Heating and air technicians are highly skilled and well trained in their field. To become an HVAC technician in Arizona, you must either enroll and complete a training program or become an apprentice and work under a journeyman to learn the trade.
Contractors who plan to work in Arizona must have licenses. HVAC/R technicians are in demand and well paid in Arizona. The mean yearly wage for HVAC/R technicians is approximately $45,000.
What You’ll Learn as an HVAC Technician
If you are thinking about a career in HVAC/R repair, you must have a high school diploma and specialized training. In Arizona, schools such as the Refrigeration School in Phoenix, provide training programs. The HVAC/R classes teach apprentice technicians physics principles. They are taught the mechanics of the units and how to repair and maintain them to work efficiently. If you are looking for a school or program in Arizona that will help you become a certified HVAC tech fill out the form below:
HVAC apprentices are taught about the construction of homes and businesses so that they will know how and where to install ductwork. They are taught precision skills and how to interpret technical plans. The HVAC/R technician is not only an air conditioner mechanic; they must be able to read and follow blueprints and engineering specifications.
They must also have the skills of a pipe fitter and electrician. They must be able to read the pressure gauges and test joints for gas leaks. They are able to replace defective breaker controls, thermostats, fuses, repair wiring to installed units, and fabricate ductwork.
They are able to properly use hand tools and soldering equipment. They are also able to use torches and other tools involved in construction and plumbing. Each of these skills must be mastered before the technician is licensed.
Before you are allowed to work on refrigerated appliances, you must take formal refrigeration classes and learn the regulations that affect the refrigerants. For example, the guidelines for handling and recycling refrigerants are set out in Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. Each HVAC/R technician must know how to handle leaking refrigerants and know when to retrofit, repair, or replace appliances.
HVAC/R Technicians can be taught by HVAC/R journeymen, experienced and licensed technicians. People who are learning a trade from a journeyman are considered apprentices. Apprentices are exempt from these EPA certification requirements because they are being closely monitored by a certified technician.
HVAC/R technicians who graduate from vocational training programs are not finished with their education. They must stay informed about environmental protection laws and state and federal regulations. Ongoing professional development is important for the successful HVAC/R technician.
HVAC technicians must be diligent in their record keeping. HVAC/R technicians are taught to keep records of any work with refrigerants. They must be certified to purchase and use these chemicals.
Arizona requires HVAC technicians who own their own businesses to be licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. HVAC technicians are licensed under the specialty commercial license classification requirements.
Contractors must have four years of experience before they can be licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors with a CR-39 specialty license for Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating, or a CR-79 specialty license Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Including Solar. Technicians must pass a business management exam and an Air conditioning and Refrigeration Trade Exam. Those who plan to work on solar units must also take the Solar Exam.
HVAC/R technicians must be lifelong learners. They must adapt as technology upgrades and changes. They must be willing to take classes to learn how to service and install new equipment. They must continue to keep up with the codes and regulations that frequently change. Learning is a career-long process for the HVAC technician.
Examination Process in Arizona
HVAC Technicians must earn their EPA Certification by passing a written exam. Technicians who want to own their own business must also be licensed as a contractor in Arizona. There are tests that must be taken and passed to become eligible for licensure. Additional information for each of these exams is discussed below.
Arizona HVAC contractors must have EPA Section 608 technician certification. To become certified, technicians must pass an EPA-approved test. Once you are certified, your credentials do not expire.
Type I certification is required for servicing small appliances. Servicing high-pressure appliances requires Type II certification. Disposing of or servicing low-pressure appliances requires Type III certification.
If you plan to service all types of equipment, the Universal Certification replaces the individual certifications. The Universal Technical Institute in Scottsdale and The Refrigeration School, Inc. in Phoenix are two locations that provide on-site training for this certification and are test centers.
Contractor License Examinations
PSI Exams administers the exams for the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. These written or computer-based exams can be taken in Flagstaff, Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Tucson, and Yuma. Candidates may register online and must pay exam fees in advance.
If you take the test on the computer, you will know immediately if you passed because your score will appear on the screen after the test is completed. If you take the written exam, you will receive an unofficial score report after your test is completed.
The Candidate Information Bulletin provides information about the exams and contains a registration form that may be printed and mailed for registration. The Arizona edition of the NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management is available for purchase at the PSI Online Store.
There are two parts of the Trade Exam. The AZ R-39/C-79 Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (Residential/Commercial) exam is a lengthy exam. Each candidate is given 210 minutes to complete the test.
Candidates who take the Solar Exam are given 75 minutes to complete this portion of the exam. The Arizona Business Management Exam is lengthy also. Each candidate is given 180 minutes to complete the exam.
The Content Outline of the exam is available from PSI Online. Questions are based on trade knowledge and Code books. Calculators are allowed for use in the exam room during the test.
A copy of the Code of Federal Regulations 29 CFR Part 1926 (OSHA) with the newest amendments is also allowed to be brought into the exam room. The International Fuel Gas Code, the International Mechanical Code 2009, and the International Plumbing Code, 2009 are also allowed to be brought into the exam room.
It is recommended that you study and know your reference materials that you bring into the exam room. They can be highlighted, underlined, notated, and indexed prior to the exam.
However, you may not write in the references during the exam. If you write in your references during the exam, you will be reported to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Post-it notes are not allowed.
Temporary tabs are also not allowed. You must have permanent tabs that would tear a page if removed. No additional bookmarks, index cards or loose papers may be inserted into the reference materials. If you print any of these references from the internet, they must be hole-punched and placed in a binder or spiral bound.
Specific reference material that should be studied but not allowed in the exam room include:
- Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Althouse, Turnquist, Bracciano, 19th or 20th edition, Goodheart-Wilcox
- Low Pressure Boilers, Frederick M. Steingress, Daryl R. Walker, 2009, 3rd edition, American Technical Publishers, Inc.
- ACCA Ductulator, Air Conditioning Contractors of America
- Solar Water and Pool Heating Design and Installation Manual, 1997, Florida Solar Energy Center.
HVAC technicians must be willing to spend time learning their trade as an apprentice and continue to hone their skills throughout their careers as a journeyman. They must obtain licensure and obey the federal regulations for record keeping. Training programs are available in Arizona, and this career field is expanding as the solar technology evolves.