Updated December 2022
Thinking about enrolling in an HVAC program this year? Ontario has excellent job growth in HVAC right now, so you're on the right track in terms of career opportunities.
But what else should you know up front before you invest in training?
For example, is your goal to become a certified HVAC technician? If so, you'll need to land an apprenticeship, complete mandatory courses, and take a certification exam.
You will also need your gas technician licence. You won't get far in HVAC without it!
Many people start off with a pre-apprenticeship HVAC program. The goal of this training is to help you land your first paid apprenticeship.
Most employers won't just hire someone off the street. They prefer apprentices who have some basic training in HVAC systems, installation, repair, and safety. A good pre-apprenticeship program teaches the fundamentals so you'll have a competitive edge when applying for jobs.
If this is your goal, your first step is to learn more about the HVAC trade, required skills, job options, training, and career outlook in your city.
That's exactly what we're covering in today's post, so let's get started.
1. What Exactly is an HVAC Technician?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Sometimes you'll see an "R" added to the end (HVACR), which stands for refrigeration.
HVAC technicians are trained to install, maintain, and service all of the above systems for both commercial and residential customers.
Here are some of the tasks you'd be doing on a typical day at work:
☑️ Installing refrigeration or air conditioning components, such as motors, controls, gauges, valves, circulating pumps, condensers, humidifiers, evaporators, and compressors
☑️ Measuring and cutting piping, and connecting piping using welding and brazing equipment
☑️ Checking for leaks using testing devices
☑️ Recharging a system with refrigerant
☑️ Repairing and replacing parts for entire refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation, or heat pump systems
☑️ Calibrating systems and performing routine maintenance
HVAC technician/mechanic is a regulated trade in Ontario. This means you must complete an apprenticeship, take HVAC training, pass an exam, and earn a Certificate of Qualification. In total, it takes about five years to get certified and become a journeyperson in the trade.
Important: HVAC technicians often work on gas-fired units, which requires a gas technician licence. It's wise to choose a combined HVAC and gas technician program that fully prepares you to write the Technical Stanar Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA) gas technician exam after graduation.
2. What Will You Learn in Pre-aprenticeship HVAC & Gas Technician Training?
A combined HVAC and gas technician program covers a lot of ground. Students learn how heating and cooling systems work, plus the fundamentals of HVAC installation, maintenance, diagnostics, and repair.
Herzing's program runs for 52 weeks and includes total preparation for gas technician level 3 and 2 exams (you have to pass level 3 before you can take level 2).
Major topics and skills include:
☑️ HVAC Systems: The fundamentals of both residential and light commercial heating/cooling systems, including forced air furnace systems, air conditioning units, and hydronic boiler heating systems.
☑️ Electrical Theory & Practice: The basics of the electrical code, electrical meters, series, parallel and series/parallel circuits, etc.
☑️ Venting Methods: How to work with sheet metal to install venting.
☑️ Piping Methods: How to thread and install black steel and soft copper pipes.
☑️ Gas Appliances: Venting systems, burner designs, ignition systems.
☑️ Service & Troubleshooting: How to select the correct instruments for checking mechanical and electrical problems in air conditioning units.
☑️ Safety: Certifications in WHMIS, Working at Heights, Lock Out & Tag Safety, Confined Spaces Hazard Awareness, Elevating Work Platforms, and Scaffold Training.
3. You need good people skills to succeed in HVAC
Many people don't realize that communication skills are crucial for succeeding in the skilled trades. HVAC is no exception.
In fact, many HVAC companies say "good people skills" are a top requirement for new recruits.
Because you'll be working in people's homes (or places of business), you'll need to be good at building relationships and establishing trust.
You may also find yourself working in HVAC sales, pitching new products and upgrades to clients, where good people skills are a must.
And on job sites, you'll need to work closely with other tradespeople and be a good team player.
Communication and customer service are considered essential skills in this trade. It's important to know this up front before you get started with HVAC training and certification.
4. HVAC Technology is Rapidly Evolving, so You'll need to keep up
Think the world of HVAC hasn't changed much over the years? Think again! This field is rapidly evolving with all kinds of new technology.
There's a huge push for more efficient, eco-friendly heating and cooling solutions, which is driving a lot of new product development. Plus, advances in "smart" homes and digital HVAC are compelling professionals in the field to learn new installation and servicing techniques.
But it's all good for business. There's rising demand for the latest advancements in heating and cooling.
Why does this matter to you?
Because to succeed in this trade, you must be willing to keep learning throughout your career. It helps if you're naturally curious and enjoy a good challenge.
5. What are your HVAC job options?
Speaking of HVAC careers, what exactly are your job options in this field?
There are actually several different paths you can choose, especially once you have your G2 gas technician certification.
HVAC employment options include:
☑️ HVAC technician/mechanic
☑️ HVAC contractor
☑️ HVAC wholesale
☑️ Gas Technician
☑️ Gas Pipe Fitter
☑️ Furnace Installation/Repair/Maintenance
☑️ Boiler Installation/Repair/Maintenance
☑️ Water Heater Installation/Repair/Maintenance
6. is there demand for g2-certified HVAC technicians in ontario?
Good question. You definitely need to know if there's demand for HVAC technicians where you live before you invest in training.
Fortunately, HVAC mechanics/technicians in Ontario get four out of five stars for job outlook and demand from the Government of Canada Job Bank. That means prospects are good for the next few years.
Here's what's driving this growth:
☑️ Strong demand in the construction industry, where many HVAC mechanics are employed by heating and air-conditioning contractors
☑️ An increased awareness of the importance of air quality in the wake of the pandemic
☑️ Steady demand for residential renovations and more energy-efficient HVAC systems
☑️ Growth in the food processing industry, which requires specialized refrigeration systems
Learn More About HVAC Training Near You
There are a number of HVAC colleges in Ontario, both private and public.
Herzing College offers a combined HVAC and Gas Technician program at our Toronto and Cambridge campuses. Training takes 52 weeks to complete and includes prep for both the G3 and G2 gas technician exams.
Want to learn more?
Your next step is to speak with admissions. An admissions advisor will guide you through the HVAC program and explain costs, financial aid, how to apply, and more.
Chat live with an advisor now. Or click below to explore the program in more detail. We're here to help!