Guide to Becoming an HVAC Technician


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A career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) requires more than just working on rooftops fixing residential air conditioning units. It’s a career that requires problem-solving, flexibility, and constant learning. If you’re interested in becoming an HVAC Technician, you’ve come to the right place. We will provide you with all of the information that you need for a new career in the HVAC field.


Workers trained in the HVAC field are in demand as it requires a great deal of skill and critical thinking. Each day and each new piece of equipment brings a new challenge for technicians. If you enjoy working with your hands, solving problems, and helping people, a career in the HVAC field may be a good fit for you.


The good news is that you can train to become an HVAC Technician and begin searching for a new position in the HVAC field in as little as 10 months. UEI College’s HVAC Training Program will teach you how to diagnose issues, repair or replace parts, and perform routine maintenance on refrigerators, freezers, and heating and cooling units.

What are HVAC Technicians, and What Do They Do?

HVAC Technicians are trained professionals, who are tasked with keeping heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment running efficiently by maintaining, repairing, or installing such systems.


HVAC Technicians are responsible for testing HVAC equipment, diagnosing issues with said systems, and repairing or replacing any components that fail in them. HVAC Technicians also know how to install new HVAC units, whether it’s an air conditioning unit, climate control system, heating equipment, boiler, chiller, furnace, or even a solar unit.


HVAC work can be physically demanding as technicians may need to climb a ladder or reach into a small space, but the work is more mental than physical. The technician must be able to look at a unit and decipher which piece is causing the problem and then know which tool to use to fix the issue. The issue may be a leak, a broken connection, or a faulty component. To install an HVAC unit, a technician must be able to read blueprints, cut into buildings, drill pieces and follow complex directions. If the job calls for routine maintenance, the HVAC technician must know how to clean components and filters safely, repair leaks, and replace aging parts.


Each day and each job is unique for an HVAC Technician. So, for anyone who likes solving complex problems and finding solutions, it’s a career that promises a new, rewarding challenge every day.


The training to become an HVAC technician includes:

  • Test wires, pipes, and parts for issues
  • Understand how residential, commercial, and industrial heating and cooling equipment functions
  • Clean filters and ducts to improve the system’s function
  • Build all new systems by reading blueprints and using power tools
  • Understanding the manufacturer’s specifications to tell if a unit is running its best
  • How to connect heating and cooling equipment to electricity, water, or fuel sources


Depending on their training and job position, HVAC Technicians may spend their day installing, repairing, or maintaining equipment in a residential, commercial, or industrial setting. They use some plumbing, electrical, and engineering to complete their work.


 “HVAC is the jack of all trades.  When you leave the program not only can you fix A/C unit, but also can fix appliances.  You are a pipefitter, plumber, electrician, and HVAC tech all in one,” said HVAC Instructor Justin Debondt. “To be able to fix something that was broken is very fulfilling. True hero’s create comfort.


The duties of an HVAC Technician may include:

  • Testing air conditioning units, freezers, or refrigerators for efficiency according to a manufacturer’s settings
  • Using power tools and cutting and drilling to assemble a new unit for a residential or commercial property
  • Maintaining equipment and tools
  • Connecting units to electricity, water, or fuel sources and testing connections
  • Testing systems for leaks in pipes, hoses, and ducts
  • Replacing parts to increase efficiency
  • Cleaning filters and other components
  • Following safety guidelines set by government agencies and the manufacturers

How to Become an HVAC Technician?

The easiest way to become an HVAC Technician is by completing an HVAC Program such as the HVAC Technician program offered by UEI College. A hands-on program will ensure you have the complete training to prepare you for an entry-level position as an HVAC Technician.


The steps to becoming an HVAC Technician include the following:


 Step #1: Earn Your High School Diploma or Equivalent

The first step to becoming an HVAC Technician is to obtain your high school diploma or equivalency. Most HVAC Training Programs require students to have a high school diploma to enroll in their program. So, graduating from high school will allow you to begin training to become an HVAC Technician.


