To become an heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician, you must complete training. Training usually involves a couple of different routes. If you go through a school training program, you’ll learn the trade through classroom and hands-on instruction. You can be career-ready in as few as 6 months. Find training now.
Apprenticeships also have classroom and hands-on learning. They take longer to complete, up to 5 years. But they can have many benefits, including getting paid while you learn.
What is an HVAC Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships are training periods for people going into the skilled trades, where they learn from someone who is a master of the craft.
As with most other apprenticeships, HVAC apprenticeships are often “earn while you learn” positions. Depending on where you are apprenticing, it will take anywhere between 3-5 years to learn the trade.
Learn more about the different types of HVAC careers open to you: HVAC Tech Careers
How to Find an HVAC Apprenticeship
There are union and non-union apprenticeship programs for you to choose from. Either can be a great way to learn the HVAC trade, but both can be highly competitive.
To begin an HVAC apprenticeship, you must be:
- at least 18 years old
- a high school graduate (or have a GED)
- able to present a valid driver's license
- able to pass a drug test
- physically able to work in some demanding conditions
- have some background in algebra
Your employer may require additional qualifications. If there isn’t an apprenticeship position open for you, don’t put off your education — or you will put off your potential income as an HVAC technician. In 2021, the average annual pay for HVAC techs was $54,690 (bls.gov).
In place of waiting, you can attend an HVAC program through a community college or trade school and train in as few as 6 months.
Salary of an HVAC Apprentice
While you're apprenticing, you will be working on jobs under the guidance of a master technician— and you'll get paid too! It won't be the average HVAC salary referenced above, however. HVAC apprenticeship wages begin around minimum wage, or a little higher. As you advance in your training, your pay may increase with experience.
Working in HVAC
Once you have earned your state license, you are qualified to work either for a contractor or even to start your own business.
Train for a position in this always-in-demand industry by finding an HVAC school near you.
There are also accredited online HVAC programs available in many locations across the U.S.