Photo: An HVAC technician checks the temperature gauges on an a/c unit (image source: KOMUnews)
Updated December 2022
Are you considering becoming an HVAC technician? Your first step is to find a well-respected training program that will help you get hired as an apprentice.
Before you can challenge the certification exam, you must complete an apprenticeship. HVAC companies don't usually hire apprentices right off the street, so you'll need some sharp skills to get your foot in the door.
What skills do employers look for?
In this post, we break down the skills and qualities that matter most to HVAC employers.
You will start building these skills in pre-apprenticeship HVAC training, and continue honing them throughout your HVAC career.
1. Thorough Knowledge of HVAC Systems & Methods
Employers want HVAC technicians who are familiar with a wide range of HVAC systems, controls, and installation methods.
Even beginners should know the fundamentals of heating and cooling systems, how to thread and install gas piping, how duct systems are organized, and various ventilation methods.
The more technical knowledge you have from the start, the easier it will be to land your first apprenticeship.
As you progress in your career, your knowledge of HVAC systems and methods should continue to expand.
2. Customer Service & Sales
Global HVAC provider Lennox International Inc. published a post on which skills matter most for HVAC techs—with "personality" topping the list, just after technical skills.
Lennox says building rapport with bosses and customers is crucial for technicians, both for making sales and for becoming a valued employee.
They ask Lennox technicians to follow the company rule of thumb for communication: "when you leave a conversation, other people should feel better about themselves and you."
HVAC companies want technicians who will take extra time to explain repairs and new products to customers and answer all of their questions thoroughly—even if those answers seem obvious.
Technicians must be great communicators. They are the face of the company out in the field, where making a good impression is crucial for business success.
3. Knowledge of HVAC Safety Standards and Protocols
Preventative safety skills are key for HVAC technicians, as well as for the people they serve in the community. Employers want apprentices who understand and apply safety procedures for working at heights, in confined spaces, with scaffolding, etc.
HVAC companies look for candidates who know relevant regulations from the Occupational Health and Safety Act and environmental refrigerant laws.
A good HVAC pre-apprenticeship course includes safety training and certification. By the time you graduate, you should be certified in job safety and ready for your first apprenticeship.
4. Problem-Solving & Troubleshooting Skills
HVAC employers need technicians who can quickly size up a malfunctioning system, identify possible problems, brainstorm solutions, and implement troubleshooting steps.
Diagnostic and testing skills are essential for delivering timely, safe, and effective client services.
Companies want techs who think on their feet, know a variety of troubleshooting techniques, and are familiar with the latest testing equipment (airflow meters, humidity recorders, voltmeters, gas leak detectors, etc.)
You'll learn the basics in pre-apprenticeship training, where you'll be tested on troubleshooting real problems that are common in the field.
5. Willingness to Continue Learning About HVAC Technologies
The world of HVAC is constantly evolving toward new products and approaches, challenging even veteran technicians to keep up the pace.
In particular, the push for greater energy efficiency is driving powerful new HVAC trends, such as:
- Wi-fi-connected thermostats that adjust themselves based on a customer's behaviour pattern
- Digital zoning, which uses dampers and sensors to direct air only to occupied rooms
- Air scrubbers that can remove viruses and bacteria from indoor circulating air
HVAC companies need technicians who are motivated to stay on top of industry trends and seek out professional development training to continuously improve their skills.
From day one, you'll need to show that you're willing to keep pushing yourself and learn new skills.
Learn more about pre-apprenticeship HVAC training
Ready to start your own HVAC career? Looking for a trustworthy HVAC program?
Explore the pre-apprenticeship HVAC course at Herzing College. This course is available at both the Toronto and Cambridge locations.
Training takes just 52 weeks and includes safety certifications and preparation for gas technician exams 3 and 2.
Students get hands-on training in HVAC systems, installation, diagnostics, and troubleshooting.
Tools and safety gear are included in the cost of tuition, and every student gets help to find an apprenticeship after graduation.
Click below to browse the program or chat live with an admissions advisor. We're here to help!