As technology continues to improve and energy efficiency becomes a growing concern to protect our environment, HVAC products continue to be reengineered to become more energy efficient. HVAC careers are becoming more technical. Many employers, state and local municipalities require HVAC technicians to obtain accredited training, certification or a license to practice professionally. Although some hands-on training is required, a variety of schools and credentialing organizations offer online training programs to prepare for HVAC occupations and learn new technologies in HVAC.
Online Programs to Learn HVAC Skills
Online educational programs to learn the skills required in an HVAC career can earn a diploma, certification or degree in HVAC engineering technology. Many of these programs coincide with an HVAC apprenticeship, which provides practical experience for those learning the trade. Some of those interested in an HVAC career use online training programs to increase their opportunities to get an apprenticeship.
Accredited Coursework and Certifications
HVAC professionals can obtain a variety of specialized credentials. Some online schools are accredited to teach coursework to obtain credentials in HVAC from industry recognized organizations. HVAC Excellence and the North American Technician Excellence also offer online and self-study coursework to prepare for certification, but also accredit some online schools. Some organizations accredit online programs to prepare for credentials from government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Green Building Council. This includes the EPA Section 608 certification and a variety of LEED certifications for green building, operation, and maintenance.
Careers in HVAC
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 21 percent increase in the employment of HVAC professionals. The projected growth is due to the construction industry starting to recover from a recent recession, and the continuing focus on replacing old HVAC systems with more energy efficient systems. HVAC systems are generally replaced after 10 or 15 years, which will also increase employment opportunities. As HVAC systems become more sophisticated with specialized computers and electronics, those who obtain accredited training operating and installing these types of systems will have the best employment opportunities. Among over 251,000 HVAC technicians employed in the United States in 2013, the average salary was $46,110 per year or $22.17 per hour. Because the job often requires being on-call or working overtime, salaries can increase, even for those new to the occupation.