Working as an HVAC technician, there are many varied roles and responsibilities that accompany this career. To begin, a licensed HVAC contractor must hire a pre-apprentice before starting an HVAC apprenticeship. Much like other regulated apprenticeships, for this Ontario apprenticeship, the process will take 4-5 years as all HVAC apprentices are required to accumulate 9,000 working hours on the job site and another 36 of additional apprenticeship training. Once this is completed to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and University’s standard, HVAC apprentices’ are now able to write their journeyman licensing exam.
Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems are known as HVAC or HVACR. An HVAC system allows building residents to provide a comfortable, climate controlled environment. HVAC systems consist of hundreds of electrical, electronic, and mechanical parts. Depending upon the day, an HVAC technician may be:
- Maintaining a system, diagnosing and repairing problems, or installing and replacing components or entire systems.
- Installation of HVAC units, including electronic and mechanical components
- Installation of HVAC ductwork including flexible tubing and sheet metal construction
- Troubleshoot and repair HVAC units including electronic and mechanical components
- Install or repair fuel and water supply lines
- Conserve, install and recycle CFC and HCFC refrigerants
- Install or repair electrical connections to HVAC components
- Install or repair HVAC system automation components for businesses
Depending upon the season, HVAC technicians will perform additional maintenance or upgrades on out of season equipment. For example, in the summer, heating systems will undergo performance checks and regular maintenance to ensure their readiness for the winter. Conversely, air conditioning systems will be dealt with in the winter.
It is important that HVAC technicians also have good working knowledge of the principles, practices, materials, tools, and equipment of refrigeration, air conditioning, and/or heating equipment operation, for their proper maintenance, and repair. Therefore, HVAC specialists must have the skill-set to troubleshoot and repair all HVAC related electrical components (i.e. motors, starters, etc.). Ultimately, this relates to have the ability to locate and correct defects in refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, or related equipment. Moreover, these trades workers should have skill in the use and operation of tools and equipment used in the repair and maintenance of mechanical equipment.
HVAC journeymen can also earn a Red Seal endorsement after obtaining their Certificates of Qualification (CoQ) working in the trade for over 2 years. By passing the Interprovincial Examination and earning the Red Seal, this gives these trade professionals the qualifications necessary to work in all provinces and territories without further examination. Currently, there are 52 trades currently recognized under the Red Seal program in Canada. Ultimately, an Interprovincial Standards Red Seal can be obtained in the trades designated as Red Seal by:
- Graduating from a recognized provincial or territorial apprenticeship training program; or
- Meeting requirements established by the provincial or territorial apprenticeship authority; or
- Having the time and experience working in a Red Seal trade assessed to qualify to write the Red Seal examination.
- Passing the interprovincial standards Red Seal examination for that trade.