. However, one of these is recognized across all the states, unlike the rest.
EPA Section 608 Certification
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires everyone with access to a system or container storing refrigerant gas to receive certification. Every HVAC technician has to ensure that the refrigerants used in the systems are handled appropriately because of regulations set forth in the Clean Air Act. Some HVAC certifications are based on specific sections of the Clean Air Act, such as Section 608.
The good news is that Section 608 certification never expires. However, if you lose your certification card, you may have to retake the test depending on your situation.
HVAC Excellence Certification
This non-profit organization was founded in 1994 to improve the technical competency of the HVAC industry through validation of the technical education process. The certification process and the areas of study are similar to those utilized by NATE, though this organization covers the electrical aspects of heating and air conditioning with separate examinations.
The HVAC Excellence certification is really a blanket term for a series of specialized certifications. These range from basic to master-level certifications that require varying levels of preparation. The two more prestigious of these certifications are known as the “Professional Level” and the “Master Specialist Level” and require renewal after five years.
Being able to obtain the North American Technician Excellence certification at the start of your career can only help your reputation as a technician. The NATE certification shows that you have been properly trained and have learned how to specialize in a particular area.
With NATE, you can customize your certification to your specific needs or employer’s requirements. These certifications must be renewed every two years. Renewal requires either submitting 16 continuing education hours every two years or retaking the specialty exam only, before the end of the two-year certification period.
The HVAC industry is a growing industry that continues to attract more people. At some point in the future, there will most likely be a surplus of qualified HVAC technicians. This is where receiving your certification puts you ahead of the competition. After receiving your certification, it is important that you maintain your certification by renewing it when necessary.
Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating in Texas, we can provide you with the resources to become a great HVAC technician. If you are ready to make a career change, be sure to learn more about our program and the classes we have to offer.
The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry has long been a male-dominated industry. Whereas there are more females employed as social workers, human resources managers, speech-language pathologists, and dental assistants, men dominate the skilled trades.
Of the 367,900 Americans employed in 2018 as HVAC mechanics and installers, just 1.4 percent of those were women according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For contractors looking to expand their workforce, a number like this represents a huge potential. There is a need for technical trades, especially as the industry is experiencing high demand.
With skilled labor shortages, HVAC is one of the most in-demand careers on the market. The job outlook for HVAC careers is currently expected to grow 14% before 2024 – double the typical growth for most industries. This will allow for the creation of more jobs for women which is necessary in order for the industry to survive.
In order for businesses in the HVAC industry to grow and find quality employees for the future, business owners must look outside the industry’s preconceived idea of what a “service technician” looks like. When most people picture the average HVAC expert, they likely imagine a man.
Challenging the Stereotype
Challenging the stereotype that HVAC technicians are always men is the first step to encouraging women to join this ever-growing industry. Once that is completed, women are often excited by the possibilities. A career in HVAC certainly offers a lot more than your typical day job!
In general, women communicate well, pay attention to detail, analyze situations and solve problems. These interpersonal skills in combination with HVAC skills can really help women succeed in the industry, and these skills can also help the HVAC industry as a whole.
However, misconceptions about female HVAC technicians could be impeding the overall progress. Some people believe women are not strong enough or smart enough to work in the HVAC industry.
Others think women lack the necessary training to perform the duties necessary to succeed. When women are being trained, they are being prepared to do the same work as a man meaning the training they receive is no different from the training men receive.
Women in HVACR is an organization that was organized exclusively for educational purposes to further the growth of women in all areas of the HVAC industry. This does not just include the technical area but also sales, management, and ownership. They work to debunk myths that the HVAC industry cannot succeed with women in it. Just like Women in HVACR, the organization Women of HVAC exists to include and promote women in an industry traditionally reserved for men.
How We Help
Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating in Texas, we invite everyone to study under our director, Chris Walters. For women looking to better themselves and begin a career in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry, be sure to connect with us to learn more about planning your HVAC career!
If you have any questions regarding the HVAC industry and the education you will receive here, check out some of the common questions we receive and our answers to each. Your career’s ultimate success depends on several factors. Of these factors, the most important is arguably your training experience!
HVAC certification consists of both hands-on work and studying to pass tests. While the hands-on lessons take place in class with fellow students and an instructor, studying generally happens on your own time. Consequently, it can be too easy to let this important part of learning fall by the wayside. How can you prioritize your study time for your HVAC class?
If your current study method isn’t working, it’s time to form new habits that will help you make time to study and absorb the information. After all, the better your study habits, the better your grades will be! Here are just a few strategies to help you study for your HVAC class and get your habits back on track.
Make a Schedule & Stick to It
Building a new habit depends on consistency. As you get used to setting aside daily time for studying, focus on establishing a specific time to get it done. For instance, if you get home around 4 pm every day, have your study time start at 4:30 consistently. Your mind will adjust to this new part of your routine. Don’t just accept any excuse to delay your study time–the more consistent you are with your schedule, the more likely it is to feel natural.
