How to Become a HVAC Technician in Orlando, Florida
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 Orlando, Florida. This will include the licensing required, educational institutions with quality HVAC programs, and a discussion on the salaries and job market of the profession itself. 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 qualities employers are looking for, there a couple requirements that are present in almost any HVAC position. First, you will need to have a Florida Air A or B license (more on that later). Most positions will want to see that you have some education in HVAC systems and electrical systems in order to know that you will be comfortable working on and repairing different HVAC systems. You will also likely need a valid driver's license and clean driving record since you will most likely be driving from site to site.
How to Become an HVAC Technician in Orlando
All HVAC Technicians in Florida are required to have a Florida Air A and B license. An A license allows technicians to work on any HVAC systems in the state, while a B license limits a contractor to services involving 25 tons of cooling or less and 500,000 BTU of heating or less. Both of these licenses have some requirements:
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 near Orlando that can prepare you for the exams through classroom guidance and hands-on experience:
Aviation Institute of Maintenance
While this institution mainly gives degrees in aircraft maintenance, they also have a great HVAC program with classes available all during the day and night. Full time students will graduate in around one year. Address: 2725 S US Highway Casselberry, 32707. Phone: 407-896-2800.
Florida Career College
Florida Career College offers a wide variety of career programs, which includes a fantastic 36-week HVAC program. The classes give both a theoretical and practical perspective on HVAC installation and repair. Address: 989 North Semoran Boulevard, Orlando, 32807. Phone: 888-852-7272.
Southern Technical College
Southern Technical College is a trade school that offers numerous programs, including one in applied HVAC technology. The program prides itself in offering a balance of classroom experience and actual time working on systems in lab conditions. Address: 1801 Florida Mall Avenue, Orlando, 32809. Phone: 407-438-6000.
Seminole State College
This state school offers a high-quality HVAC program taught by licensed instructors. There are also classes on resume and job interview skills, as well as job placement services upon graduation. Address: 100 Weldon Boulevard, Sanford, 32773. Phone: 407-708-4722.
Job Market for HVAC Technicians in Orlando, Florida
If there is one thing that Orlando has going for it, it is that there is so many open jobs available in the city. In terms of HVAC technicians, there are some 750 open positions near Orlando. While this is likely partially due to the stringent licensing requirements, there is also simply a lot of businesses that need state of the art HVAC systems installed. The salaries of HVAC technicians in Orlando are right around the national average at $20.45 per hour. However, keep in mind that salaries range widely based on the license obtained, employer, and amount of work experience and other apprenticeships.
There is likely to be some job growth in Orlando in the near future. The city seems to be in need of HVAC technicians, and with new HVAC technologies mixed with the scorching Florida climate the need for air conditioning alone will keep HVAC technicians in demand for a while. There are some career growth avenues as well for those who are ambitious. HVAC instructors tend to make more than regular contractors, and senior contractors tend to get more work with more benefits. If you stick with the profession there should be ample opportunity for growth. However, it should be mentioned that it will take years of working on-site calls and installations before you will be able to move to more lucrative positions.
The Mechanical Contractors Association of Central Florida (MCA for short) is an association where local contractors, businesses, and students get together to network and discuss the industry. The MCA has a directory of members that businesses can call if they need work done. Contractors in the MCA have worked on projects such as a fifteen hundred-ton Trane Centravac for a power plant and even worked on the HVAC systems of the Tampa International Airport. The organization also hosts charity events like dinners and golf tournaments to benefit hundreds of local charities. This is a great way for contractors to network with potential clients and employers while contributing to a great cause.