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What Does an HVAC Technician Do?

HVAC technicians can count on job security and career growth, so if you like to solve mechanical problems, this job is worth a closer look. HVAC technicians — also known as HVAC installers and HVAC mechanics — install, service and repair heating and air conditioning units in residential and commercial buildings. They make sure the equipment that regulates indoor temperature, humidity and air quality is in good working order. 

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning but is also sometimes written as HVAC/R to include refrigeration systems. Some HVAC technicians work on all these systems while others specialize. HVAC technicians may install and fix units, but installers typically only install them.

HVAC repairs can be considered an emergency, so technicians can expect to work at odd hours, especially during the peak seasons.

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Our one-of-kind Opportunity Meter rates jobs based on salary, current openings and future demand to help you choose the career that is best for you.
Median Salary $
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HVAC technician works on HVAC unit on roof
When there’s a problem with the heating or cooling, everyone's happy to see the HVAC tech arrive. (Credit: David Spates/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Install new HVAC systems in residential and commercial buildings
  • Diagnose and fix existing HVAC systems, using digital gauges and meters
  • Install electrical components and wiring
  • Clearly explain HVAC problems and solutions with customers
  • Follow government rules on proper handling and disposal of fluids and pressurized gasses
Education + Training

Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent for an entry-level position. Some companies want technicians who have served an apprenticeship. Such programs generally last from six months to two years and include classes and on-the-job training. Increasingly, companies also look for candidates who have completed a trade school program, which lasts from 18-24 months.

Requirements for certification and licensing vary by state. Technicians who work with refrigerants must pass an EPA certification exam. Advanced certification is not typically required but may provide new employment opportunities. Multiple certifications exist through manufacturers and trade organizations. Employers often prefer candidates with a clean driving record.

  • Have good problem-solving and diagnostic skills
  • Have good dexterity 
  • Possess the physical strength to move heavy equipment
  • Possess the physical stamina to work in extreme temperatures and to stand or crouch for long periods
  • Have excellent communication and customer service skills
  • Are mathematically and mechanically inclined
  • Have good interpersonal skills

HVAC Technician training in your area


Commercial Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Diploma

Hennepin Technical College
Brooklyn Park (0.0 Miles)

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning/Refrigeration Technology, A.A.A.S.

Grand Rapids Community College
Grand Rapids (0.0 Miles)

HVAC Technician

Stanly Community College
Albemarle (0.0 Miles)

Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration: Emphasis in Residential System Design Certificate

Davidson County Community College
Thomasville (0.0 Miles)

Residential, A.A.S.

Cedar Valley College
Lancaster (0.0 Miles)

Heating and Air conditioning Technology Certificate

Luzerne County Community College
Nanticoke (0.0 Miles)

Refrigeration Certificate

Compton College
Compton (0.0 Miles)

Sheet Metal / HVAC Ducts and Fittings Diploma

Saint Paul College
St Paul (0.0 Miles)

Air Conditioning Certificate

Macomb Community College
Warren (0.0 Miles)

HVACR Certificate

Wake Technical Community College
Raleigh (0.0 Miles)

Construction Technologies Air Conditioning Critical Systems, Certificate of Achievement

Truckee Meadows Community College
Reno (0.0 Miles)

HVAC Entry Certificate Level 1

Collin College
McKinney (0.0 Miles)

Find HVAC Technician Jobs in Your Area


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Erin Izen in Home Depot store with apron
Ask the Expert

If you’re considering a career in the skilled trades, and the construction industry in particular, you no doubt have questions. Are there good jobs available? Can I earn a decent living? Will I like it?

Erin Izen, director of workforce development and military relations at The Home Depot, has some answers. She and her team work to equip and upskill populations that are often underserved so they can grow their careers. This includes connecting potential tradespeople to careers in the residential and commercial construction and remodeling industries.

Read more.