Step #2: Enroll in an HVAC Training Program

The next step to becoming an HVAC Technician is to enroll in and graduate from an HVAC Technician Program. HVAC training programs provide students with the knowledge, skills, and hands-on training that they need to succeed in an entry-level HVAC career. Completing UEI College’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Program will make you more marketable in a competitive job market, allowing you to stand out against applicants who have no experience and have not completed an HVAC Training Program.

At UEI College, we are focused on the success of our students and build our programs to prepare them for the real world. What really gives our students the best opportunity to learn is providing hands-on experiences. That’s why all of our classes are built in a hybrid model. Students complete assignments and study new concepts online and through virtual lectures and then come to campus twice a week to put those concepts to practice using real equipment.

Our HVAC Program can be completed in as few as 10 months. Before graduating from our HVAC Program, we will help you write your resume, find hiring opportunities in your community, and practice interview skills. Our compassionate instructors have worked in the field and are an excellent resource for students throughout the program and as they begin their job search.


Courses at UEI College include:

  • Basic Refrigeration Theory and Applications
  • Basic Electricity, Motors, and HVAC Controls
  • Electrical and Mechanical Troubleshooting
  • Heating Systems and Boilers
  • Commercial Refrigeration Systems
  • Regulation and Building Automation
  • Duct Design, Blueprint Reading, and Load Calculation
  • Air Conditioning Troubleshooting and Heat Pump Systems
  • Specialized Commercial Equipment and Green Awareness


Step 3: Earn Some Certifications

UEI College's HVAC Program prepares students for two important EPA Certifications: The EPA 608 Certification and the R410A Certification. After you've graduated from UEI College's HVAC Program, it's time to take certification exams to be able to handle refrigerants. For the EPA 608 Certification, students can earn a type I, II, III, or Universal Certification. The exam is made up of 4 sections of the exam. The first section is “Core,” then Type I, Type II, and Type 3. each section is made up of 25 questions.   Students must pass a core and one type of exam to become certified. The type determines what certification the student earns.  If they pass Core and the other 3 sections of the exam, they will earn a Universal Certification.

The EPA 410a Certification exam is pass or fail and enables HVAC Technicians to handle R410a refrigerants. This is a certification that you should take and pass if you want to become an HVAC Technician.


Step 4: Begin Working in the HVAC Field

If you are unsure what certifications or experience you will need to find an entry-level position as an HVAC technician; you can lean on the experience and guidance of a good training program.

At UEI College, we will walk you through the requirements in your state and ensure you have the skills necessary to become a valuable employee. When it comes time for graduation, we will help you update your resume and find hiring opportunities in your area.


Do You Need a High School Diploma to Become an HVAC Technician?

To train to become an HVAC Technician, you must have a high school diploma. However, if you do NOT have a high school diploma, we have options. You can train to become an HVAC technician while simultaneously working on earning your high school diploma at UEI College.


If you have not yet achieved your high school diploma, UEI College can help. We offer a path for students to earn their high school diploma during the course of their program. In less than 10 months, you could graduate with both your high school diploma and your college diploma.


You do not need a two- or four-year degree from a university to become an HVAC Technician. HVAC Technicians are so in demand that some companies are willing to hire employees with no experience at all, but if you are serious about making HVAC a career you can grow into for years to come, it is best to get training from a trade or vocational college. This ensures that you will have a solid foundational training that will set you up for success.

What Skills Do You Need to Become an HVAC Technician?

