HVAC Design Training Programs, Classes and Courses
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) designers create and install heating and cooling systems and components. HVAC designers use computer-aided design (CAD) technologies and extensive HVAC knowledge to repair existing systems and make improvements to system efficiency. Employers typically prefer to hire HVAC designers with at least four years of experience and postsecondary HVAC training.
HVAC Training Programs
A high school diploma or GED certificate is required to enroll in an HVAC design degree program or participate in a HVAC apprenticeship. An associate's degree in HVAC technology combined with an apprenticeship is usually an adequate training program for HVAC designers.
HVAC designers should be comfortable with CAD programs and be able to understand HVAC blueprints and diagrams. They should also be able to collect information about new and existing HVAC systems and identify methods of improving heating, cooling and ventilation efficiency. They should have strong mathematical skills in order to perform advanced calculations and cost estimations. HVAC designers must be able to work well with other construction and labor professionals.
Most HVAC designers are required to have an associate's degree in HVAC technology. HVAC certificate programs are ideal for HVAC technicians, but employers may prefer to hire designers with at least two years of college-level training.
Associate of Science Programs
An associate's degree program in HVAC technology adequately prepares students for careers as HVAC designers. Students study the technical processes behind heating, cooling, ventilation and refrigeration. Programs allow students to work with industry-standard equipment and tools, giving students practical experience before seeking employment or an apprenticeship. Programs require two years of study and commonly include courses on:
- HVAC mechanical systems
- Heating and cooling theories
- Advanced ventilation systems
- HVAC system design
- Blueprint reading and interpretation
- Refrigeration applications
- Hydronic heating systems
Employers typically hire HVAC designers with at least two years of experience. HVAC designers can gain this experience through an apprenticeship, which can last several years. Apprenticeships typically combine classroom training and hands-on experience under the supervision of an experienced HVAC designer. Unions and construction organizations often organize apprenticeships for beginning HVAC designers.
Licenses and Certifications
HVAC designers are required to be licensed in some states, though requirements vary widely by state. In states that require HVAC designers to be licensed, an exam and apprenticeship must be completed. In other states, HVAC designers are not required to seek licensure but must demonstrate competency through extensive experience and completion of a HVAC degree program or apprenticeship.
Workshops and Seminars
HVAC design workshops are offered by technical and vocational colleges that offer HVAC technology programs. Workshops address topics like HVAC cost estimation and calculations, heating and cooling system repairs and alterations, and advanced CAD skills. Employers may also offer training seminars to familiarize newly hired HVAC designers with an employer's policies and procedures.
Several organizations offer HVAC workshops, including North American Technician Excellence (NATE) and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC). NATE offers online training seminars for HVAC technicians and other heating and cooling professionals. PHCC offers various courses through its educational foundation.
HVAC designers can learn valuable professional development information from NATE, PHCC and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). NATE offers HVAC designers and other technical professionals a wealth of resources, including publications like NATE Magazine, NATE Advantage and HVACR Business magazine. NATE also provides information on trade associations, conferences and networking opportunities for HVAC professionals.
The PHCC provides extensive information on HVAC safety, regulations and legal policies, legislation and advocacy issues. The organization provides resources to apprentices, journeymen, self-employed HVAC designers and contractors. A technical support center provides information on HVAC business management and continuing education opportunities.
The AHRI is a highly informative organization that provides information for contractors, HVAC professionals, homeowners and members of AHRI. HVAC designers can find industry statistics and research, information on national HVAC standards and product certification information. There is even global and environmental information for HVAC designers interested in trends and changes in the industry. HVAC designers can find networking and continuing education opportunities that provide excellence opportunities for development.
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