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Northwest Technical College – HVAC Training School

Northwest Technical College

From installing the machines and ducts that keep comfortable air flowing through buildings to maintaining vital plumbing systems, graduates of Northwest Technical College can learn two trades through one program.  At Northwest Technical College, you can complete the Residential Plumbing/HVAC training in just 4 semesters, and with the backing of their claimed 100% placement rate, you'll be off to a great start in a rewarding new career.

Through its specialized residential plumbing/HVAC program, study at Northwest Technical College can provide you with an understanding of today's technology-driven, high-efficiency products and their proper installation, operation, and repair.

What Is an HVAC Technician?

HVAC is an abbreviation for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. An HVAC technician installs, maintains, and repairs heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems.  Someone who works in this occupation may specialize in installation, focus on maintenance and repair, or perform all service categories equally. Further, some technicians concentrate on only one type of system, for example, heating, air conditioning, or refrigeration.

What Does an HVAC Tech Do?

Generally speaking, HVAC technicians are heating and air conditioning specialists. As you know, heating and air conditioning systems control the temperature, humidity, and overall air quality in homes, office buildings, schools, hospitals, factories, stores, and other facilities. They help keep us comfortable and healthy.  A technician trained at Northwest Technical College HVAC becomes qualified to perform a range of responsibilities to ensure the smooth and consistent operation of these systems.

Whether you specialize in installation or repair, you'll need to be good with machines, comfortable with electrical work, and handy with a variety of tools. On any given day, your duties might require you to:

  • Perform and oversee equipment installations
  • Troubleshoot and repair HVAC/R equipment
  • Apply local HVAC codes effectively on each job
  • Provide technical support in the field
  • Collaborate with sales and engineering to meet customer needs and market opportunities
  • Configure, design, and install low-voltage wiring

Career Outlook for Northwest Technical College HVAC Grads

The job outlook for a Northwest Technical College grad in this occupational field is excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment will grow much faster in this career area than in the average for all occupations through at least 2024. BLS data also indicates that in 2015, HVAC technicians made a median annual salary of $45,110. Building equipment contractors employed the most technicians, but information services represented the field's highest-paying sector. The job growth rate is projected to continue at approximately 14%  for HVAC professionals through 2024.

Training & Certifications

This hands-on profession requires formal training. To work as an HVAC technician, you must attend a vocational school program or another post-secondary educational program. The HVAC program offered by Northwest Technical College will offer the training needed to become a residential HVAC technician. Most programs take from 6 to 12 months to complete.  

Although trained in all three service areas, many Northwest Technical College HVAC technicians choose to specialize in a particular area such as heating, air conditioning, or refrigeration systems. Those who handle refrigerants must be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some employers will also hire workers who have completed a three-to-five year paid apprenticeship. Although licensing requirements vary greatly from state to state, most technicians must complete an exam. It is important to check with your specific state of interest and the offices of Northwest Technical College about this.

There are various opportunities out there to gain specialized certification as an HVAC Technician. These certifications will expand and distinguish your skill set and knowledge base, which ultimately impacts your earning potential.  For example, you may pursue certification to service small, low-pressure or high-pressure appliances specifically, or take an examination in EPA Section 608 certification or Universal R-410A safety training and certification.

Is HVAC Work Difficult?

An HVAC career is a hands-on profession. It requires a person who is skilled in the technical aspects of this trade and has the necessary "soft" skills as well. The work can be described as physical and highly creative with a focus on problem-solving. To meet the unique and varying demands that each day brings, a tech may need to perform his or her work in small, dark spaces or in a wide-open commercial refrigerator. Temperatures may vary drastically, requiring a technician to endure extreme heat while fixing an air-conditioning unit in July or cold temperatures in order to repair a gas furnace in January.

In terms of soft skills, HVAC technicians like those trained at Northwest Technical College should be strong problem solvers, communicators, time managers, and critical thinkers. These qualities will be an asset when attempting to understand and solve a customer's problem, communicate information to coworkers and customers, and meet the constant demands of arriving on time and completing tasks time-efficiently. This is the life of an HVAC tech!

