How to Become an HVAC Technician in Idaho
An HVAC professional is a skilled worker who has been trained to work on heating, cooling, ventilation and sometimes refrigerant systems in buildings. They install new systems, maintain and inspect older systems, and diagnose problems, make repairs and replace parts as needed. [Leer en español]
Careers for HVAC techs are growing right now, at a rate of 15 percent, which is faster than average job growth. If you are interested in going through the training for this career in Idaho, you can look forward to great job stability.
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Idaho
Idaho has statewide licensing requirements for apprentices, journeymen and contractors working in the HVAC industry. In order to get started as an apprentice, your first step will be to enroll in an HVAC program at a college or an apprenticeship program through a local union or non-union organization. The state’s Division of Building Safety lists the approved programs throughout the state. These will provide you with the required classroom and hands-on training hours needed to work toward becoming a journeyman.
HVAC Programs in Idaho
Any of the state’s approved programs are great options for starting your career in HVAC. Just one of them is accredited by HVAC Excellence, a national accreditation institute:
- College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls. Southern Idaho’s HVAC program curriculum is accredited by HVAC Excellence.
- Idaho State University, Pocatello. Idaho State offers students an approved apprenticeship program for HVAC technicians. It is a four-year program that provides classroom learning as well as paid work and training on the job as an apprentice.
- Southwest Central Idaho Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC), Boise. This union program trains students to work in HVAC and to work with sheet metal in ventilation systems. As with most JATCs, you must be 18 and have a high school diploma or GED to qualify.
Certification and Licensing for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Idaho
In Idaho, licensing of HVAC workers is done through the state’s Division of Building Safety. There are several different licenses for HVAC professionals, including apprentice, journeyman, contractor and specialty apprentice, journeyman or contractor. Your first step to work in HVAC in Idaho will be to apply to be an apprentice. To qualify, you need to be at least 18 years old, be employed by a licensed HVAC contractor and be enrolled in a post-secondary academic program or an apprenticeship program.
Once you have completed an apprenticeship, you can apply to become a journeyman HVAC technician. To qualify, you must have a record of 8,000 hours of supervised work experience and four years of training in apprenticeship or school programs. With these qualifications you can take the journeyman exam.
Finally, you may choose to become a licensed HVAC contractor in the state. This requires that you have at least two years of work experience as a journeyman and that you pass the appropriate exam. You will also need to purchase a $2,000 compliance bond. Contractors can hire journeymen and train apprentices while heading up HVAC projects.
If you will be working with refrigerants in any state, you have to be certified according to federal rules. Under the Clean Air Act, you are required to achieve Environmental Protection Agency Section 608 certification. This requires passing an exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
HVAC careers are on the rise, and you can expect that there will be thousands of jobs available throughout the country in the coming years. New construction and aging systems that need technology upgrades ensure that qualified HVAC workers will continue to be in demand indefinitely.
Nationally, the average salary for HVAC workers is $47,080, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Idaho it is just $41,210 per year, but the cost of living is much lower here than in many other states.
Working as an HVAC Technician in Idaho
As an HVAC worker in Idaho, you can expect to work for a contractor, although you may also be hired by government agencies, school districts or industrial employers. The work environment can be dangerous, and injuries and accidents are a risk. This is why it is important to know and follow safety regulations and to use safety gear.
You’ll find most HVAC job opportunities in and around Boise, Nampa and Idaho Falls. No matter where you land a job, though, you will experience stability and a good income.