Adjusting a damper in the HVAC system (Source: PEO ACWA)
Over the years, we’ve prepared countless HVAC technicians to take their first steps toward apprenticeship and certification.
And like any training program, students often start with certain misconceptions about the kind of work they’ll be doing, local job market trends, and provincial trade legislation.
What myths do we bust most often? These are 5 common sources of confusion for new HVAC students—feel free to add any we missed in the comments!
HVAC Myth #1: There’s no Certification Exam for HVAC in Ontario
Like many other skilled trades, HVAC is regulated by the Ontario College of Trades. In order to work legally in the field, students must pass a certification exam and obtain a Certificate of Qualification (C of Q) from the College.
There are pre-set requirements for certification, which include 8,280 hours of on-the-job work experience and 720 hours of in-school HVAC training. Apprenticeships take between two to five years to complete.
HVAC Myth #2: HVAC Technology Hasn’t Changed Much Over the Years
Au contraire! HVAC is one of the most exciting, fast-changing trades out there. The push for more efficient, eco-friendly heating and cooling technology is driving rapid innovation in this field.
Plus, powerful digital trends, like “smart” homes and WiFi-enabled thermostats are beginning to dominate HVAC, spawning a host of interesting new products and approaches.
All of these advancements are good for business. In the years to come, HVAC technicians can expect increased demand for the installation and maintenance of new heating/cooling technology.
HVAC Myth #3: You Don’t Need Gas Tech Training to Work in HVAC
HVAC technicians must be prepared to install and service both electric and gas systems. They work on gas-fired furnaces, refrigerators, and boilers (just to name a few), and must be prepared to thread and install gas piping systems.
Quality HVAC courses always include Gas 3 level training to prepare students for the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) licensing exam. And most HVAC technicians progress to the G2 level to open up more (and better paid) job opportunities. Gas technician certification is a must to work in HVAC.
HVAC Myth #4: HVAC Work in Ontario is Mostly Residential
As a matter of fact, many of the jobs opening up in HVAC right now are commercial. According to the Canada Job Bank, Ontario is seeing increased demand for refrigeration services in the food processing sector.
Food processing is one of the largest manufacturing operations in the province, and relies heavily on cooling systems for safe storage and transport.
Expansion in this sector—particularly meat processing—has spiked demand for HVAC mechanics at production facilities, warehouses, and transportation systems dealing in perishable products.
HVAC techs are also wanted at ice-rinks, supermarkets, and restaurants. Meanwhile, maintenance-based work in private homes and apartment buildings is expected to hold steady.
HVAC Myth #5: You Don’t Need Strong People Skills to Work in HVAC
This is a big misconception. Many incoming students believe HVAC is a solitary trade, and they’ll be spending hours alone, face-to-face with boilers and heat pumps.
The truth is, HVAC technicians often work with other tradespeople—plumbers, electricians, carpenters—to complete projects. Plus, HVAC companies want technicians who can get along well with other employees and make clients feel comfortable.
Whether you’re responding to an emergency service call, or pitching a new product to a potential client, good communication skills are absolutely key in this field.
Consider the HVAC Training offered by the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute, with courses available at both the Cambridge and Toronto campuses.
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