Starting Your Career As An HVAC Mechanic Or Technician

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HVAC Mechanics and Technicians are service experts who deal with heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

According to the Government of Canada,  HVAC Mechanics install, maintain, repair and overhaul residential central air conditioning systems, commercial and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning systems and combined heating, ventilation and cooling systems.

They are employed by refrigeration and air conditioning installation contractors, in various industrial settings, food wholesalers, engineering firms, and retail and servicing establishments. Some HVAC professionals also work as independent contractors running their own businesses.

Common job titles

HVAC professionals are known by a number of different job titles depending on their area of specialty.

  • HAC, HACR, HVACR
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic or Apprentice
  • Building and Facilities Maintenance Technician
  • Gas Technician
  • Oil Burner Technician
  • Sprinkler and Fire Protection Installer

The job profile of an HVAC Mechanic or Technician

A day in the life of an HVAC professional can include tasks like carrying out inspections, installing heating or air conditioning systems, repairing and replacing parts, testing new technologies and interpreting blueprints.

Hence, if you are hands-on and fascinated by machines, a job as an HVAC Mechanic or Technician may be an exciting route for you.

In addition, many HVAC professionals work closely with customers, allowing them to work in a field where they are helping others while also building a strong potential client base. A service-oriented attitude can be essential to working as an HVAC Mechanic or Technician.

What does it take to be an HVAC Mechanic or Technician?

Education and training for a career in this trade usually comes in the form of a certificate or diploma rendered to you by a college or technical institution and, in some provinces, the completion of an exam.

The length of time to complete HVAC-related programs and accreditation can vary from approximately six months to up to five years. What’s really great about the longer programs is that they can provide you with the opportunity of internships or apprenticeships where you will be able to gain hands-on experience and network with other professionals in this field!

Trade certification for this profession is compulsory in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and available, but voluntary, in all other provinces and the territories.

In addition, trade certification for specialized Transport Refrigeration Mechanics is available, but voluntary, in New Brunswick, Alberta and British Columbia.

Great! So where do I go from here?

If you’re not already enrolled in or haven’t graduated from an HVAC program, your first step should probably be to research the programs available at colleges in your area.

Check that your program is standardized and accredited by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA), the industry’s regulatory body.

As a graduate of an HVAC program, you may be eligible to achieve Gas Technician or Oil Burner Technician certification after passing exams held by the TSSA.

In addition, some Technician-program students and graduates choose to either transfer into or complete further study in order to enrol in HVAC-related Technology programs, which allow you to achieve more advanced credentials.

Skilled Trades Week on TalentEgg featuring jobs and apprenticeships from Teck Resources, CN, SGS and Molson Coors

Photo credit: cgulyas2002

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About the author

Laura Vazquez is a recent Political Science graduate. While at the bilingual campus of York University, Laura was exposed to journalistic experience, inspiring her to pursue writing. Laura also has experience working in the Sales industry and Not-for-Profit Sector. Aside from writing, Laura’s passions include politics, volunteering, learning languages, culture and sharing ideas or opinions with others. Get in touch with her through LinkedIn or Twitter at @lauravazval.