What Do You Need to Get HVAC Certified? Should I Get a Formal Degree?

Successful job applicants are those who have the skills employers need. As a certified HVAC technician, you could earn your place as a member of a growing group of professionals who have the skills 21st century employers need to fill their ranks.

Obtaining an HVAC certification opens doors to a secure career in an industry that should continue to grow and evolve alongside advances in HVAC technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is expected to grow by 15% between now and 2026. That’s double average job growth.

Polish Your Basic Skills

Math and physics are the foundations for a career as an HVAC technician. You will also want to have a solid background in mechanics and electronics. Before you begin your formal training, you will want to “brush up” on these skills so that you can start your classes on a solid foundation.

Course instruction is rigorous and requires strong attention to detail. The more you know when you enter your program, the better prepared you will be to absorb the information your instructors present during your courses.

Education that Counts

Earning an degree in HVAC takes dedication and patience. Most programs entail 3-4 days a week of classroom study, and you should plan on homework, lectures, and hands-on instruction.

Your course instructors are likely to be industry experts who have mastered the fundamentals of technology, principles of electricity, and the installation, operation, and maintenance of heating/cooling systems.

Additionally, they will probably teach you principles of accounting, communication, and management. Combined, these skills make it possible for you to establish yourself to find a job or hang your own shingle as an independent contractor in the field when you graduate.

Learning on the Job

Your formal education is only the start of your career. HVAC technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and this means that you will need to adapt and advance your knowledge throughout your career. What you know today will help you learn what you need to know tomorrow.

As Smart homes get smarter, and the technology consumers demand for their comfort becomes ever more sophisticated, you will need to prepare yourself to work in a career where you are constantly improving your knowledge of technology and its practical application.

In fact, most certifications require completion of one to two years of HVAC experience through an apprenticeship. This can provide thousands of hours of practical, on-the-job experience that can help you earn the certification. These programs are often operated and managed by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America or the Associated Builders and Contractors.

Certification Process

When you have mastered the skills required to pass your courses, you should have a solid footing to pursue formal certification. In particular, you could have the knowledge necessary to obtain Section 608 EPA and R410A Refrigerant and Handling Certification. These highly desired certifications might give you a significant advantage as you pursue employment.

You may also choose to pursue other certifications through the North American Technical Excellence (NATE). These certifications can give you specialized skills that can help you advance your career in the direction you want to take it. Most importantly, the certifications you obtain show employers, and your clients, that you are a qualified expert who can provide high-quality services that are reliable and compliant with all applicable building codes and environmental regulations.


In addition to certifications, many states require you to secure the appropriate licenses to practice in the field. For HVAC technicians, these are usually journeyman, master, and contractor licenses. Each of these licenses require completion of a pre-licensure course, evidence that you have passed all necessary exams, securing of insurance, evidence of completion of necessary years of experience, and payment of an application fee.

Each state has different licensure requirements and it is advisable for you to research these and prepare for them before you graduate. Doing so can help prepare you to hit the ground running before the ink is dry on your diploma.

Licenses are another measure of skills and abilities in the HVAC industry. Securing these licenses could open doors for you as your career advances. The more advanced the license, the larger the size of the projects you can work on. This translates to increased revenue and profits you can use to establish your brand and expand your business within the community.

Ready to Get Started Today?

Are you ready to pursue a career as an HVAC technician? Contact Advanced Technology Institute to discuss our Associate of Occupational Science Degree in HVAC Technology with Service Management and the steps we take to prepare students for a prosperous career in the HVAC industry.

HVAC/Refrigeration Training Program