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Guide to Becoming an HVAC Technician in Texas

Want to become an HVAC-certified technician in Texas? If you are over 18, there are a few ways to do it. First, you can become an HVAC apprentice and train under an experienced instructor until you can take the state certification exam...

Want to become a certified HVAC technician in Texas? If you are over 18, there are a few ways to do it. First, you can become an HVAC apprentice and train under an experienced instructor until you can take the state certification exam. Another option is to attend a training school that offers an accredited HVAC course.

After graduating from an accredited trade school, you can register as an HVAC technician with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). Before taking the HVAC contractors exam, you must have four years of work experience with a TDLR-licensed contractor. If you pass the exam, you will receive a master contractor license, which you need to start your own mechanical contracting company.

There is currently no HVAC apprenticeship program in Austin. However, you can be hired as an apprentice. Most choose to attend a trade school because it offers more structure and works through the curriculum more consistently because there is more of a set syllabus. With an apprenticeship, you often work with less format and at your instructor's pace.

Another benefit of a trade school is job placement assistance once you complete the course. Trade schools like Austin Career Institute often find placement for students immediately after graduation. If you go with an apprenticeship, you may be left without employment following your training if your instructor doesn't hire you or have contacts for work.

What Does HVAC School Cost?

Attending an HVAC trade school is more affordable than a two- or four-year college or university. Schools like ACI have financial aid options to help pay for all or some of your education. Various scholarships and federal Pell Grants do not have to be repaid if you find work in the industry after graduation. Low-interest loans may also be available. There are even programs for military veterans and new Americans. For veterans who served under the GI Bill, you can use your benefits to pay for HVAC training.

HVAC Career Options

Once you are 18 years old, you can pursue an HVAC career. You do not need an associate's or bachelor's degree from a college or university. Many prospective students get started right after high school. HVAC is also viable for those just out of the military or looking to create a new career. HVAC training is popular because you can finish training, become certified, and start working in the industry in months. On top of that, an HVAC career is fulfilling and pays well. Plus, there's plenty of room for advancement.

HVAC technicians are in high demand in Austin and the surrounding area. It's a terrific career option if you want to stay around Austin or if you want to move to another part of Texas. Even those working a dead-end full- or part-time job can become certified HVAC technicians by enrolling in an accredited training school. Many current students at ACI have a day job or a night job!

Attending an accredited HVAC training program prepares you for a new career and gives you the confidence to succeed. The more training you get, the better you'll stand out amongst the competition and raise your chances of landing prosperous employment.

What You Learn at HVAC Trade School

Attending an HVAC trade school will give you the skills to succeed and take your career to the next level. At ACI, our curriculum covers everything you need to know to pass the state certification exam and become an HVAC technician. You will learn the following:

  • How to correctly install an HVAC unit
  • How to aptly inspect an HVAC unit
  • How to properly repair an HVAC unit
  • How to safely handle HVAC chemicals

What Do Employers Look For?

Employers often prefer HVAC technicians who have graduated from an accredited training program because they know the students have received appropriate training and experience. Trade school graduates can hit the ground running, so there's less time spent training new staff and more time on the job.

Employers also like hiring HVAC techs that have already received their certifications. If you're not certified, some employers may require you to do so before starting your job. Employers must know that their staff is knowledgeable in HVAC procedures, including handling hazardous substances and chemicals and properly disposing of them. HVAC technicians that do not receive proper training can be a significant liability for any business!

Continuing Education

HVAC is an evolving industry, so employers often look to hire technicians that keep up with the latest trends and practices. There are several additional training opportunities for HVAC technicians after they graduate from a trade school. If you want to advance your HVAC career, staying current on new technologies and procedures is essential. This can include additional certifications, such as:

  • EPA 608 Certification: HVAC technicians must pass an EPA-approved test before being certified as a Section 608 tech. These tests are specific to the gear a technician wants to use.
  • Preventative Maintenance – or PM – HVAC Certification: After being certified for EPA Section 608, the next step is your PM certification. Part of the certification process includes learning preventative maintenance techniques for HVAC gear. You will learn to diagnose potential problems, administer repairs, and provide preventive maintenance.
  • North American Technician Excellent – or NATE – HVAC Certification: For technicians who have worked 6-12 months in the industry.
  • HVAC EPA Certification Type I: For maintenance of small equipment.
  • HVAC EPA Certification Type II: For maintenance or disposal of high-voltage or extra-high-voltage gear, excluding MVAC and small appliances. 
  • HVAC EPA Certification Type III: For maintenance or removal of low-voltage gear.
  • HVAC EPA Certification Universal: For maintenance across various types of equipment.
  • R-410A Refrigeration Certificate: Refrigerants like R-410A require additional handling and safety instruction. Companies that handle R-410A refrigerants need technicians who have been certified through an accredited, independent program.
  • Indoor Air Quality Certification: Technicians with IAQ certification can install and repair equipment and troubleshoot systems that contribute to contaminants in the air.
  • NCCER Certification: NCCER is an advanced program that offers courses and assessments administered by accredited training sites and tracked through a registration system.

Why Austin Career Institute?

Austin Career Institute helps propel low-income individuals, veterans, displaced or laid-off workers and new Americans into better-paying, in-demand careers. At the same time, it fills industry labor shortages, reduces the amount of government dependency, and strengthens the economy. ACI has received numerous recognitions at the national and local levels for its innovative approach to education and for helping the Central Texas community. Want to learn more? Contact us today!