4 Frequently Asked Questions About HVAC Careers in Ohio
Ohio HVAC training schools can help you learn the hands-on skills required to install, maintain, and repair modern heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems. So if you're interested in pursuing this diverse career, keep reading to discover answers to four common questions.
1. How Can I Become an HVAC Technician?
In Ohio, you can work as an HVAC technician without a license as long as you are supervised by a licensed contractor.
However, you need EPA Section 608 certification for HVAC work, even as a supervised technician. Having this certification provides proof that you have learned proper handling procedures for refrigerants (the compounds that absorb heat in air conditioning and refrigeration systems). To obtain Section 608 certification, you must pass an exam. Many HVAC training schools administer the exam as part of their programs.
To work independently as a contractor, you need to be licensed in the state. In order to acquire an Ohio license, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant
- Have at least five years of experience as an HVAC technician; or have worked three years as a registered engineer in the HVAC industry; or have other suitable experience approved by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board
- Carry at least $500,000 of liability coverage
- Complete a background check before taking the licensing exam
- Pass the licensing exam
- Pay a licensing fee
As HVAC systems become more complex, employers look for an increasingly high level of theoretical knowledge. That's one reason why, although no specific schooling is required for HVAC work at the entry level, completing an HVAC program can increase your chances of finding a good job and passing the Section 608 certification exam. So for a trade school student, HVAC is a major that covers the basics of heating, cooling, and ventilation in order to open doors to working in this field. Some of the topics these programs may cover include:
- Ventilation issues and how to fix them
- Computerized diagnostic systems
- Principles behind refrigeration
- How to use automated controls for HVAC systems
- Safe handling of materials
- Basics of career development
- How to read blueprints and other diagrams
Typically, a program at an HVAC school is anywhere between six and 24 months long. Depending on the program, you can earn a diploma, certificate, or associate degree. The tuition varies widely, so the cost of HVAC school is anywhere from $1,200 to $15,000. The cost of tuition is influenced by factors like whether supplies are included and what type of school you attend.
You can also become a good HVAC technician by completing an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a period of supervised work experience combined with classroom time. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services administers apprenticeships.
2. Are HVAC Technicians Paid Well?
With the right training, HVAC technicians make good money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that workers in HVAC make $22.90 an hour in Ohio, on average, which equals about $47,640 a year.
Income levels reflect your qualifications and experience. During the training period, an HVAC apprentice makes over $31,000, on average, in the U.S. In contrast, the top 10 percent of HVAC earners in Ohio make over $68,560, according to BLS data.
3. What Is the Job Outlook Like for HVAC Technicians in Ohio?
Across Ohio, workers who are trained to do HVAC jobs are in demand, with the number of job openings in the state expected to increase by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. That's more than double the national average for all occupations, which is seven percent.
But people working in the industry predict that it will be difficult to fill all of those expected open positions. As an example, in a recent survey of Ohio construction firms, 92 percent of respondents said they were having a hard time filling craft positions. Due to the complexity of modern HVAC systems, employers look for workers who have had the kind of theoretical and hands-on education available at Ohio HVAC training schools.
4. Is Ohio a Good Place to Get HVAC Training?
In a word, yes. In fact, Ohio has been named the second-best state for HVAC workers in the country. Why does the Buckeye State place so high? Although Florida has the most HVAC jobs in the country, Ohio ranks higher for training and is home to more accredited HVAC programs than any other state. Ohio also earns good marks for its large number of HVAC wholesalers.
Of course, living in Ohio has many other benefits, including:
- Low housing costs—According to Data USA, Ohio's median property value is just $144,200. That's much lower than the national average of $217,600. Overall, the state has been ranked as the ninth-cheapest place to live in the U.S.
- Short commutes—Data USA says that, at 22 minutes, the average commute in Ohio is shorter than the national average of 25 minutes. That may not sound too significant, but the difference adds up to about 26 hours a year. And shorter commutes are associated with lower levels of stress.
- Plenty of entertainment options—Ohio is home to a wealth of great entertainment possibilities, including sports teams like the Cincinnati Reds and Columbus Blue Jackets, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a busy craft beer scene. As well, the state's central location makes it easy to get away to nearby urban centers like New York City or Washington, D.C.
What Should I Do Next?
Now that you've gotten some answers, it's time to check out nearby Ohio HVAC schools. To find programs near you, just enter your zip code into the search tool below!