Have you ever thought about becoming an HVAC technician? HVAC is a lucrative field that’s overflowing with jobs right now like no other field.
If you live in Washington State, the average salary is even higher than the national average, and there are many ways to become an HVAC technician. This guide will discuss in detail, the viable options for getting HVAC training done in Washington.
How to Become a HVAC Technician in Washington State
To become an HVAC technician, a certain amount of skill and education is needed. HVAC technicians are specifically trained to repair, install, and maintain heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems.
By following these steps, you can become a technician in Washington:
- The basic requirement for every post-secondary school or college is a high school diploma or an equivalent certification.
- Having experience in troubleshooting skills, basic math classes, mechanical experience, aptitude, and customer service skills can benefit trainees in the long run and their HVAC college applications.
- HVAC employers hire those with experience and a degree in the relevant subject. Therefore, vocational schools are present which offer a range of courses that one can choose from.
- Apprentice opportunities are favorable for HVAC students as they provide hands-on experience. Apprenticeship, paired with vocational training, enhances job opportunities and learning experiences for students. These apprenticeships are offered by HVAC programs and last for three to five years.
- You also require a trainee level license in Washington state. This license is renewed every two years.
How to Become a HVAC Journeyman in Washington State
To become a journeyman, you need to fulfill certain requirements. An HVAC journeyman differs from a trainee and a contractor. A trainee is a basic and initial level of becoming a technician.
You will need a journeyman license, also known as the 06b Electrical License, required for commercial work. A test for journey-level can be given once you complete and have an affidavit of 2000 hours of working supervised by a certified electrician.
Moreover, you need to fulfill the required amount of Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Courses are available that can train you for a 06b Electrical license and fulfill the requirements.
What Makes Washington a Great Place to Start an HVAC Career?
Known as the 'Evergreen State,' Washington is ranked as one of the best locations to make a living, according to Forbes 2013. It is, no doubt, a great place to start an HVAC career.
If you are a student thinking of starting your education in this field or are a fresh graduate right out of an HVAC institute, following are the reasons why you should consider Washington as a pivot for starting your career:
Washington experiences humid summers, especially because it has the Pacific Ocean to its west. In summers, there is a high demand for air conditioners and their installation or repair, leading to high demand for technicians.
Some areas of the state experience cool winters while others get snowfall. Cold temperature demands heating systems in buildings to keep the occupants warm and comfortable. Since technicians serve this purpose, they are in high demand.
Washington is a densely populated state. There is a significantly large population of residents who need to keep their occupied areas adapted to the state's changing weather. This creates an increased need for HVAC professionals.
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician
Like there are some prerequisites to merit a position, there are certain requirements to be fulfilled if you want a career as an HVAC technician.
HVAC Schools in Washington
In Washington State, there are many brick and mortar institutes where you could learn HVAC. One the most prominent institutes is the HVAC School, offering separate specialized courses in each field of HVAC like Air Conditioning or the Heat Pump Fundamentals and Gas Furnace - Troubleshooting course.
Northwest HVAC/R Association Training Center is another good option for students looking for the traditional classroom experience. They offer a full-time 9 month long programs that comes with a job placement guarantee. Their curriculum includes a whole variety of subjects, including boilers, electricity, gas codes and installations, mathematics, and oil service.
HVAC Business and Technical Institute is another trade school in Washington State providing HVAC training. The school offers a variety of short classes on subjects like Understanding Gas & Electric Furnaces, Understanding Electrical Circuits, RCW/WAC Update, and EPA Prep & Test.
Certain exams and training is required to become an HVAC technician. There are a few ways to prepare for these:
If you already have a job or are just too busy to attend school, you could always participate in an online program tailored for HVAC training. Most of these programs are geared towards earning a certificate, and provide EPA Section 608 certification exam preparation.
Ashworth College is one such school that offers a 4-month- long HVAC training including preparation for EPA Section 608 certification.
Penn Foster Career School offers extensive training in the field of HVACR, and their program comes with EPA certification exam voucher, preparation materials, and registration as well.
HVAC Training Solutions offer a self-paced program and provide a unique learning environment aimed at teaching the basics of HVACR. ESCO Institute offers a wide range of learning materials from manuals and textbooks to DVDs.
In Washington State, you are not mandated by law to have a license to work in the field of HVAC, but you are required to have an electrical license. There are two different electrical licenses in Washington State - the trainee level, which requires no prior experience or training to obtain; and the journey level, which you need to have in order to work alone in HVACR.