HVAC technicians work with pipes, ducts, tubes, wires, chemicals, and more to keep heating and cooling equipment running efficiently. As you can imagine, this requires a lot of technical skills. These technical skills include:

  • Blueprint reading
  • Use of power tools
  • Understanding how to use refrigerants
  • How to test tubes, pipes, and ducts for leaks
  • Testing electrical connectivity
  • How to install new components
  • Interpreting diagrams


In addition to technical skills, HVAC Technicians also need to have soft skills. These soft skills are the skills needed to work independently in a professional environment and are what really set a good employee above the rest. Some important soft skills include:

  • Problem-solving: HVAC Technicians need to be tenacious about finding solutions to issues.
  • Dependable: HVAC Technicians are often working independently. This requires good time management and the ability to push yourself even when no one is watching.
  • Detail-oriented: With technical equipment, there are a million things that could go wrong. Sometimes it takes good attention to detail to notice the small fixes that have a big impact.
  • Excellent communicator: HVAC Technicians must have the ability to communicate the issue they are seeing to someone who may not have the same training and knowledge. This takes a special level of professionalism but is a vital customer service skill.

How Long Does It Take to Become an HVAC Technician?

UEI College's HVAC Program can be completed in as few as 10 months, allowing you to pursue an entry-level position as an HVAC Technician in as little as 10 months!


UEI College’s HVAC Training program can be completed in as few as ten months. Our hands-on program gives students all the knowledge and practice necessary to jump into a new career with confidence. Our ongoing enrollment allows new students to get started whenever they are ready. You can enroll today and begin classes on the next start date. Don’t delay!


Our courses cover:

  • Electricity, motors, and HVAC controls
  • Refrigeration theory and Application
  • Troubleshooting Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
  • Reading blueprints and duct design
  • Commercial refrigeration systems
  • Specialized commercial equipment
  • Regulation and building automation
  • Electrical and mechanical troubleshooting

Should You Become an HVAC Technician?

If you enjoy working with your hands, solving complex issues, and are interested in learning a new skill you can use for years to come, a career as an HVAC Technician may be a good fit for you.


HVAC Technicians are in high demand around the country. Every climate, whether hot or cold or in between, needs heating and cooling equipment and depends on trained professionals to keep that equipment running efficiently. You can also find opportunities for careers in residential, commercial, or industrial heating and cooling.


HVAC Technicians develop a wide variety of skills that may be useful in many different industries. With years of experience, you may find opportunities to specialize in one area, or you may decide to become licensed to train others or own your own business.


The training to become an HVAC technician is also quick and affordable. You can decide today to start a new career and be prepared for an entry-level position in as few as ten months. All the skills and knowledge you need can be found at UEI College.


"It is a good living," said HVAC Instructor Richard Rozecki. "I enjoy working with my hands, and love being outside. As a technician, we are always thinking, troubleshooting, and diagnosing equipment.  Repairing this equipment gives me the satisfaction of helping people. I also love seeing the students get involved in learning the business. As they progress from the beginning classes to the last class with the grand finale of passing the federal exam, which gives them the right to buy and work with refrigerants. I love knowing that the students we send out in the field have a concept of how HVAC systems operate and as they get their first job, knowing that they can feed their families and afford to buy or rent a nice place for them as well. They can rely on themselves for a living."

What Are the Benefits of Becoming an HVAC Technician?

A career as an HVAC Technician provides a unique mental and physical challenge, but it’s a career that you can grow with for years to come. There are many unique benefits to becoming an HVAC Technician, including:


Never boring.

HVAC Technicians learn bits and pieces of several trades during their training. They learn about electricity, plumbing, engineering, and also the chemicals that make heating and cooling systems run. As you take those skills into the field, you never know what problems you may come across and what tools you may need to fix the problem. Each day provides a new challenge and requires critical thinking to solve the problem presented to you. When each day is different, it’s difficult to get bored!


“HVAC is a trade where technology is changing every day so you have to stay up on the newer technology,” Justin Debondt, HVAC Instructor, said. “What I enjoy most about the HVAC trade is the challenge. Every day there is always something new to learn and overcome. What I enjoy most about teaching is watching a student grow in the trade and get better every day in lab.”


HVAC Technicians are in High Demand.

HVAC Technicians are needed across the country to work on residential, commercial, and industrial equipment. You may find opportunities to work indoors, outdoors, or even on construction sites. Not everyone has what it takes to understand these complex systems, but with the right training, your knowledge will be invaluable.


Room for growth.

