To become an HVAC technician, you must complete training. This can be done through two different ways. 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 five 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 “earn while you learn” positions. Most likely, you’ll start around minimum wage, but you can make more as your skills increase. 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 beneficial 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 algebra background
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 2019, the average annual pay for HVAC techs was $51,420 (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 with your master technician—and you'll get paid too! It won't be the average HVAC salary referenced above: When you’re just starting out in your apprenticeship, you’ll earn minimum wage or a bit higher.
As you move along in your training, your salary will rise with the experience. Payscale reports the average hourly rate for an HVAC apprentice is $16.37/hour. This translates to roughly $32,000 annually.
Working In The HVAC Field
Once you have earned your state license, you are qualified to work either for a contractor or set up your own business. So, start your career in HVAC! Train for a position in this always-in-demand industry by finding a HVAC school near you.
There are also accredited online HVAC programs available in many locations across the U.S.