Why Choose to Train for a Career in HVAC?

There are many reasons why people choose career training to become an HVAC technician. They may enjoy developing a skill not many others can perform. When HVAC technicians are out on a job, they are independent and there to solve a problem. When things go wrong with heating and cooling equipment, it is the HVAC technician that arrives to restore comfort and save the day.

As a graduate of Northwest Technical College working in the HVAC field, your work may bring you pride and a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis. Whether you are building a system from scratch or repairing one that needed work, technicians are often appreciated by clients and customers.

What Does an HVAC Career Involve?

There are two primary lines of business within the HVAC field: the commercial (business) and residential (household) categories. Northwest Technical College students gain the technical know-how to pursue opportunities in either area.

Under each of these umbrellas, many technicians choose to specialize in one primary area such as installation, maintenance or repair. They may also specialize in a certain type of equipment, such as water-based heating systems, solar technology systems, or commercial refrigeration. All technicians require basic skills and training in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems that control the temperature and air quality where we live and work.

Residential Work

In the residential line of business, you may work on systems in houses, condos, apartment buildings, and other dwellings. Additionally, residential HVAC technicians are often responsible for offering and selling maintenance contracts to customers.

Commercial Work

In the commercial category of HVAC service, you will work in office buildings, factories, stores, and warehouses, to cite a few locations. By providing a climate-controlled environment, refrigeration systems make it possible to store and transport food, medicine, and other perishable items.

What Is It Like to Work in HVAC?

After completing and graduating from the HVAC program at Northwest Technical College, you can expect a typical workday as an HVAC technician to start with learning about the specific jobs and service call requests. Employers assign technicians to travel to a customer's location to resolve whatever HVAC-related issue they have. Self-employed technicians may be contacted by customers directly. The job can be to repair a pipe that is leaking, replace a damaged or defective mechanical part, adjust equipment settings for better performance, or any of hundreds of other challenging tasks.

Generally, HVAC techs will perform one or more of the following on each job:

  • Studying blueprints and other specifications
  • Testing pipe or tubing joints or connections for leaks
  • Testing electrical circuits or components for continuity
  • Repairing or replacing defective equipment
  • Improving HVAC system performance by changing filters, cleaning ducts, or refilling refrigerants
  • Installing, connecting, or adjusting thermostats, humidistats, or timers
  • Connecting HVAC equipment to fuel, water, or refrigerant sources
  • Adjusting system controls for balance and efficiency
  • Assembling, positioning, and mounting HVAC equipment
  • Cutting or drilling holes in building structures
  • Configuring and installing low-voltage electrical wiring
  • Make after-hours service calls as required
  • Record and report time, materials, faults, deficiencies, and other issues with work orders

Is HVAC Career Training Right for You?

Is HVAC Career Training Right for You?

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Are you the type of person who will observe all company procedures and safety rules? If that's the case, realize that you will also need to possess the ability to work independently and make sure each job is done correctly the first time. On a typical day, something will require a technician to drive to various locations for service calls. This requires technicians to maintain clean driving records and, often, they must pass drug screens and background checks.  

Further, the physical nature of this occupation requires technicians to have the ability to lift up to 50 pounds or more routinely and be able to push, pull, carry or maneuver heavier items as needed. Many service calls will require a technician to deploy ladders for working from heights or work in small spaces. Overall, to be successful in this field, you must always display a professional demeanor, perform quality work, and exhibit a positive, caring attitude.

Here is a brief checklist of what we've covered, providing a handy way to think through your HVAC career possibilities and the programs offered at Northwest Technical College:

  • Degree, diploma, and certificate options offered
  • Earn multiple certifications from the EPA and HVAC Excellence
  • Students learn on a wide variety of equipment
  • Qualified technicians are in high demand

To learn more about his program and others offered by Northwest Technical College, we encourage you to visit the institution's website.