A trainee must work under the supervision of a journey or master level electrician. A trainee license is valid for two years, and there is a requirement of 24 hours of class per year to be able to renew the certificate. You can sign up or get more information at the state’s Licenses and Inspections department. And be sure to notice that you save a few dollars by paying online!
A journey electrician for HVAC can either follow the general journey course, which includes all specialties, or concentrate just on the necessary areas for HVAC. There are two journey certificates that apply specifically to HVAC workers in Washington: 6A and 6B.
For a gas piping license, there is a separate exam. To be eligible for this exam, you need to be a licensed plumber, obtain a certificate of completion from an approved gas piping mechanic class, and have at least 6 months combined experience as a gas piping mechanic or as an unlicensed worker supervised by a gas piping mechanic. More details are on the city’s website.
Other cities may also have special requirements; be sure to check with local licensing and inspections offices.
Job Outlook and Salary for HVAC in Washington
Before starting a job or a career in any state, you might want to know its career prospects, job availability, and salary. HVAC jobs are on the rise at this time, particularly because of growing commercial and industrial avenues.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected rise in HVAC jobs by 21% in 2022.
Those with more experience and extensive training are preferred by employers and secure jobs with higher pay. Some companies have the lowest hourly wage of $18.69 and the highest hourly wage of $27.00.
Contractors and businesses in Washington are willing to pay higher than many states and cities. It is, after all, a high-earning state. Following are the per year salary of HVAC technicians in Washington:
- Entry-level: An entry-level technician earns somewhere around $22,118 per year in Washington.
- Mid-level: A mid-level technician tentatively earns $38,109 per annum.
- Master level: A master level technician earns $63,657 per year.
Insurance and Tax Information for HVAC in Washington
To obtain an HVAC contractor's license in Washington, a specific procedure, as well as requirements, need to be met. Insurance for General Liability and Worker's compensation should be acquired for an HVAC contractor. Proof of these insurances is needed while applying for the contractor's license.
Moreover, if you are starting your own business, you need to obtain state and federal tax numbers. If you have employees, you also need an industrial insurance account number.
What You Will Learn in HVAC Training
HVAC training can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, and you will learn a great amount about Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and possibly Refrigeration. Some of the topics you’ll learn about HVAC include installing HVAC equipment to comply with federal, state, and local law, and handling equipment safely.
You will also learn about subjects such as natural gas piping, ACR tubing, sheet metal operation, duct sizing, ergonomics, the mechanical code, refrigerant handling, ergonomics, best practices, and even customer relations. These programs will prepare you for certifications required in Washington as well, so that you will be better prepared for your new career.
The HVAC industry is a lucrative field to get into, as the job market growth and stability compares to no other industry. If you happen to live in the state of Washington, you might be in luck, since HVAC has a booming industry in Washington State with an increase in job numbers and higher-than-average salary.
It might take some time and effort to learn HVAC and get the proper certifications, but it will be all worth it in the end, as there is no shortage of demand for skilled workers in this growing industry. If you are considering taking the leap and getting into the world of HVAC, consider your in-state options, as there is a plethora of resources to use in Washington State.
People Also Ask
Before starting a career, you may have certain questions in mind, which they seek answers for. We have made this part of the article to answer those questions, so you may not face any difficulties or concerns before starting your HVAC career.
Below are answers to the some most frequently asked questions by many people:
What is the Difference Between a 06a and 06b HVAC License in Washington?
The 06a is the Journey level license, while the 06b Electrical License is the restricted journeyman license.
For the former, you need to complete 2000 documented working hours, while for the latter, you need to complete 4000 documented working hours under the supervision of a certified electrician.
Who Handles HVAC Permits in Washington?
In the state of Washington, permits are handled and issued by respective offices located in every city.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Technician in Washington State?
In Washington, becoming an HVAC technician requires a lengthy period of studying and apprenticeship, which usually lasts for three to five years. The educational courses may take up to two or more years, depending upon the certification.
How to Become a Part of an HVAC Union in Washington State
To join a union in Washington state, you need to:
- Get certification in the field of HVAC from a college or university offering courses on HVAC
- Complete the training hours required to qualify for an HVAC technician
- Look for an apprenticeship by applying to a government or a private-run union.
What License is Required to Install HVAC and Heating in Washington State?
In Washington, a trainee or a journeyman electrical license is needed if you want to work as an HVAC technician. There is no requirement for a proper HVAC technician license except for in the city of Seattle.