Make Studying a Priority
In life, some tasks are more important than others. Schoolwork follows the same principle. If one assignment is due tomorrow and the other is due in a week, it makes sense to prioritize the one due tomorrow. This may seem like a no-brainer. However, if the task due in a week appears daunting or time-consuming, you may be tempted to try tackling as much of it as possible and accidentally let the more time-sensitive assignment go undone. Don’t let that happen! Learn to organize your homework by priority.
Find Your Learning Style
How do you typically absorb information? Do you do better when memorizing data on your own, with a partner, or by listening to an instructor? Experiment with different styles until you find yourself retaining the knowledge you need for your HVAC class. Once you know how you learn best, keep it up! Allow yourself to find the best strategy for your own needs.
Pro Tip: For involved work like HVAC repairs, hands-on practice and instruction is a proven method. A well-structured HVAC class will help you absorb the information you’ll need for your career.
Studying for an HVAC Class
Everyone learns differently, so what worked for another student may not work for you. However, you’ll never know how much you can improve your study time without trying. Try a few different solutions until you find one that boosts your time management as well as your retention of the material. You can pass your HVAC class!
How can I prioritize my study time for my HVAC class?
If your current study method isn’t working, it’s time to form new habits that will help you make time to study and absorb the information.
Regardless of your career choice, you can never stop learning. This is especially true for HVAC contractors. While this may sound like a no-brainer, the fact that countless American homes have an incorrectly installed AC unit shows that plenty of HVAC contractors don’t see the need to continue improving their work.
With the introduction of such features as thermostats and electronic circuit cards to AC systems, the need for continuous HVAC training became more pronounced. Since electronics change much more rapidly and readily than less advanced hardware, it’s absolutely essential to know how to keep up with these updates and learn how to use this new form of equipment. Unfortunately, not enough contractors see the need to keep learning once their classes are over. Let’s take a look at why continuous learning is relevant to your HVAC career.
Teach Yourself Through Available Resources
You will run into veteran technicians out in the field that thinks they know it all and basically quit learning new stuff years ago. This is a poor approach to any career. Unfortunately, these guys frequently get senior positions and talk with authority. If you get stuck with one of these types and can’t get away from his influence, quit that job and go seek another one.
This need to learn constantly is a good thing since it keeps us in learning and research mode, which makes staying current even easier. There’s no shame in just taking to the internet to search for an AC-related question or advice. Years ago, HVAC technicians relied heavily on books and factory tech support. Now, with smartphones and the internet, you literally have a world of information at your fingertips. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
Continuing Education is Often Legally Required
If your goal is to open your own HVAC business, almost every licensing jurisdiction requires continuing education of 8 hours per year as a minimum standard. By keeping up with this requirement, HVAC contractors can continue improving their work, keep their licenses current, and stay up-to-date on every update to the industry. Whether you have a license or not, get in the habit of learning everything you can as often as you can about the HVAC industry.
Pro Tip: When it comes to the HVAC industry, never stop learning! There’s always something new to teach yourself or a positive change you can make.
Don’t Just be a Tourist
If your ultimate goal is to work your way to your own HVAC business or just use your newfound skills to support yourself, don’t allow it to become just a job. Don’t be a casual tourist of anything that is important to you. Your HVAC business can support you and your family for a long time to come. Do yourself a favor and stay informed to remain competitive in this growing industry.
Keep Teaching Yourself
Like any other career field in the modern world, HVAC recommendations and work change very frequently and with little warning. If you fail to keep yourself updated and educated on how to handle these new changes, your career will be rather short-lived. Keep your career on track and your customers happy by educating yourself on any topic relevant to the HVAC field. Never stop learning!
Should I keep learning once my HVAC classes are done?
Yes, continuous learning is relevant to your HVAC career. Continuing education is often legally required.
Thank you for considering The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating in your quest for HVAC training. If you have viewed our website or taken a tour of the facility, you probably already know what we have to offer that is unique to our program.
First of all, please know that we care about you and we intend to do everything to give you more than you expected. Once you pass through our doors, you become part of our club and we are here to help and guide you long after you graduate. Let us be the training center you need to start your HVAC career.
Common Questions & Answers
Even after a tour or browsing session on our website, you probably still have plenty of questions about The Training Center. We’ve compiled the most commonly asked questions we receive, along with their answers, here for your convenience:
- How are we different?
- What is a subject matter expert?
- Why was this school started?
- Is this class for you?
- Why learn the HVAC trade?
- What do our students say at graduation?
- Why should you contact us?
1) How Are We Different?
The class is designed to get the information and labs to you in the most efficient way possible and to use your time onsite most effectively. We are not about filling seats and adding more and more. We are about small class sizes and quality. We do not start students at random times, nor do we switch you to other trade classes in the middle of a course. We all start together and we all graduate together.
2) What is a Subject Matter Expert?
The state of Texas receives numerous applications for subject matter experts, outstanding leaders in their field, out of which only 4-5 experts are chosen annually. Chris Walters has been a continuously selected expert for a number of years and has not only maintained and worked on the class A license exam, but also asked to be part of the class B exam and to help develop a new technician certification exam. Positions like these come at the pinnacle of careers and are limited to applications that hold the highest license type.
3) Why Was This School Started?
