How to Become an HVAC Technician in Massachusetts
Becoming a successful HVAC technician in Massachusetts involves a strong educational foundation followed by hands on experience in the field. While not every HVAC professional follows the same professional path, the following steps are quite common.
Step 1: Complete High School (4 years) – Earning a high school diploma or GED is an important first step towards work as an HVAC technician. High school students who know they want to pursue the career should be sure to excel in courses like math and physics since those will be directly applicable to their future career.
Step 2: Enroll in an Approved HVAC School (1 – 2 years) – Training in the fundamentals of HVAC installation, maintenance, and repair is an important step when pursuing it as a career. A school that combines hands on training with classroom sessions is generally the best choice. The Massachusetts Bureau of Pipefitters, Refrigeration Technicians, and Sprinklerfitters maintains a list of programs that they have approved. For technicians that want to later be certified as refrigeration technicians, it is essential to choose from one of these approved schools. These programs can take 1 to 2 years to complete. Some programs may result in an associate’s degree, but many do not. Students should also ensure that the program they choose offers CFC certification (also known as EPA certification), since that is a requirement for working with the hazardous materials involved in HVAC repair.
Step 3: Find an Apprenticeship or Trainee Position (duration varies) – Because most HVAC jobs do not require licensing or certification in Massachusetts, anyone can start work as a technician as soon as they finish their training program. However, many new technicians find entry level work as an apprentice or trainee with an experienced technician or company. Proof of a certain number of hours of work is required for future certification. The number of hours varies depending on the type of education the technician has completed prior to his or her work experience.
Step 4: Apply for Refrigeration Technician License – HVAC technicians in Massachusetts who want to work with industrial refrigeration units, over 10 tons in capacity must apply for a Refrigeration Technician Licsense with the state. Applicants for licensure must have a minimum of 2000 hours of work as a refrigeration apprentice or trainee, which must be accompanied by 1000 hours of refrigeration training. The more hours of hands on work an applicant has, the fewer hours of classroom training are required. The full explanation of requirements is available from the Massachusetts Office of Public Safety and Security.