What is an HVAC Tech Apprentice?
An HVAC technician apprentice is someone who is learning the trade of heating ventilation and air conditioning.
An HVAC technician installs, maintains and repairs heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems. HVAC is an abbreviation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Someone who works in this occupation may specialize in installation or in maintenance and repair and in heating, air conditioning or refrigeration work.
Being an HVAC apprentice is a unique opportunity that combines on-the-job training with time in school. An apprentice develops skills as a heating/cooling technician, which will eventually qualify him or her to become a fully-paid, professional heating/cooling technician.
If you choose to begin your career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning as an apprentice, you will either work in an apprenticeship program of a union or in a non-union program.
Who Can Become An Apprentice
Considering becoming an apprentice? We strongly recommend receiving some training first. While some businesses hire HVAC apprentices without training, but the majority of businesses will not. Training usually comes first, followed by an on-the-job training period. All HVAC jobs require on-the-job training. Just as a doctor would, HVAC technicians have to go through a number of on-the-job learning positions. Doctors don’t go straight from the classroom to operating on people, as HVAC technicians don’t go from the classroom and begin “operating” on a furnace.
Apprenticeship with a Licensed Heating/Cooling Technician
With this option, you personally take on the task of finding a heating/cooling company that is willing to take you on as an apprentice. Although not as common as going through a union, this method may give you a better opportunity of being placed in an apprenticeship for that same reason.
By taking this route, perseverance (and some legwork) is important. Make many copies of your resume and visit all the HVAC companies in your area to hand to them. They may not be hiring an apprentice, but you can still tell them to keep your resume on file, as they may be hiring soon.
Once the apprentice time period is completed and you meet the experience and education, you can advance to the next professional level.
Click on the button below to visit the Department of Labor to start your search for an apprenticeship:
Local Union Apprenticeships
The most common way to enter an apprenticeship program is through a local union. Unions have in-house programs for apprenticeships. Entering the industry in this way will require little effort since you do not have to find a licensed HVAC technician that is willing to take on an apprentice.
Apprenticeships through union offer an in-house classroom component as well. A major benefit to this is that apprentices don’t have to travel to a different location, like a community college, to complete their required coursework.
Your apprenticeship program or union will have a specific list of requirements you will have to meet. Although it is not a complete and all-inclusive list, the most common requirements you’ll have to meet prior to, and after applying for admission into a local union apprenticeship include:
- 18 Years of Age (some programs start earlier)
- High School Graduate or GED Equivalent Certification
- Valid Driver’s License
- Social Security Card
- Provide Reliable Transportation
- Take an Aptitude Test
- Physically Able To Perform Daily HVAC Tasks
- Take and Pass a Drug Test
- Personal Interview