The quality of HVAC training you receive can have an impact on your career as a technician in several ways.
Some of this might seem obvious, but I'll go over it anyways for those of you interested in starting out in this trade.
The more thorough your HVAC training is, the more adaptable you will be in the field.
You will be more able to help your employer and your customers because you will be starting out with a good understanding of HVAC technology, which will help you determine what needs to be done on the job site.
You will also have more of the skills needed to succeed as an HVAC technician, and you'll have a greater capacity to continue learning every day as you encounter new and different types of machinery.
Are you totally new to this trade, and trying to decide where to go to get the best start?
For those who are totally new, maybe I should list some of the subjects you will study on your way to becoming a Journeyman HVAC technician.
You will study the effect heat has on matter, the laws of thermodynamics, sensible and latent heat, the chemistry of refrigerants, ozone depletion, gas laws, electricity, motor theory, electromagnetism, magnetism, electronics, fluid flow and fluid dynamics, fan characteristics, air distribution, the mechanics of compressors, water pumps, electrical and mechanical valves, psychrometrics, mathematics, air conditioning and refrigeration theory, piping for refrigerant, water, and gas; heating with electricity, oil, and gas; absorption refrigeration, refrigeration oils, trouble shooting, customer relations, and a number of other topics.
So where do you go for HVAC training?
If you'd be interested in studying at home in your spare time, we recommend the complete, accredited HVAC Technician course available from the Penn Foster Career School.
If you're young enough, the very best place to start could be the military.
You'll get first class HVAC training and several years of experience, meet a lot of people, see a lot of places, and might even get to travel around the world.
Otherwise, a technical college that offers a complete 2 year degree program, or a school that teaches only HVAC, like The Refrigeration School in Phoenix, Arizona, would be a great place to start.
If there's one in your area, visit and take a look at the classrooms and facilities, talk to the instructors, and call local contractors and service companies to see if they actually hire graduates from the school.
If it's a good school, they'll have a list of companies waiting to hire their graduates.
If you can work this kind of training into your schedule, it's a great way to go.
And if you can work for an HVAC service company while you go to school, all the better.
U S Government Self-Study HVAC Training Course
People from all over the world have e-mailed and asked where they can find affordable HVAC training and educational material to study.
I've found a U S Army self-study HVAC training course that introduces the fundamentals of the HVAC trade.
I think this HVAC course will help anyone who studies it seriously, and I'm glad to make the digital version available here free of charge.
There are self-test questions throughout the course to help evaluate how well the student is comprehending the material, and the answers to the questions are at the end of the modules.
Module 1 is 84 pages, and covers the following topics:
1 Principles of Electricity
2 Fundamentals of Gasoline Engines
3 Physics of Refrigeration
Click here to open module 1 of the Army HVAC training course.
Module 2 is 95 pages long, and covers the following topics:
1 Commercial Refrigeration Systems
2 Commercial Refrigeration Systems (Continued)
3 Cold Storage and Ice Plants
4 Special Application Systems
5 Vehicle Refrigeration Units
Click here to open module 2 of the Army HVAC training course.
Module 3 is 143 pages long, and covers the following topics:
1 Undesirable Properties of Air
2 Temperatures, Airflows, and Their Measuring Devices
3 Design and Installation Factors
4 Self-Contained Package Air-Conditioning Units
5 Fresh Air and Air Duct Systems
7 Evaporative Cooling
8 Mechanical Ventilation
9 Heat Pumps
Click here to open module 3 of the Army HVAC training course.
Module 4 is 151 pages long, and covers the following topics:
1 Direct Expansion Systems
2 Absorption Systems
3 Centrifugal Systems
4 Water Treatment
5 Centrifugal Water Pumps
6 Fundamentals of Electronic Controls
7 Electronic Control Systems
Click here to open module 4 of the Army HVAC training course.
Let me know if this course helps.
Another good way to get HVAC training is through an HVAC apprenticeship program.
If you work for an HVAC service company, or in a maintenance or engineering department that works on a good variety of HVAC equipment, check around and see if there is an HVAC apprenticeship program you can get into.
Depending on where you live, it could be co-ordinated by a contractors association, labor union, department of labor or department of education, or the local vocational/technical school.
If you are already working in this trade, and want to get more HVAC training, but absolutely can't get into an apprenticeship program or a school, there are alternatives.
RSES, the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, has a variety of top quality educational material available that
can be studied like a correspondence course, with certificates rewarded when you pass a proctored final exam. You can find RSES at www.rses.org.
Carrier also has a useful selection of educational material available, at www.carrier.com.
This page was first written in August of 2005.
Later in 2005, my employer at that time hired 3 new HVAC trainees, and to kick start their HVAC training, all three enrolled in the HVAC correspondence course from the Penn Foster Career School.
The course is based on the "Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology" textbook by Whitman, Johnson, and Tomczyk, which I've reviewed on our HVAC Book page.
I read through several study modules, and I was impressed by what I found.
The first lesson was an introduction to the course, and contained some good guidance on how the student can select a study method suited for his individual personality.
The second lesson was a basic introduction to the HVAC industry and HVAC controls.
The third lesson introduces basic math formulas, goes through them gradually, step by step, and does a great job of explaining why they're useful, and how to solve them.
The 4th lesson explains what electricity is, and how it works.
The information is discussed clearly and carefully, and is a great introduction to the principles of electron flow.
The 5th lesson explains alternating current very clearly.
There are 20 more study modules, with probably about 60 more lessons (so far it averages 3 lessons per module); and I believe there's also work to be done in the textbook, and a number of field type problems to solve.
From what I saw, if you're looking for some excellent HVAC training and simply can't attend a trade school or participate in an apprenticeship program, this correspondence course is a great way to go.
Its now September, 2012.
I, and the three men who started the course, have all moved on to new jobs.
In 2008, one of the men finished the correspondence course, and he was very happy with the all-around, in-depth introduction it gave him to the HVAC service trade.
I don't know if the other two men continued their studies.
I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of you who are simply looking for a good
There are a lot of HVAC textbooks out there, and on the site's
page I discuss some books that I'm familiar with.
I hope this page has helped; and please, feel free to contact us with any specific HVAC questions you might have, including questions about air conditioning on Guam, and refrigeration on Guam.
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