Updated December 2022
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) trade focuses on indoor climate control.
HVAC technicians install and service the systems that control temperature and air quality in all kinds of buildings, from homes and offices to grocery stores and ice rinks.
Looking to become one of them? Wondering what HVAC training is all about?
In this post, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about HVAC training in Ontario.
We explain what you need to know about apprenticeships, what’s covered in pre-apprenticeship training, what job options you’ll have after graduation, and more.
Let’s dive in.
1. HOW DO YOU BECOME AN HVAC TECHNICIAN IN ONTARIO?
In Ontario, HVAC is what’s known as a compulsory trade. In order to work as an HVAC technician, you have to complete an apprenticeship and pass an exam to earn your Certificate of Qualification.
While it’s not legally required, most people take HVAC courses at a trade school or career college to learn the basics of the trade before applying for an apprenticeship.
2. HOW DOES AN HVAC APPRENTICESHIP WORK?
The whole process takes about five years.
You will spend most of your time undergoing paid on-the-job training alongside experienced HVAC pros.
You’ll start out doing things like running for parts and maintaining truck stock. As you progress through your training, you’ll take on more advanced tasks (and earn a higher wage).
You will also spend a few weeks a year learning from instructors in a classroom.
In total, you must complete 720 hours of in-school lessons and 8,280 hours of on-the-job training.
3. IS IT HARD TO GET AN HVAC APPRENTICESHIP?
Technically, you only need a Grade 10 education to qualify for an HVAC apprenticeship in Ontario.
But the competition for available spots can be stiff. So realistically, you will need some post-secondary training.
Most employers prefer to hire apprentices who have completed a college-level HVAC program. Having those basic skills ensures that you can be a valuable asset to an employer right from the start.
HVAC expert Darren Fearnley says pre-apprenticeship training can really give you an edge.
“As an HVAC business owner for the past 30 years, I have hired many apprentices. And I would not hire anybody these days that has not completed some level of training.”
4. HOW LONG DOES PRE-APPRENTICESHIP HVAC TRAINING TAKE?
HVAC training is relatively quick. Some programs can be completed in just 12 months.
5. WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN HVAC TRAINING?
Pre-apprenticeship HVAC training is designed to help you develop the fundamental skills you need to convince an employer to take you on as an apprentice.
A good program includes both theory and hands-on training.
You can expect to learn about:
☑️ Refrigeration principles, materials, and tools
☑️ Installation and maintenance techniques
☑️ What’s involved in recovering refrigerants
☑️ The basics of electrical circuits and controls
☑️ Piping and venting methods
☑️ Troubleshooting☑️ Staying safe on the job
6. WHAT OTHER CERTIFICATIONS DO HVAC TECHS IN ONTARIO NEED?
Because so many buildings are heated using natural gas, HVAC technicians typically need a gas fitter license from the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA).
That will allow you to work on gas appliances, meters, relief valves, and pressure regulators.
Some HVAC programs include gas technician training, starting with G3 and progressing to G2 (which is the minimum level you need to work without supervision).
You will also need an Ozone Depletion Prevention certificate in order to handle refrigerants.
7. WHAT’S REQUIRED FOR ADMISSION TO HVAC TRAINING?
You generally just need to have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Some colleges also require you to pass an entrance test and complete an interview.
8. WHAT JOB OPTIONS WILL YOU HAVE AFTER COMPLETING HVAC TRAINING?
There are several potential paths.
You could choose to focus on either the residential or commercial side. Opportunities can be found in the construction, transportation, and food storage sectors.
Many new grads land roles in refrigeration or sheet metal installation.
Even if you don’t opt to do an apprenticeship, you could land a job in HVAC sales or as a heat gain/loss designer.
9. HOW MUCH DO HVAC TECHNICIANS MAKE?
According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, salaries for HVAC technicians in Ontario typically range from about $35,000 at the beginner level to more than $99,000 for the highest earners.
The median salary is around $58,000.
10. WHAT’S THE CAREER OUTLOOK FOR HVAC TECHS IN ONTARIO?
The provincial government expects jobs for HVAC technicians to grow by close to 15% from 2021 to 2025.
As many as 4,000 openings are expected over that period.
Darren says this is a trade with reliable demand.
“I think the biggest advantage of becoming a tech is steady employment. HVAC is one of the few recession-proof trades. People will always need heating and cooling. There will always be jobs in this field.”
EXPLORE HVAC TRAINING IN ONTARIO
Want to start learning the skills you need to get hired as an HVAC apprentice?
Have a look at the pre-apprenticeship HVAC program offered by Herzing College. Classes are available in Toronto and Cambridge.
Training runs for 52 weeks.
The program includes hands-on training in HVAC installation and repair PLUS preparation for the G3 and G2 gas technician certification exams.
Have more questions? Click below to get details on the program and chat live with an Admissions Advisor. We're here to help!