To work as a heating and cooling system mechanic, you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- complete a formal training program; and
- complete long-term, on-the-job training.
Education after high school
Many heating and cooling system mechanics complete a formal training program in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology. Professional-technical schools or two-year colleges offer these programs. They grant a certificate or associate degree. In these programs you learn to read schematic drawings, analyze problems, and follow safety procedures. You also learn to determine whether to replace or repair parts.
After completing a formal training program, most heating and cooling system mechanics learn additional skills on the job from an experienced worker. You begin as a helper and do basic tasks. As you gain experience you work on more difficult tasks. Training includes:
- using equipment and tools;
- making repairs; and
- providing customer service.
Training may last several years.
Some branches of the military train people to be heating and cooling mechanics. Training lasts for eight to 22 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.
If you receive this type of training in the military, you may earn credit for previous work experience when you enter a civilian apprenticeship program.