HVAC professionals looking to work in the realm of electro-mechanical technologies will need to pursue education and training which provide knowledge for the roles of testing and designing systems and equipment, and programming robotics at some level. HVAC professionals who are interested in pursuing this career path will first need to obtain a high diploma or GED prior to 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 and then obtain licensure prior to work.
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 additional training. Most electro-mechanical technicians attend vocational school training and are in school for a shorter amount of time compared to other HVAC technicians. Around 30% of HVAC electro-mechanical technologists have at least a post-secondary certificate and over 40% have an associate’s degree. As technology continues to advance it is becoming commonplace for those entering the HVAC field to obtain as much education as possible in order to secure employment and aid career advancement. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s best to obtain education from programs which are accredited by the ABET.
Most electro-mechanical technology programs last around 9 months up to 2 years and are shorter than other HVAC educational programs. Programs are available in person as well as in a hybrid platform with most of the program being offered online and the other portion being hands-on either in the classroom or within an apprenticeship. Courses taken by students include those that cover the fundamentals of electricity and refrigeration, electrical wiring, and an overview of system design and control. Since most of these technicians work alongside mechanical and electrical engineers at some point during their training and education it’s not uncommon for some to return to school to complete a bachelor’s degree within a related engineering field and even apply to take the PE exam for credentialing purposes.
It is extremely important for those entering this field to learn more about software and technology that are commonly used in the workplace. Aspiring electro-mechanical technologists should look into programs which offer education in the use of programs such as AutoCAD, National Instruments LabVIEW, MRP, HMI, SCADA, Linux and UNIX.
Those who are seeking apprenticeship programs for HVAC electro-mechanical 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 which 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.