What is an HVAC/R technician?
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 Atlanta, Georgia. 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 HVAC technician positions in Atlanta, there are a few things most employers will be looking for. The first is that they will require you to be a certified contractor with the Georgia Board of Conditioned Air Contractors (more on that later). Employers also like to see that you have some education in the field either through classes or apprenticeships. Technicians will be traveling to a number of different sites, which means that most employers require their technicians to have a clean driving record (and valid driver's license obviously). In most cases you will be dealing with and answering questions from regular customers, so a friendly demeanor is always a plus.
How To Become a Certified HVAC Technician in Atlanta, GA
In order to practice as an HVAC technician in the state of Georgia, you have to be certified by the Georgia Board of Conditioned Air Contractors. Thankfully, Georgia has some of the fewest requirements to get certified. All you have to do is send an application form, schedule an examination time and take and pass the state HVAC exam. One thing to keep in mind is that you must complete 4 hours of continuing education each year in order to hold onto your HVAC license.
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 Atlanta that can prepare you for the exams through classroom guidance and hands-on experience.
Fortis HVAC Program
Fortis is a trade school that offers degrees in a wide variety of areas. It also has a very good HVAC program that prepares students to become an entry level technician. Classes include instruction on computer systems that are used to complete diagnostics, different types of HVAC systems, and practice with lifelike equipment in hands-on labs. Address: 2140 South Cobb Drive, Smyrna, 30080. Phone: 855-436-7847
Lincoln Tech is a local technical college near Atlanta that teaches skilled trades including HVAC installation and repair. The program features accredited instructors teaching theoretical perspectives on HVAC along with hands-on exercises with modern day equipment. As a bonus, they offer classes during the day and evening for whatever your schedule demands. Address: 2359 Windy Hill Road, Marietta, 30067. Phone: 770-226-0056.
UEI College is a trade school that focuses on skilled trades and other career developing education. They have a wonderful HVAC training program that will give you all the tools you need to become an entry level technician. UEI College focuses not only on teaching the skills necessary for the HVAC profession, but also teaching students how to apply them to be more desirable for employers. Address: Southlake Festival Shopping Center, 1564 Southlake Parkway, Morrow, 30206. Phone: 877-463-4472.
Interactive College of Technology
Interactive College of Technology (ICT) is a technical school that focuses on skilled trades, including HVAC installation and repair. The college not only offers in-depth classes on every step of debugging, troubleshooting, repairing and installing HVAC systems, but also offers externships with licensed contractors as well. Address: 1580 Southlake Parkway, Morrow, 30260. Phone: 770-960-1298.
Job Market for HVAC Technicians in Atlanta, Georgia
The job market for HVAC technicians in Atlanta is looking to be very promising. There are currently some 460 open positions near Atlanta with a wide range of responsibilities and benefits. HVAC technician positions tend to be in high demand across the country, and this seems to be very consistent on a year to year basis. In terms of salaries, technicians in Atlanta on average make about $21.21 per hour, which is just above the national average. Keep in mind though that as you work more jobs and provide quality service, you will have plenty of opportunities for promotions that will increase your pay potential. HVAC technicians can go on to become senior technicians, HVAC instructors, or even HVAC technician managers. Although it will take many years of providing good quality work, there is opportunity for advancing your career in the industry.
The PHCC of Georgia, short for the Plumbers, Heating, and Cooling Contractors of Georgia, are an association dedicated to bringing contractors together and providing them with opportunities to network, socialize, and be successful in their craft. The organization includes members who are contractors, employers, businesses, educators, and even students.
The organization itself provides a host of benefits to its membership:
• A paid lobbyist firm that fights for the safety and just compensation of contracting professionals at the local, state, and federal level of government.
• Up to date reports on changes in state codes and licensing.
• Provides discounted continuing education that contractors need to keep their licenses.
• Networking opportunities from those who have just become certified as a technician.