Are you interested in becoming an HVAC technician and want to know the highest level of HVAC you can achieve? While the first step in an HVAC career involves completing an HVAC training program and becoming an apprentice, there are a few additional levels you can work toward.
What Does HVAC Stand For?
HVAC or heating, ventilation and air conditioning — helps keep buildings temperate and helps improve air quality. Ventilation systems help circulate the air inside homes or commercial buildings to provide healthy, breathable air.
One of the most common HVAC tasks is to install central heating. Heating units warm the air entering a structure. Heating units can use different fuels, such as gas, heating oil or electricity. As with any mechanical equipment, heating units must be regularly serviced and maintained. This requires an HVAC technician to visit the home or building on a regular basis to ensure that filters are replaced and other critical components are working properly.
Without proper ventilation, the air inside a structure can quickly become stagnant, and the space will not hold a pleasant temperature. HVAC technicians help ensure that all structures are properly ventilated.
Air conditioners are serviced seasonally, as they often operate only when outdoor temperatures exceed a pleasant range, typically during summer. Air conditioners are typically serviced in the spring, right before the warmest months of the year. They require normal filter changes and other refrigerant fluid refills.
What Does an HVACR Technician Do?
An HVACR technician maintains, repairs, and installs heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers typically do the following:
- Install, diagnose, and maintain HVAC systems.
- Manage electrical components and wiring.
- Inspect HVAC and refrigeration systems and components.
- Repair or replace parts on HVAC systems.
- Recommend maintenance to improve system performance.
- Keep records of work performed for future repairs.
How Do You Train to Become an HVACR Technician?
A great way to train to become an HVACR technician is by attending MIAT College of Technology’s HVACR Technician Program. In just 9 months, students gain an education that can help prepare them for entry-level roles in the industry.1 The program can also help prepare graduates to apply for the apprenticeships needed to become licensed in the states of Michigan and Texas, where MIAT’s campuses are located.
In addition to classroom theory and hands-on training, MIAT also prepares students to test for HVACR certifications that are required for HVAC technicians. These certifications include the EPA 608 certification and the NATE core exam.
EPA 608 Certification – This regulation required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ensures that HVAC technicians who maintain, service, repair or dispose of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere are fully certified.
NATE Core Exam Certification – This certification proves technicians’ proficiency in real-world knowledge of HVACR systems. All North American Technician Excellence (NATE) exams are based on Knowledge Areas of Technician Expertise (KATEs) task analyses from experts in the HVACR industry. The NATE entry-level certificate is for HVAC technicians with less than two years of experience.
Do I Need a License to Be an HVAC Technician?
Most states, including Texas and Michigan, require technicians to hold a valid HVAC license. In Texas, applicants must have at least 48 months of practical experience under the supervision of a licensed HVAC technician in the past 72 months, or have held their own technician certification for at least a year and performed at least 36 months of work under supervision of a licensed professional in the last 48 months.
To qualify for a Michigan HVAC license, you must complete at least three years of HVAC work under the supervision of a licensed HVAC technician. You can apply for apprenticeships on your own, but you can prepare yourself by attending MIAT for your education.2
What Is the Highest Level of HVAC?
There are three main levels of HVAC. They include apprentice, journeyman and master specialist. To become a journeyman HVAC technician, one may complete a combination of education and apprenticeship training. Additional experience as a journeyman HVAC technician is needed to take the master specialist certificate exam.
Level 1: Apprentice HVAC Technician – An HVAC technician must have some combination of education and apprenticeship to get licensed as a journeyman HVAC technician. As an apprentice, HVAC technicians work under the supervision of licensed HVAC technicians.
Level 2: Journeyman HVAC Technician – This is an HVAC technician who has completed a combination of HVAC education and apprenticeship training. The journeyman license exam is offered by the states of Texas and Michigan. A journeyman can work solo or manage other apprentice HVAC technicians.
Level 3: Master Specialist HVAC Technician – These techs must pass the journeyman licensing exam and gain an additional three years of experience as a journeyman HVAC technician. The master specialist HVAC technician certification exams are a series of discipline-specific, hands-on and practical certification exams. They help demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for advanced HVAC installation, maintenance and repair.
Now that you know more about the different levels of HVAC, it’s time to learn about MIAT College of Technology. Our campuses in Canton, Michigan, and Houston, Texas, offer an HVACR Technician Program that can help prepare students for apprenticeships. It’s time to take the first step and contact MIAT today.
Want to Learn More?
The HVACR Technician Program at MIAT is 9 months in length for full-time students, assuming no interruption in training, and is offered at our campuses in Canton, Michigan, and Houston, Texas. The training allows students to focus on their chosen field and graduate in less time than it takes to earn a traditional 2- or 4-year college degree or to complete a 3- to 5-year apprenticeship.
To learn more about our HVACR program and to explore whether MIAT is right for you, fill out the form on this page. Contact us today if you’re interested in training to become an HVACR technician.
1MIAT is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.miat.edu/disclosures.