One of the nice things about the HVAC industry is you don't need to take general education classes that are required for a degree. You can skip the general ed by choosing to earn a certification. However, you may decide to get a degree because many HVAC jobs pay more for degree holders than for those with certifications.
Some certifications are necessary for working in the HVAC/R industry. If you plan on working with Class I and Class II refrigerants, then you need to be Section 608 certified. Check your state's requirements for the particular job you're considering.
Ideas for HVAC career choices:
High Demand for Well-Trained HVAC Techs
There is a high demand for well-trained HVAC technicians, which is another good reason to get an HVAC certification or degree. It will open more job opportunities for you. Skillful HVAC techs are in such high demand that some companies are willing to pay for their training.
HVAC Designers and Manufacturers
Technicians are the most common route for a person to take when considering the HVAC industry for a career. However, you'll also want to consider becoming an HVAC designer or manufacturer. Like HVAC techs, HVAC designers and manufacturers are in high demand. If you're interested in design, you should attain a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with an emphasis on thermodynamics.
Start an HVAC BusinessAn option you'll want to look into is starting an HVAC business. Be specific about what type of business you'll start, such as an air duct cleaning business. Then, learn how to build a business in that niche. The information you'll find on how to start an air duct cleaning business, for example, will be different than starting an air conditioner repair company. Maintain focus on a specific area in the beginning. You can always target new markets after becoming successful in one.
Voluntary Certifications Increase Your Income
Rather than stopping at the minimum requirements you need for your career choice, look into earning voluntary HVAC certifications to improve your resume and income earning potential. Examples of extra HVAC certifications you may want to have are HVAC Excellence, NATE, UA STARS, and RSES CM.
What Kind of HVAC Jobs Can You Get with a Certification? A Degree?
With a certification, you can become a HVAC technician, IAQ inspector, control technician, and more. To start your own HVAC business or design HVAC systems, you need a college degree. Requirements vary depending on which state you live in, so check your state's requirements for the HVAC career you're interested in. Some states require you get experience in the field before starting an HVAC business.
Should you get an HVAC certification or degree? The answer to that question largely depends on which career path you want to pursue. If you're already working as an HVAC employee, then ask yourself if you're happy in your position or if you'd be more interested in another subject area of HVAC. For an income raise and greater work opportunities, it's worth earning additional certifications that aren't mandatory in your career.
What's a Day like for HVAC Techs?