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 license. 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.
It total, it takes about 5 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 license. It's wise to choose a combined HVAC and Gas Technician program, which fully prepares you to write the 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.
Here's the good news. HVAC mechanics/technicians get the highest rating for job outlook and demand from the Government of Canada Job Bank (2020 report)
That's a 3/3 star rating for employment prospects across Ontario. 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.
☑️ Consistent demand in the commercial sector. HVAC mechanics are wanted at ice-rinks, processing plants, and supermarkets.
☑️ Steady demand for residential renovations and more energy efficient HVAC systems
☑️ Food processing plants are expected to become a top employer of HVAC professionals.
Across the board, we're seeing excellent demand in this trade, which is expected to remain stable for the next 10 years.
Demand for HVAC Mechanics in Ontario
Source: Government of Canada Job Bank, HVAC Job Prospects
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 campus.
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, 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!