Chris Walters started this school because none existed that met his needs for technicians in his air conditioning company. After nearly 23 years of getting other schools’ graduates only to have to train them on almost everything, he decided to do something about it. Starting the school solved his technician problem and allowed other contractors to hire new graduates from the school. Now Chris exclusively spends his time developing and improving the training to keep it cutting edge and always relevant to what is breaking today.
Once he got state approval of the school, Chris sent his helpers through it and immediately put them in service trucks. After training more technicians, the word got out and contractors called almost daily in search of graduates to hire. His hard work has paid off as the school continues to thrive today.
4) Is This Class for You?
This class is for you if you want to learn how to install or repair an HVAC system. Age doesn’t matter–as long as you’re willing to put in the effort and apply yourself, you can launch an HVAC career at any age. Likewise, you don’t need to be an expert in HVAC to take this class. The lessons will be given to you at your level of knowledge and you will never be singled out for knowing too little. No matter where you are in life, we can meet you there and bring you up to speed.
5) Why Learn the HVAC Trade?
There are several reasons why this trade is such a great choice:
- The HVAC industry is suffering from a severe lack of qualified workers since this is not a skill easily learned on the job. The market is wide open!
- The work is challenging, exciting, and the pay is excellent. You can choose to work in a different location every day or maintain some consistency, depending on your preference.
- You can build and run your own HVAC business in just 4 years.
- A/C systems wear out every 10 years, so new opportunities are never far away.
- Big HVAC companies have driven installation and repair prices very high, so you can easily offer competitive prices and earn yourself plenty of business.
6) What Do Students Say at Graduation?
The most important thing we hear from our students is that we gave them everything we promised. It is very important that students trust our comments and then see that we will follow through. We also hear great compliments from the families and employers of our graduates.
Graduation night is very special to us and a great time for family to share in this important moment. We get many warm thanks all throughout the program and we always welcome graduates to return and let us see how they are doing.
7) Why Should You Contact Us?
When you contact us, you will get our undivided attention for as long as you need it. We will not only answer all your questions, but we will invite you to visit us and take a look for yourself. If school is in session, you are welcome to visit during one of the classes and sit in for a few minutes.
Pro Tip: It is very important that you feel at home here and never feel rushed. We just want to show you that what we have to offer is superior to virtually any other training experience you can find.
Jump-Start Your HVAC Career
Your career’s ultimate success depends on several factors. Of these factors, the most important is arguably your training experience. Did you learn everything necessary for your work? Were your instructors and fellow students available for continued support even after graduation? Finding the right trade school is crucial to your career. With the answers to these common questions, you should be able to make an informed decision on where to seek training.
Connect with us to learn more about planning your HVAC career!
If you have been in the HVAC industry for any time at all, you are aware of the massive technician shortage. If you have been in it for decades like many experts have, you are aware this shortage is nothing new. Waiting for this problem to solve itself has not worked in the past and will still not be effective today.
Conventional job search methods, whether newspaper ads or online job postings, are not nearly as effective as they once were in a technical industry. In recent years, more modern methods such as training schools have shown much more promise in creating skilled, dedicated workers. Let’s take a look at what the facts show.
Unreliable Recruitment Methods
Most contractors have tried everything to find technicians, from the newspaper ads of a few years ago to the online job postings of today. The result is usually the same. Either these calls for workers get no responses or attract poor workers who can’t perform. Since good technicians usually don’t have any problem finding a job, they spend far less time searching and thus rarely see these postings. This leaves a contractor in a bad place when trying to grow a business or just keep it running through normal attrition.
At times, a desperate contractor will poach technicians from another business with the promise of additional pay. For instance, some HVAC technicians will find business cards on their service trucks that say, in a nutshell, “I will pay you more than you currently make–call me!” While this method is common, this just breeds service techs that jump companies for additional pay rather than the overall value of that company. If this is your business’s chosen method, don’t expect loyalty from a tech that jumped just for a few dollars. There is a better way.
Get More HVAC Technicians Quickly
Training your own employees is the solution. Who do you know that could be a great technician if they only had proper training? Find a training school that really does teach what is needed. This fast, efficient method of education can give you a quick return on your investment.
Pro Tip: Find a training facility that can balance time commitments with excellent results. HVAC skills may not need years to teach, but can’t be learned overnight either.
Questions to Ask a Potential Training Center
Finding the right tech school requires asking just a few questions until you find one that checks all your boxes.
Questions should include:
- How much of the class is hands-on?
- How many hours will they practice Brazing?
- Will they get to actually build up complete systems?
- How many different refrigerants will they get to recover and charge?
- Is there a hands-on final exam covering the entire learning experience?
- Will they get to remove motors, blowers, fans, and blades from working systems?
- Will they get to do lots of performance testing with superheat and subcooling methods?
- Will they learn how to use a ductulator?
- Was the program taken from a book or custom made based on years of experience?
- Finally, what is the cost and how long does it take to complete?
Be Part of the Solution
If you come to the realization that getting trained technicians will never happen if you do not become part of the solution you will never see a solution to your technician shortage. Invest in your company’s future by investing in training your own hires and you will never have a technician shortage.
Connect with us to learn more about the classes we offer and our students’ ultimate success rates in the HVAC field.