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.
To become an Ohio HVAC technician, start with one of two options: enroll in a college degree or certificate program, which should take two years or less to complete, or enroll in an HVAC apprenticeship program. Essentially, you need to have some classroom instruction and hands-on training, in whatever combination works for you, in order to get an entry-level HVAC job.
HVAC Programs 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).
- 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.
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.
Certification and Licensing for Becoming an HVAC 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.
Career Outlook 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 15 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 $46,640 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.