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How to Become an HVAC Apprentice
How to Become an HVAC Apprentice
How to Become an HVAC Apprentice

How to Become an HVAC Apprentice


Published on January 26, 2024

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When your heating or air-conditioning system stops working, people usually reach out to an HVAC technician for help. An HVAC apprentice often works alongside a technician to gain hands-on experience and learn the skills required to become a successful technician. If you're thinking about becoming an HVAC apprentice, it's important to know the steps to take and gather information about the job. In this article, we cover what an HVAC apprentice does, how to become one, and details about how much an HVAC apprentice makes

Basic education for becoming an HVAC apprentice

To become an HVAC technician, you don't need a four-year degree. The basic educational requirements include completing high school or earning a GED and then going through an apprenticeship.

While there are pre-apprenticeship programs available for HVAC technicians, they are not mandatory. You have the option to skip them, although completing one could enhance your chances of securing an apprenticeship later on.

The organization overseeing HVAC technicians is the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA). To meet their regulations, you must have:

  • High school diploma or GED

  • Completed apprenticeship

  • Gas technician license

  • Oil Burner Technician certification

  • Wood Energy Technology Transfer (WETT) certification

  • Pre-apprenticeship program for HVAC

How to become an HVAC apprentice 

The first step in securing an HVAC apprentice job is to secure an apprenticeship. 

1. Explore education paths: trade school, community college, or apprenticeship

When aspiring to become an HVAC technician, consider different educational routes, such as trade school or community college programs, each taking 1 to 2 years. While quicker, they come with expenses ranging from $1,200 to $15,000 for trade school and an average of $3,440 per year for community college. Alternatively, you can join an HVAC company as an apprentice, a more affordable option that allows you to get paid while learning.

2. Find an HVAC Apprenticeship

Discover various ways to secure an HVAC apprenticeship, whether by contacting local HVAC companies, enrolling in community college or trade school programs, or exploring Department of Labor (DOL) registered apprenticeship programs. Joining a company as an apprentice is a cost-effective option, and programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete.

3. Obtain EPA 608 Certification

To handle refrigerants, essential in HVAC systems, acquire the EPA 608 Technician Certification. This certification includes four types, and passing the relevant exams grants you a universal certification. While most states don't mandate a license for HVAC technicians, it might be necessary if you plan to start your own business.

4. Consider Additional HVAC Certifications

Acquire additional HVAC certifications, such as those offered by NATE (North American Technician Excellence) and HVAC Excellence, to boost your credentials. These certifications can improve your chances of securing a position and advancing in your HVAC career.

5. Craft Your Resume

Once you've completed your education and certifications, create a clear and concise resume. Keep it to no more than two pages, highlighting your relevant skills and experiences.

6. Apply for HVAC Jobs

Begin your job search by sending your resume to companies you're interested in and seizing every interview opportunity. Practice interviewing to enhance your skills and increase your chances of securing an HVAC technician position.

Also read: how to start an HVAC business 

How much does an HVAC apprentice make? 

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for HVAC apprentices is approximately half of what full-time HVAC technicians earn. On average, HVAC apprentices make around $24,315 annually, translating to about $12.16 per hour.

National Apprentice Salary Data:
  • Median Salary: $24,315 ($12.16 per hour)

  • Experienced Salary: $39,105 ($19.55 per hour)

  • Entry-Level Salary: $17,160 ($8.58 per hour)

It's essential to note that your earnings as an HVAC apprentice can vary based on factors such as your location, the company you work for, and other considerations. Some HVAC apprentices earn over $40,000 annually, while others may make less than $20,000.

Despite these seemingly modest figures, it's important to recognize that as an HVAC apprentice, you're earning money while gaining valuable on-the-job training. In contrast to college or trade school, where you incur expenses, HVAC apprentices receive compensation. Moreover, upon completing your apprenticeship, you'll transition to a full-time HVAC technician role, potentially earning up to $80,000 per year.

During your apprenticeship, your payment is likely to be on an hourly basis. As you advance through the program, your wage may increase, contingent on meeting specific benchmarks. Keep in mind that these figures can vary depending on your employer or the specific apprenticeship program you're enrolled in.

Also read: HVAC Service Contracts Guide 

What to expect during your HVAC apprenticeship

The work environment for HVAC apprenticeships is generally consistent, irrespective of the program's origin. While specific requirements and regulations may vary by state, apprenticeship programs typically span 3 to 5 years. The program's duration often correlates with on-the-job hours, ranging between 2,000 and 3,000 hours.

Here's a breakdown of what you can anticipate in terms of duties during each year of your apprenticeship:

Year 1: In the initial year, your role primarily involves providing additional assistance to the experienced technician you're partnered with. This hands-on experience exposes you to various tasks and helps you become acquainted with commonly used equipment and systems.

Year 2: As your knowledge expands, you'll take on progressively more significant and challenging responsibilities. This phase involves handling advanced tasks during jobs, such as system discharging or brazing repairs.

Year 3: Demonstrating your qualifications on the job may lead to more consistent and long-term assignments directly assigned to you. This could involve specializing in a specific area of repair, keeping you on a repair team for an extended period.

Throughout your apprenticeship, your ability to retain learned tasks becomes evident, showcasing your capacity to replicate these tasks with increasing independence over time. This progression allows you to demonstrate your competence to your employer and potentially take on more responsibilities as you advance in your HVAC career.

Also read: How to Grow Your HVAC Business


  1. How long does an HVAC apprenticeship typically last?

HVAC apprenticeships usually span between 3 and 5 years, depending on the company.

  1. How can I find an HVAC apprenticeship?

You can find an HVAC apprenticeship by reaching out to local HVAC companies, enrolling in courses supporting apprenticeships, utilizing the Department of Labor's Apprentice Job Finder tool, or contacting unions in your area.

  1. Is HVAC a good career path?

HVAC offers a rewarding career with a good salary, benefits, and engaging day-to-day responsibilities.

  1. Is HVAC training challenging?

HVAC apprenticeships require attention to detail and dedicated study. While not extremely challenging, it demands hard work to grasp and retain the material.

  1. Do HVAC apprenticeships lead to full-time jobs?

Yes, most companies offering HVAC apprenticeships expect and hope that apprentices will transition into full-time employees upon completion.

  1. What tools do I need as an HVAC apprentice?

Check with the company overseeing your HVAC apprenticeship to determine if you need any tools. Many companies provide the necessary tools for the job.

  1. What job will I get after finishing my HVAC apprenticeship?

After completing their apprenticeships, most individuals move on to become entry-level HVAC technicians.

Diversity is a key perk of being an HVAC technician, as each day brings new challenges. One day may involve calculations and equipment selection, while the next could see you installing HVAC units atop a 10-story building. The HVAC industry provides a gateway to various roles, and a successful apprenticeship is often the starting point for many. Acquiring the fundamentals gives you a competitive edge in your field.

In this dynamic field, Cloodot stands out by offering a suite of SaaS products. Specializing in AI and automation technologies, Cloodot assists businesses in modernizing and streamlining customer experience management. Through innovative solutions in reviews and messaging, Cloodot helps businesses stay ahead in the rapidly evolving landscape of customer engagement.

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An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot

An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot