How Long Does It Take to Become an HVAC Tech? - Interactive College of Technology (2023)

Are you interested in becoming an HVAC tech, but not sure if you can be out of the workforce long enough to graduate. The good news is that an HVAC technician program can be completed in as little as 1 year. After graduation, you can start working as a paid HVAC apprentice. After completing the minimum number of hours under supervision, you can work up to becoming a HVAC journeyman. So, what exactly does an HVAC technician do?

What Does an HVAC Technician Do?

HVAC technicians install, maintain, test, and repair heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. As an HVAC technician, you might find yourself doing any of the following:

  • Installing, cleaning, and maintaining HVAC systems
  • Installing electrical components, parts, and wiring
  • Inspecting and monitoring HVAC systems and components
  • Repairing or replacing worn or defective parts
  • Analyzing systems for maintenance to improve system performance
  • Keeping records of work performed for future appointments

How Do You Become an HVAC Technician?

A great way to become an HVAC technician is to attend a trade school program. You can also decide to supplement your education with an apprenticeship for extra hands-on training and experience. During a trade school program, you’ll have the opportunity to work closely with knowledgeable instructors and get hands-on experience working on actual HVAC equipment.

What Do You Learn During an HVAC Technician Program?

During an HVAC technician program, you will learn how to install, maintain, and repair HVAC systems and prepare for necessary certification exams. Some of the courses you will complete during an HVAC Technician program include:

Gas, Electric, and Heat Pump Heating Systems

Whether you’re maintaining, repairing, or installing HVAC systems, you’ll need a complete understanding of how they work. During your HVAC technician training program, coursework and lab training will focus on gas-burning furnaces, electric furnaces, and heat pumps.

These courses will also offer curriculum on the specifics of how each type of heating system functions. Because the method for producing heat is so different for each type of heating system, you will need to learn about all three, as well as their components and the procedures required for maintaining, repairing, and installing them. While gas-burning and electric furnaces are similar, heat pumps are entirely different in virtually every way.

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Residential and Commercial Refrigeration

Working with refrigeration systems is a significant aspect of being an HVAC technician. As an HVAC technician, you will work with residential and/or commercial-grade refrigerators and freezers. The training program will cover residential and commercial refrigeration.

Principles of Electrical Circuits

You will work with electrical circuits to repair many HVAC system issues. Working with electricity can be dangerous, so proper procedure and safety measures are important to learn and follow. Upon completion of your training, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to safely work with electrical circuits.

HVAC/R Computer Fundamentals

Although not every job you’ll perform as an HVAC technician will be focused on the computerized elements of HVAC systems, an understanding of how they work will help you do your job more effectively.

During your HVAC/R program, you will learn the fundamentals of the computerized controls and systems. You’ll learn how smart thermostats and other smart technology work to analyze a system’s external environment and keep it functioning efficiently. You’ll also learn how to effectively diagnose problems that arises with refrigerators and HVAC systems.

Low Voltage Controls and Thermostats

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Low voltage thermostats can handle between 12 and 24 volts of electricity. Rather than powering individual heating units, they can power the home’s main HVAC source and indirectly provide heat using control signals.

During an HVAC program, you will learn about the differences between low and high-voltage thermostats, what they’re most commonly used for, and how to properly install and maintain them.

Customer Service and Safety

Most HVAC technicians are responsible for keeping their customers comfortable and keeping everyone safe. When handled improperly, HVAC systems can be dangerous. During your HVAC training, courses will focus on proper safety techniques and precautions. You will also learn how to properly handle hazardous chemicals like refrigerant.


The final class of your HVAC training program involves an externship. During an externship, you will gain important experience in the field. You will diagnose and fixes real HVAC systems, under strict supervision. Externships are also a great way to boost your resume and stand out among the crowd.

What Are the Benefits of Completing an HVAC Technician Program?

There are many benefits to attending an HVAC technician program. From a complete curriculum to career services and everything in between. Attending an HVAC technician program is a great way to prepare for your new career as an HVAC technician.

A Complete Curriculum

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Interactive College of Technology offers a complete curriculum of commercial and residential HVAC fundamentals and advanced repair techniques to prepare you for more than just a job; you start a career and enter the field as an HVAC apprentice. With knowledge, training, and confidence gained in a lab setting, working on actual HVAC systems, you’ll have the knowledge and skills needed. You can start working as a qualified and capable HVAC technician under the supervision of a HVAC journeyman.

EPA and NATE Certification Prep

Our HVAC technician program also includes EPA and NATE certification prep courses. EPA certification prepares you to handle and dispose of refrigerant. NATE certifications allow HVAC technicians with at least two years of experience to become HVAC specialists. Both certifications are nationally known and respected by employers.

Opportunities to Network with Instructors and Classmates

With industry-experienced instructors and knowledgeable classmates, you have a great environment to learn, grow, and discover HVAC knowledge. Plus, you get plenty of hands-on experience throughout the course that lets you work alongside your peers and build skills that will carry you through your career. Your network of instructors and classmates may also be called upon throughout your career when you need help finding your next job opportunity.

Career Services

Interactive College of Technology has a dedicated career services team that specialize in HVAC job placement and preparation. From the first interview to the final negotiation of a contract, you can look to our team to coach you through every stage of the hiring process. Whether it is preparing for interviews or building your resume, we take pride in following our graduates throughout their career, helping them along the way. We also have strong ties to employers in the community. They know that graduates of Interactive College of Technology are work ready and don’t need a lot of initial training to start working as an HVAC apprentice.

Where Can You Work as an HVAC Tech?

Once you’ve graduated from an HVAC technician program, you’ll need to decide which type of environment you want to work in. Interactive College of Technology can help you understand your options. Whether you want to work for a larger HVAC company or become an independent contractor, it is up to you to decide.

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Working for an HVAC Company

Many HVAC technicians will start out working for an HVAC company that handles sales, customer service, and sends you out on HVAC jobs. This opportunity will give you a steady schedule and allow you to focus your efforts on installing, maintaining, and repairing HVAC systems. You will report to a supervisor and may work within a team of HVAC technicians that take on different customer jobs throughout the week. If you want to make additional income, you may be able to work nights and weekends to manage emergency HVAC projects.

Working as an Independent Contractor

For those that value freedom, you can become your own boss as an independent contractor. However, you will not only be responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing HVAC systems, but you will also find your own customers, manage the books, implement marketing campaigns, and manage customer service. Although, there is more freedom as an independent contractor, your schedule may be more hectic. As an independent HVAC contractor, you are solely responsible for your HVAC business. It often comes with extra hours of work and a little more stress.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how long it takes to become an HVAC tech, it is time to learn more about Interactive College of Technology. Our small class sizes and industry-experienced instructors will mentor you through the HVAC technician program and prepare you for an apprenticeship in the industry. Take the first step toward a rewarding career and learn more about Interactive College of Technology today.

Want to Learn More?

The HVAC residential training program at our Pasadena, TX, Chamblee, GA, and Newport, KY campuses offer training in all phases of repair and maintenance of residential heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. This program prepares you for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Certification in the management of refrigerants and North American Technicians Excellence (NATE) Certification.

An externship is a part of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning residential training program and assigns you to a partnering company for 135 hours. The externship gives you the opportunity to put your new skills to use and gain real-life career training experience. Plus, after you graduate, our Lifetime Career Placement Support program will be there to help you find work whenever you need it.

Let’s take the first step together! Contact us now to learn more.

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