Thinking of starting an HVAC career? Eyeing Texas as the place to do it?
It could be a great move because Texas had the 3rd highest employment level for HVAC technicians in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 The state of Texas reported 28,010 employed HVAC workers, just behind Florida and California.1
Houston was one of the top cities for HVAC tech employment that year, making it worth considering.1 Plus, there are some great HVAC schools in Houston, TX.
What could you learn in an HVAC training program in Houston, TX? And how could that training help you prepare for an HVAC career in the Lone Star State? Get answers in this article.
How Do I Become a HVAC Technician in Texas?
There are a few options for becoming an HVAC technician in Texas.2,3,4
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- If you’re just starting out on the HVAC career path, you’ll need to register with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.4
- After you’ve completed some HVAC training and/or gained some experience in the field, you could be eligible to apply to be a certified technician.3
- With even more HVAC training and/or experience, you could apply for the HVAC contractor license.2
See more about each of these options for becoming an HVAC tech in Texas below.
HVAC Contractor License
In order to get an HVAC contractor license, you will need to meet some requirements set forth by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.2 You may be eligible to apply for an HVAC contractor license if you meet one of the following conditions:2
- You have had at least 48 months of practical work experience under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor in the past 72 months.2
- You had held a technician certification for at least 12 months, along with 36 months of practical work experience under a licensed HVAC contractor’s supervision.2
An Experience Verification Form is required.2
There are some exceptions, however.2 You may be exempt from the standard licensing requirements under the following circumstances:2
- You have an HVAC degree, diploma or certification.2
- You are a licensed or degree-holding engineer.2
- You have military training in HVAC.2
- You are employed by an industrial operation as an HVAC worker.2
Unless you meet any of the exemptions above, you must still register with the Department of Licensing and Regulation to work as an HVAC tech.3 Be sure to check with the Department about specific eligibility requirements.
HVAC Technician Registration or Certification
If you do not have an HVAC contractor license or an exemption, you must register as one of the following types of HVAC technicians to legally work in Texas:3
- Registered Technician: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for technician registration.4 Anyone who assists licensed HVAC contractors must register and may not advertise their own services.4
- Certified Technician: This designation means that you have completed some level of supervised work experience or HVAC training but are not yet eligible for a license.3
There are three ways to qualify for HVAC technician certification:3
- If you have completed 24 months of HVAC work under the supervision of a licensed contractor.3
- If you can apply relevant military experience.3
- If you have completed a department-approved vocational HVAC training program of at least 2,000 hours. The HVAC program must combine hands-on training with classroom instruction. 3
The HVAC technician certification is voluntary, but the HVAC technician registration is required.3
How Do I Become a Better HVAC Technician?
There are many different types of jobs within the broad field of HVAC.5 Within each sector, there may be entry-level jobs, mid-level jobs and advanced jobs.5 For example, these are some of the major HVAC sectors:5
- Sales and marketing
- Automated controls
- Engineering and design
- Green energy5
Each sector may offer different paths to career advancement in HVAC.5
Entry-Level Residential HVAC Tech
For example, a residential HVAC tech may start out as a trainee or technical training student.5,6 In the state of Texas, you would need to officially register as a technician with the Department of Licensing and Regulation to work in an entry-level position. You would typically work under more experienced HVAC contractors to learn the trade.4
Mid-Level Residential HVAC Technician
Then, a mid-level residential technician might have completed technical school, worked for a few years as a trainee and then earned their own contractor license in order to work unsupervised.5 In the state of Texas, you would need four years of eligible training to work independently.2
Senior-Level Residential HVAC Tech
After that, an advancement in the field of residential HVAC could include running your own business and hiring employees.5
There are plenty of other ways to advance an HVAC career across the different sectors, depending on your interests and aptitudes.5,6 Gaining work experience and continuing to learn, such as through continuing education, are great ways to become a better HVAC technician.6
What Type of Preparation Is Required for the HVAC Field?
Working as an HVAC professional requires a certain level of training and supervised work experience.2,6 Some states, for example Texas, clearly lay out the guidelines and requirements for working as an HVAC tech.2
HVAC is an industry with increasingly complex heating and cooling systems, so employers generally prefer an applicant who has already invested in HVAC training or apprenticeship to learn the trade.6
High School HVAC-Prep Classes
If you are in high school and are considering enrolling in HVAC school, taking vocational education, math and physics classes may be helpful.6
EPA Section 608 HVAC Technician Certification
Finally, all HVAC workers who buy, handle or work with refrigerants must obtain certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).6
Texas Registered HVAC Tech Age Requirement
To begin working as a registered technician in Texas, you just need to be at least 18 years old.4
What Could You Learn in an HVAC Training Program?
What could you learn in HVAC school? It can depend on the HVAC school and HVAC training program because different schools may focus on different subjects.
For example, Tulsa Welding School offers a Refrigeration Technologies program in Houston, Texas. This HVAC training program teaches students the basic skills needed to service and repair refrigeration and HVAC equipment.7
TWS HVAC Courses
Fundamentals of Electricity
Learn basic electrical principles and practices, including test meter usage, schematic wiring and safety processes for servicing electrical equipment.7
Fundamentals of Refrigeration
Students receive instruction in the physical and mechanical properties of the refrigeration cycle. They are introduced to HVAC tools like the manifold gauge set and vacuum pumps.7
Fundamentals of Solar
See the processes and concepts of solar photovoltaic systems.7
Residential Comfort Systems
Learn how to build schematics and wire residential heating and air conditioning systems.7
Commercial Comfort Systems
See how to safely remove and replace commercial HVAC system parts. Learn to braze with oxy/acetylene. Test for R410a safety and EPA Section 609 certification.7
Refrigeration Systems & Practices
Get hands-on training in the management and monitoring of commercial grade refrigeration equipment.7
Advanced Troubleshooting Techniques
Practice on E-STAR Trainer equipment to hone your electrical and HVAC troubleshooting skills.7
Train with TWS
Ready to start your HVAC training? See what life as a TWS student could hold in store for you. Chat with a team member today. Call 855-981-7313.
NOTE: Click on the bubbles to follow the trajectory from the starting point of Residential Trainee in the Residential category.