The below is an overview of paths to becoming an HVAC Technician specifically in Ontario. Most of what is written is similar across Canada and the USA but there may be differences in specific licensing in each area.
START A REWARDING CAREER IN HVAC – Where Do I Start?
Whether you have recently completed High School or have had second thoughts on your career path after completion of post-secondary education, the HVAC field has got you covered. If you take on a career in HVAC, most learning opportunities will be completed on-the-job, alongside a classroom component. Let’s take a brief look at the breakdown of education required.
- Complete an HVAC Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program
- Get your Gas Technician Certification
- Complete your HVAC Apprenticeship & Certification Exam
- Choose your HVAC Career Path
PRE-APPRENTICESHIP TRAINING PROGRAM
Although not a mandatory pre-requisite, a pre-apprenticeship program can be offered at participating Ontario Colleges including George Brown College, Durham College and Mohawk College to name a few. This program provides a candidate with the necessary knowledge of techniques required to safely size, install and maintain building environmental systems for residential and light commercial divisions in the HVAC field. The candidate will gain sound knowledge of skills in the design, operation and maintenance of environmental systems in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. As stated, this program is not a pre-requisite into the HVAC industry, however taking a formal education at a recognized college will aid in finding an Apprenticeship Program.
GAS TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION
HVAC Technicians, Installers and mechanics often work with gas-fired equipment. In Ontario, you need a Gas Technician Certification to be able to work on this equipment. There are 3 Types of Gas Tech Certifications – G1, G2 and G3, with G1 being the highest certification.
A G3 certification is the first level needed to start a career in the HVAC industry. A G2 certification is the most common type of Gas License and allows an individual to work independently on equipment up to 400,000 btuh. A G1 certification allows an individual to work on any size natural gas or propane fired appliance .
Some HVAC Pre-Apprenticeship Programs include this training and examinations for these certifications can be taken during the program. If you do not choose to do a pre-apprenticeship program, to obtain a G1, G2 or G3 you can enroll into a Gas Technician course at a recognized College (typically a few weeks long) and complete the examination.
HVAC APPRENTICESHIP & CERTIFICATION
As HVAC is a trade regulated in Ontario, a candidate will need to complete a set amount of training hours, do an apprenticeship and pass a certification exam to legally work in the field. An Apprenticeship is a 2-step process that consists of Hands-On experience and In-class participation.
The Apprenticeship Program can be either 313D Residential (Homes or small businesses) or 313A Commercial (corporate and industrial buildings). According to the Ontario Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association, the apprenticeship involves the following:
For a 313A Commercial License (approx. 5 years and 9000 training hours):
- 7800 hours of on-the-job training with a licensed journeymen
- 1200 hours of in-school training
For a 313D Residential License (approx. 2 years and 4500 training hours)
- 4020 hours of on-the-job training with a licensed journeymen
- 480 hours of in-school training
Once the Training Hours have been completed, a certification exam must be passed in order to register to become a recognized Journeymen in the trades industry. A Journeymen will have 1 or more of these qualifications: 313D, 313A or 308A (sheet metal – optional certification).
CHOOSING YOUR HVAC CAREER
Upon obtaining your Journeymen title, and with a G2 Certification, HVAC Technicians are able to work independently in the field in a variety of career opportunities. Whether you have a 313A Residential or 313D Commercial will determine which environmental systems you will work on.
See DECIDING ON A CAREER? 4 Reasons Why HVAC Could be a Great Option – Rockstar Recruiting (rockstarrecruitinggroup.com) to Explore HVAC Career Options.
Information obtained from:
Gas Technician Courses – HiMark
Becoming an HVAC Mechanic in Ontario: Training & Careers (herzing.ca)