Skills You Need to Be an HVAC Technician

Great Careers Start Here

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

When your heat shuts down in the middle of the winter—Brrrr! Or no AC on a summer swelter? Too hot to handle. But luckily, there are HVAC heroes to save the day. How would you like to don the cape—or more likely toolbelt—of an HVAC Technician and provide critical services to those in need? Learning the skills isn’t as difficult as you may think and with the right HVAC training, you could build a long-term, successful career in the field. You’ll need to be physically and mentally up for the challenge and ready to get to work. Are you?

As an HVAC Technician, you’ll be responsible for the repair, installation, and maintenance of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration units in both residential and commercial buildings. To work in the field, you’ll need to learn some basic science concepts, safety practices, building codes and the ins-and-outs of the various systems you’ll work on.

HVAC Science

HVAC science covers the principles and theories of electricity and HVAC. It includes basic math as well as the theory of Ohm’s Law which teaches you how to calculate the relationship between voltage and current, and their application to electrical circuits. You’ll also learn about gas laws that teach you how gas pressure and temperature interact. Although much of what you learn may be unfamiliar at first, it will soon become second nature to you and you’ll have lots of resources. You’ll learn common equations, but you’ll also have tools that will cut out the need for hand calculations. For example, a “manometer” can measure gas pressure. In HVAC, high gas pressure can cause a furnace to overheat and damage internal components.

Refrigeration Systems and Coolants

An air conditioner goes through the refrigeration cycle to properly cool the surrounding environment. You’ll learn how this cycle works, what parts of an AC are involved, and how outside temperatures can affect it. You’ll also need to know what coolants are and how to handle them safely.

Ducts and Flue Pipes

Aside from the unit itself, you’ll also need to know how to work with other parts of an HVAC system such as ducts and the flue pipe. You’ll need to know the roles they play in heating or cooling a room as well as how to service and install them.

Energy Conservation, Heat Recovery, and Air Quality

You should also understand important HVAC concepts such as energy conservation and heat recovery as well as their larger impact in the field. For example, air quality has been an important topic since the COVID-19 pandemic began. You’ll need to know how to define and measure indoor air quality, and how new HVAC technologies are designed to improve it.

Safety Protocols

Working with electricity, refrigeration, and HVAC systems can be rewarding, but dangerous if you don’t follow proper safety measures. From what you wear, such as sturdy closed toed boots, to how you handle tools and chemicals, you need to follow the rules. Some of these are commonsense. You wouldn’t want to drop a heavy piece of equipment on your toes! But some of them relate to safety in the workplace. There’s a right—and wrong—way to handle a ladder, especially around electrical wires.

Building Codes and Construction

HVAC systems need to adhere to strict codes for their installation, maintenance, and repair. If you don’t understand the rules, you might accidentally vent a system improperly or use the wrong size piping and ductwork, causing a unit to run inefficiently. Building codes govern what you can and can’t do with electrical systems, plumbing, wiring, and HVAC systems. Although you’ll need to follow the rules of your specific community, most codes follow the Uniform Mechanical Code. Whether you’re doing a new install or routine maintenance, you need to make sure your work is always up to code.

General Skills Required for HVAC Technicians

To become a well-rounded HVAC technician, you’ll need to hone these skills in addition to your knowledge base:

  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Mechanics
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Time management

How can you learn all of this? Through an HVAC training program. At Charter College, we offer a Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration that will prepare you for an entry-level job in the field. You’ll learn from instructors who have years of experience in HVAC, and who want to pass their knowledge onto you. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.