Becoming an HVAC Technician in Pennsylvania
An HVAC technician services, maintains and installs heating, ventilation and air conditioning in residential, commercial or industrial buildings. [Leer en español]
For people who are considering learning a trade in Pennsylvania, becoming an HVAC technician can be a great choice. Employment prospects are promising, with many new jobs expected to be created over the coming years. Even an entry-level HVAC tech can make good money.
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Pennsylvania
There are no state-level certifications or licenses required to work as an HVAC technician in Pennsylvania, but some cities and municipalities may have their own requirements.
Finding an HVAC job becomes easier with the right training. Basic math and science skills are incredibly valuable in this industry. The best HVAC service technicians have a knack for troubleshooting and enjoy learning how things work.
Getting a certificate or degree in HVAC is the first step many people take to becoming an HVAC technician. After receiving this base level of training, many new HVAC technicians seek out an apprenticeship.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC apprenticeships typically last between three and five years, with apprentices completing 2,000 hours of work before branching off on their own.
HVAC Classes and Educational Programs in Pennsylvania
Most training programs require a high school diploma or GED in order to enroll. Vocational programs usually last between six months and two years. Some programs focus on hands-on learning, while others provide more training in the theoretical concepts of HVAC. Classes can be taken at local campuses or online in self-directed programs. In Pennsylvania, HVAC training options include the following:
- Penn Foster offers a flexible online program where students can earn a HVACR certificate in as little as five months. The program includes test preparation and a voucher to take the EPA exam, as well. The tuition cost is $700-$800, depending on payment methods.
- Triangle Tech offers an HVAC training program in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, PA. Their program includes a mix of hands-on training and classroom theory that prepares students for entry-level work. Graduates of the RHVAC program earn an Associate in Specialized Technology degree.
- Local community colleges often offer HVAC training programs. In the Lehigh Valley, Northampton County Community College and Lehigh Carbon Community College both offer certifications.
Certification for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania does not require any certifications or licenses for HVAC technicians.
The EPA, however, requires a certification exam for anyone who will buy, handle or work with refrigerants. Known as the Section 608 Technician Certification, this exam covers the safe handling of materials that could impact the environment.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
A new HVAC Technician in Pennsylvania can expect to make close to $30,000 their first year, according to figures by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experienced technicians make an average of $71,000 per year. HVAC technicians in the state of Pennsylvania earn about $5,000 a year more than the national average.
While 330,000 HVAC techs are already at work in the Keystone State, the demand for trained professionals is growing. The market is expected to grow by nearly 15 percent in the next decade.
Working as an HVAC Technician in Pennsylvania
Nearly 90 percent of HVAC technicians in Pennsylvania work full time. Many professionals choose to specialize and build their expertise on one particular type of HVAC system. HVAC experts can find jobs working with homebuilders and general contractors. They may also choose to start their own businesses, servicing private homes or businesses.
In larger cities, like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, local governments, school districts, corporations and apartment complexes are likely to have HVAC professionals on staff to handle emergencies and maintenance. In growing regions, like the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton area, new construction is the biggest opportunity for technicians to find work.
Pennsylvania has a growing need for highly-trained HVAC technicians. There has never been a better time to start a career in the HVAC industry