How to Become an HVAC Technician in Ohio
When looking for your first job or when considering a career switch, why not try HVAC? Heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians are skilled workers who earn a good living. In Ohio, as in the rest of the country, demand is high for qualified HVAC techs. Becoming a technician requires some classroom time and on-the-job training, but you won’t have to go to college for four years to get into this career. [Leer en español]
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Ohio
Only HVAC contractors are licensed in Ohio. To work as a technician, there are no specific requirements. However, there are suggested steps for becoming a tech and achievements that employers will be looking for when hiring.
The first step is to attend an HVAC trade school or technical college. You can complete a certificate, diploma or associate degree program. Classroom instruction will cover electrical theory, blueprint reading, and the various types of heating and cooling systems. You’ll also get hands-on training with tools and equipment.
HVAC training program topics may include:
- Refrigeration systems
- Heat pump systems
- Electrical components
- Basic industrial systems
- Sheet metal fabrication
The second step would be to apply for an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are available through unions and contractors. They combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Apprenticeships usually last three to five years.
HVAC Schools in Ohio
One way to start your new career in HVAC is to find an academic program. Ohio is home to several such programs accredited by either HVAC Excellence or the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).
For those who wish to attend an HVAC school, consider the following:
- University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima. Accredited by HVAC Excellence, these programs let you choose between an HVAC and refrigeration diploma and two-year associate degree. Students learn in classrooms but spend the majority of their time in a hands-on setting.
- Great Oaks Institute of Technology, Cincinnati. The HVAC and refrigeration program at Great Oaks is accredited by PAHRA. It takes just under two years to complete and costs about $10,000. Graduates are prepared to work and are ready to become certified by various national organizations.
- Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, Brecksville. Ohio has several secondary schools with HVAC programs and classes accredited by PAHRA. High school students in the Cuyahoga Valley area who know they want to get into HVAC can start taking classes and be ready by graduation to start an apprenticeship.
Financial aid may be available to students who qualify. Contact the financial office at the institute you wish to attend for more information.
It is possible to avoid going to college for an HVAC career in Ohio if you find an apprenticeship program that includes both instruction and hands-on training.ApprenticeOhio is a government agency that helps people find apprenticeship positions. You can find an apprenticeship through a local union or an organization like the Associated Builders and Contractors.
HVAC Certification and Licensing for Becoming a Technician in Ohio
Ohio’s Department of Commerce licenses HVAC contractors only. Technicians, including apprentices and journeymen, are not required to be licensed. To become a contractor in Ohio, you must have been working in HVAC for at least five years. You also have to pass an exam and have liability insurance. Some cities in Ohio, like Cleveland, also require that contractors register locally.
According to the federal Clean Air Act, all HVAC workers who handle and work with refrigerants, whether licensed contractors or technicians, must be certified. To qualify for and achieve Environmental Protection Agency section 608 certification, you must pass a test.
Job Opportunities and Salary Expectations
HVAC workers throughout the country and in Ohio are in great demand right now. The technology for HVAC systems keeps getting upgraded, and this along with new construction means that qualified techs are needed more than ever. The growth in the field is an impressive 13 percent.
As an HVAC tech you’ll also earn a good living. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio HVAC workers earn an average of $48,810 per year.
Working as an HVAC Technician in Ohio
While it is possible to find an HVAC job nearly anywhere, the greatest number of opportunities in Ohio is in the major population centers: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Akron. You are most likely to work for a construction or HVAC contractor, but you may also get hired by a government agency or industrial company. Just a few years of learning and training is all it takes to get into this exciting and lucrative career.
How do I become an HVAC tech in Ohio?
- 1. Complete a post-secondary program in HVAC technology that includes a hands-on component.
- 2. Alternatively, enroll in an apprenticeship that includes classroom instruction.
- 3. Upon completion, seek an entry-level position with an HVAC contractor.
How much do heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earn in the state of Ohio?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in the state of Ohio made an average of $48,350 per year in 2019. Entry-level heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned around $29,600 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $70,150.