Mechanical maintenance of equipment and systems is crucial in the line of HVAC work. HVAC professionals looking to work in the realm of mechanical maintenance engineering will need to pursue education and training which encompass the maintenance, inspection, testing, and repair of components such as fans, compressors, pumps, and other specialty equipment. 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 covering the mechanical specialty 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 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. Training typically involves 3 years of working at the journeyman level in the maintenance and repair of mechanical systems.
Most mechanical maintenance engineering programs last anywhere from 15 months up to 4 years. 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. Introductory courses taken by most students of any type of program include those that cover the fundamentals of electricity and refrigeration, electrical wiring, and troubleshooting. After the completion of the introductory courses, students will be required to complete specialization courses which may include topics such as motor systems, technical math, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, material science, circuit analysis, and even entrepreneurship.
Due to the complexity of the job most aspiring HVAC mechanical maintenance engineers enroll in 4-year bachelor’s degree programs. 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 concentration. Although this type of program is longer than a typical HVAC program or associate’s degree it leads to almost double the 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 mechanical maintenance engineering 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.