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Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can be very complicated, and often require the skills of a trained mechanic to perform preventative maintenance and repair work. HVAC mechanics must be knowledgeable about all aspects of different HVAC systems, including electrical components and motors. To become an HVAC mechanic, a person must typically complete an apprenticeship or engage in formal training at a trade school or community college, as well as pass a licensing exam.
A high school student who wants to become an HVAC mechanic can prepare for his or her eventual career by taking classes in physics, engineering, and hands on mechanical shop courses. Students learn about the physical properties of electricity and different mechanical systems, knowledge that will be essential in their prospective careers. Many high school students seek internships or jobs with HVAC systems retail stores, where they engage in sales, customer service, and assisting qualified HVAC mechanics in installation and repair work.
There are two basic paths a person may choose after high school to become an HVAC mechanic: formal training courses or apprenticeship work. Many future mechanics enroll in two year accredited training programs at community colleges or vocational schools. Students receive both classroom and practical training about all aspects of HVAC repair. They receive instruction about reading blueprints and troubleshooting manuals, safety procedures, different tools and techniques, customer service, and diagnosing problems. Formal training programs typically last from six months to two years, and many schools offer job placement services to help graduates find work in the HVAC repair industry.
A person may choose to work as an apprentice instead of receiving formal training to become an HVAC mechanic. Apprentices typically work alongside experienced HVAC mechanics to learn the trade and practice their skills. They may be required to attend night classes in addition to their paid, on-the-job training. Apprenticeships may take three to five years to complete, and frequently require persons to demonstrate their mastery of mechanic work before they can practice on their own.
No matter which path a person chooses to take, he or she must usually pass a licensing exam to become an HVAC mechanic. Licensing tests cover all aspects of installation, maintenance, and repair. Upon becoming licensed and completing apprenticeships or formal training, prospective mechanics can begin working independently. Additional certification is not typically required, though many new HVAC mechanics choose to take specialized certification exams to improve their credentials and increase their potential for finding work.
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