HVAC professionals looking to work in the realm of electrical technologies will need to pursue education and training which cover the installation and maintenance of electrical equipment as well as its repair. HVAC professionals who are interested in pursuing this career path will first need to obtain a high diploma or GED before obtaining further education or training within the field. Following the completion of higher education and training, most applicants will be required to pass an exam covering this specialty and then obtain licensure before work.
HVAC Electrical Tech Education and Training Programs
Once potential workers have obtained either their high school diploma or GED they will be required to acquire some form of higher education as well as training. It is often most preferred that those entering the field obtain at least an associate’s degree or graduate from either a technical or vocational trade school. In some cases, potential HVAC electrical technologists might obtain a bachelor’s degree in a specialized electrical field. Alternatively, HVAC electrical technologists may participate in an apprenticeship program.
Most electrical technology programs are extremely short with some taking as little time as 3 months. Programs are available in person as well as in a hybrid platform with most of the program is offered online and the other portion being hands-on either in the classroom or within an apprenticeship. Most courses taken by students for this type of program include the fundamentals of electricity as well as electrical wiring for both residential and commercial systems. For those who choose to pursue the apprenticeship route programs typically take around 4 years on average to complete and with each year requiring students to complete 144 hours of technical electrical training in conjunction with 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. Following the apprenticeship, students must pass a state-specific certification exam to become licensed journeymen. Journeymen who want to become master electricians will complete another four-year apprenticeship and take an additional exam for the master electrician license.
Upcoming HVAC electrical technologists within the next few years may decide it’s best to enroll in 4-year bachelor’s degree programs as electrical technology continues to advance. Programs with this time frame generally allow students to have more time towards hands-on research and projects as well as provide a more in-depth experience towards the student’s electrical concentration. Although this type of program is longer than a typical HVAC program or associate’s degree it leads to a much higher earning potential and allows students to stand out during the interview process for jobs. Students with four-year degrees also tend to advance more quickly within their careers due to the experience they’ve already received and their vast knowledge of the subject matter.
Those who are seeking apprenticeship programs for HVAC electrical technology should look to unions such as the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States (UA) or the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART). Unions such as these and others that are similar generally offer programs that involve classroom training in conjunction with on-the-job training. Apprenticeship programs generally require up to 600 hours within the classroom and provide thorough preparation for major certifications including EPA Section 608, OSHA, First Aid/CPR, and United Association STAR Certification.