An entry-level HVAC Technician may start by working on rooftops or on residential equipment, but there are dozens of certifications available to help you grow your knowledge and find new opportunities. You may decide to specialize in solar equipment, heavy machinery, industrial equipment, or air quality, or you may decide to gain experience in the field and open your own business as a contractor. The options are endless!


Quick training.

If a career in the HVAC field has piqued your interest, there is no need to wait to get started. You can enroll in UEI College’s HVAC training program and begin classes usually within a month or less. Classes can be completed in as few as 10 months, giving you the skills and knowledge you need to prepare for an entry-level position.

Why Choose UEI College to Become an HVAC Tech?

UEI College’s hands-on HVAC training will prepare you for an entry-level career as an HVAC Technician, HVAC Mechanic, HVAC Specialist, Refrigeration Technician, HVAC Installer, Refrigeration Mechanic, Engineering Specialist, or Service Technician.


Our programs are focused on giving you skills you can use right away in the real world.


What students are saying:


“Learn a trade as quickly as possible and be extremely dedicated to learning it and soaking it up like a sponge. You’re going to get out of the program as much effort as you put into it… If you take it seriously and put all your time and energy and focus into it, the sky is the limit… To be turning down offers and have your pick of the litter was certainly a rewarding feeling.” -- Brandon, Huntington Park graduate


“Attending UEI put me on a better schedule. It helped me prove to myself that I could start projects and finish them. I could accomplish goals that seemed so far-fetched. I do have technical skills that I’m able to use.” – Jesse, graduate and instructor at UEI College Garden Grove


“The program was really good, and all the teachers have been awesome. They’re all just so motivating, and they’ll tell us about their experiences working in HVAC and the mistakes they’ve made. They let us know so we can try to avoid making the same mistakes out in the field.” – Mark, graduate from UEI Riverside


“UEI gave me the tools to have a future. UEI gave me the education that I could build on for what I’m doing now…Everybody has just been giving me that hand up and the chance. I want to use that opportunity to prove them right in their assessment, their faith, and their decision to take a chance.” – Joseph, UEI College Encino graduate.

Do HVAC Technicians Perform Hands-on Training?

Yes! Hands-on exercises are the best way to learn the skills necessary to be an HVAC Technician. A good training program should give students the opportunity to work with real equipment, diagnose real issues, and use real tools to solve the problem. With this training, you’ll be prepared to handle the same problems in the real world.


UEI College’s HVAC Training program is built on a hybrid model. Students learn technical terms and concepts through online lectures and online assignments. Twice a week, students come to in-person classes to work hands-on with equipment and tools and put concepts into action.

How to Apply to UEI College’s HVAC Training Program?

The Admissions Team at UEI College is excited to walk with you every step of the way through your training program. If you are serious about beginning your training, give us a call today or stop in for a tour of the campus near you.


An assigned admissions representative will show you around the campus and the HVAC lab. We will explain the program, introduce you to the financial aid department, and answer any questions you may have. That same admissions representative stays with you throughout the course of the program. They will be available to answer questions and solve problems to help you confidently make it to graduation.


To begin the process, fill out an online form, give us a call or just stop in. We have staff available Monday through Friday. When you are ready, you can enroll that same day and begin classes on the next start date.

Does UEI College Offer Financial Aid for the HVAC Technician Training Program?

One of the most important stops on a tour of our campus is the financial aid department. We will help you apply for financial aid and any grants or scholarships that apply, as well. Financial aid is available to students who qualify.

Consider Enrolling in UEI College’s HVAC Technician Program

UEI College’s HVAC program provides you with all the training and skills you need to begin building a career in the HVAC field. If you have been considering learning more about this trade but were unsure where to start, we can walk you through the process from training to entry-level employment.


Through hands-on activities/equipment in the lab and online exercises, students will learn how to install, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair HVAC systems and be prepared for the EPA Section 608 Certification and the Universal R-410A Certification. This training and these certifications are the foundation of a successful career as an HVAC Technician. Get started by giving us a call today!