Basic HVAC


Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems control the temperature, humidity and the air quality in homes and buildings. HVAC technicians install, maintain and repair such systems, which consist of many mechanical, electrical and electronic components. From following blueprints to installing equipment to connecting electrical wiring and testing safe operation, the trade requires skills common to electricians and plumbers.

The work is indoors and out and sometimes in tight, awkward spaces. Generally, the trade is physically demanding—bending, lifting, kneeling and standing for long periods. Technicians also risk injury from electrical shock, so safety precautions are vital. If you enjoy working with customers, problem solving and working with your hands, HVAC may be the trade for you!


HBI pre-apprentice HVAC programs teach skills and techniques employers look for in entry-level technicians. Skills include:

  • Installing system piping and tubing
  • Installing system wiring and circuits
  • Maintaining and cleaning heating and air conditioning systems
  • Installing air filtration systems
  • Testing systems with measuring instruments
  • Using green building techniques to improve air quality, reduce resources and conserve energy
  • Depending on geographic location, students also may learn how to install and maintain a solar thermal system.

Career Opportunities

Job growth is expected at a faster-than-average rate through 2018. Focus on improving indoor air quality and reducing energy consumption has increased the use of new energy-saving systems. This focus also will lead to the replacement of older systems in existing homes and buildings, creating more opportunities for technicians. Plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractors, facility management companies and air conditioning service and repair shops are examples of businesses that might hire an entry-level technician.

HBI graduates earn around $10 to $12 an hour in their first HVAC job. As skills are expanded through our full apprenticeships and on the job training, so are career options. Pay increases significantly also after becoming fully certified.


  • HVAC Contractor
  • Supervisor
  • HVAC Installer
  • Service Technician
  • Journeyperson
  • Apprentice
  • HVAC Helper