Becoming a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician (or HVAC technician), can be a very lucrative and rewarding career choice. For many, it can be difficult to know where to begin. In this article, we are going to cover different aspects of becoming an HVAC technician in Branford, Connecticut. We hope that after reading you will have all the information you need to start working towards your HVAC career.
What is an HVAC Technician?
Before getting into the different educational opportunities and salary data, we want to give a brief outline on what HVAC technicians do and what qualities and skills employers are looking for in your area. HVAC technicians install, repair, and troubleshoot heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units and systems. Becoming an HVAC technician requires knowledge on all of these systems, common problems within those systems, and how to install them in a wide variety of locations. In terms of qualifications and requirements for HVAC technician positions, there are a few common themes for most open HVAC positions. The first is that all HVAC technicians must have an S-1 or S-2 license (more on that later). Most HVAC technicians have to go to different locations and households, which means that they need to have a valid driver's license. Technicians are also responsible for explaining issues to and interacting with customers, so being likeable and well-spoken will certainly help.
How to Become a Certified HVAC Technician in Branford
All HVAC technicians in Connecticut are required to have an S-1 or S-2 HVAC license. The S-1 license allows technicians to work on any HVAC systems on their own, while S-2 licenses only allow technicians to work under the employ of a licensed contractor.
1. Taking and passing the Connecticut Business and Law Examination (required for all contractors in the state).
2. Taking and passing the Connecticut Unlimited Journeyperson(S-2)/Contractor(S-1) HVAC exam (70 questions and 80 questions respectively).
3. Completion of a registered apprenticeship program or presence of equivalent experience and training.
HVAC Educational Opportunities
In order to become an HVAC technician, you are going to need some form of education in the field. This could be through community colleges, online programs, apprenticeships, or through trade schools. Below are four programs available near Branford that will prepare you for the exams and give you the proper training needed to become a HVAC technician.
Lincoln Tech is a trade school in New Britain, Connecticut that offers an in-depth, accredited HVAC program featuring hand-on exercises, computer simulations, and classes available during the day and evening. Search their website for HVAC training for more information. Address: 200 John Downey Drive, New Britain, CT 06051. Phone: 860-225-8641.
Porter and Chester Institute
Porter and Chester is a trade school that provides hands-on HVAC training through accredited instructors. They provide classes on gas, oil, and electric heating, cooling and refrigeration systems used in many households and businesses. Search for their HVACR Technician Training Program for more information. Address: 221 West Main Street, Branford, Connecticut 06405. Phone: 203-315-1060.
Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute
Ridley-Lowell Institute offers a variety of programs including an HVAC degree. They focus on both hands-on experience and the theory behind the systems (Thermodynamics, Introduction to the systems, etc.). Search on their website for HVAC Installation Technician Program for more information. Address: 470 Bank Street New London, Connecticut 06320. Phone: 877-611-8603.
Penn Foster Career School (Online)
If you cannot afford to go to a structured offline course, there is some online programs available. Keep in mind you likely will have to complete some form of apprenticeship as well so employers know you have experience actually working on the systems. Still, the online courses will prepare you for the exam and lay a foundation of necessary information you need to know to be an HVAC technician. Phone: 888-427-5500.
Job Market for HVAC Technicians in Branford, Connecticut
The job market for HVAC technicians in Connecticut is very good, with significant job growth expected in the next few years. As of this article there are over two hundred available HVAC jobs ranging from technicians, managers, and journeypersons (80 of which are located in or near Branford). You could even start up your own HVAC business if you so choose. In terms of salaries, the average HVAC technician in Connecticut makes around $31.31 per hour. That is 47% above the national average! As with any job, HVAC technicians often get promoted and paid higher salaries the longer they work (provided they are doing top quality work of course).
When you get a job as an HVAC technician in Connecticut, you will likely be emplyed by as a contractor by a company. Most of your days will be going house to house (or business to business) and installing and repairing HVAC systems. Some HVAC Technicians go on to teach apprenticeships and HVAC programs, and others become managers of all the HVAC technicians in a company. Overall, becoming an HVAC technician in Connecticut will give you great financial and employment opportunities.
Once you get your HVAC license, you may want to join your local CT-PHCC chapter. This stands for the Connecticut Association of Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors. This contracting association provides a couple different benefits to their members:
• Lobbying efforts at a local, state, and federal level for job safety and better conditions for contracting workers.
• Discounts on continuing education, HVAC equipment, and other startup costs.
• Dinner meetings bringing together HVAC workers from across the state. Works great as a networking opportunity.
Annual dues for journeymen and solo contractors are $125 per year, while joining as a student costs only $25 per year (although you will have to upgrade once you get your license and are actually practicing).