How to Become an HVAC Technician in Pennsylvania
People who enjoy hands-on work and have strong attention to detail and communication skills often thrive in HVAC tech careers. Each state has specific requirements for aspiring HVAC specialists to meet before they can start working.
With the proper training and certification, you can become a licensed HVAC technician in Pennsylvania.
Education & Training
Becoming an HVAC technician in Pennsylvania is similar to the process in other states. You must have proper training through an accredited HVAC school or perform apprenticeship tasks while working under a licensed HVAC tech.
Length of Time
Depending on which option you choose, HVAC training can take anywhere from 18 months to five years.
Courses You Might Take
Some people pursuing HVAC careers learned a few basic principles of the trade in their high school math, physics, and shop classes.
During a college or trade school HVAC program, students gain a deeper understanding of concepts like:
- Fundamentals of Electrical, Heating and Chilling Systems
- Residential and Commercial Refrigeration
- Welding and Sheet Metal Fabrication
- Hydronics, Load Calculations and Psychometrics
- Troubleshooting and Diagnostics
You might also take business, advertising, and communication classes if you want to run an HVAC company after getting your license.
aid apprenticeships allow you to learn the same skills through hands-on instruction from a more experienced tech or an employer with their own HVAC business. Most apprenticeships take between four and five years to complete.
Pennsylvania HVAC License Requirements
Currently, there is no statewide requirement to have an HVAC license in PA.
However, under Section 608 of the federal Clean Air Act, all technicians who install, service, or repair equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere must have proper certification through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Most EPA-approved trade school programs offer the necessary exam to students after they complete their HVAC course. Once these students graduate, they’ll have the proper certification to work on refrigeration units as well as heating and cooling systems.
If you got your HVAC education through an apprenticeship, you can find an online proctor that offers the EPA 608 exam.
In addition to an EPA certification, certain Pennsylvania cities and municipalities may only allow licensed individuals to obtain specific HVAC and refrigeration technician jobs. Also, HVAC techs with an official license might stand a better chance of getting higher-paying jobs than unlicensed technicians.
Consult your local licensing board to learn about Pennsylvania HVAC license requirements in your area. If you need to obtain an HVAC license in your jurisdiction, you’ll need to visit the Pearson Vue website to register for the proper International Codes Council (ICC) exam.
Officials at your licensing board will tell you which test you need to take to obtain the correct HVAC license for your jurisdiction.
Pearson Vue also lets HVAC techs schedule ICC exams if they live in areas that allow them to practice their trade without a license.
Register for one of the National Standard Contractor/Trade exams to get your Master or Journeyman-level certification. Once you create an account on the Pearson Vue website, you can register for your test, pay the necessary fees, and start preparing for your HVAC licensing exam.
HVAC Tech Salary in PA
After you complete your training and obtain the proper license, you can start applying for HVAC jobs in PA.
Those who participated in apprenticeships may be able to continue working for the same company while earning a higher wage. Others might need to explore employment opportunities at different residential, commercial, and government locations throughout the state.
HVAC tech salaries in PA differ depending on your employer and experience or certification level, as well as your region.
Depending on where you live or where you plan to work as an HVAC and refrigeration technician, you might be able to earn one of the following average salaries:
What Do They Do?
HVAC technicians install and maintain heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. Some also get additional training to learn how to work with refrigeration units and air filtration devices.
Where Do They Work?
Since nearly every building has heating and cooling units, HVAC techs work in several locations, including homes, schools, offices, stores, and hospitals.
To do this job, techs must be up-to-date on all the latest hardware and technology they’ll need to perform their duties. HVAC workers must also comply with government laws and regulations and take the proper safety measures to avoid electrical shocks, cuts, burns, falls, and other dangers of the industry.
Like many other skilled trades, HVAC work involves lifting and moving large objects that weigh 50 pounds or more. However, professionals in this field also need to know how to read schematics and electrical ladder diagrams and fit into crawl spaces, behind walls, and in attics to repair and install heating and cooling units.
Customer service is an essential part of the HVAC industry as well. Techs need to talk to homeowners and building managers to schedule appointments, diagnose heating and cooling issues in various structures, and negotiate prices for their work.
Those who run their own HVAC businesses also need some marketing skills to advertise their services throughout their communities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national demand for HVAC tech jobs is on the rise.
Experts predict a five percent increase in employment for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers between 2021 and 2031. Both residential and commercial construction will likely drive this growth in Pennsylvania.
As more homes, storefronts and office buildings switch to energy-efficient methods for cooling and heating, the demand for HVAC technicians who can upgrade, install, retrofit, and repair these systems will continue to grow as well.
Licensed HVAC techs might also see an increase in employment opportunities as more experienced technicians go into business for themselves.