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Electronics & HVAC Vocational Schools

Workers with training in electronics or heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) are employed in a variety of industries from computing and construction to energy and automotive. HVAC/R and electronics vocational schools offer a number of pathways to specializations within these broad fields. Certifications, while generally voluntary, help you to exhibit mastery of a specific skill set and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Electronics and HVAC/R specializations

As an HVAC/R technician, you can work as a generalists. You might choose to focus on either residential or commercial or you can focus your training on:

  • Installation
  • Maintenance
  • Repair
  • Specific systems such as solar panels or commercial refrigeration

Electronics vocational schools can train you for a number of different jobs across many industries -- not just a residential electrical repairs. Your training may lead to a job installing computer systems in cars, inspecting electrical relay systems at a hydroelectric plant, or supervising as an apprentice repairs the wiring in a high-rise office building. Electronics specialties include:

  • Automotive (transportation) installation and repair
  • Electronics engineering
  • Powerhouse, substation and relay repair
  • Residential electrical installation and maintenance

HVAC/R certifications and degrees

It used to be that you entered a trade, like becoming an HVAC/R technician, after completing high school. You would work as an apprentice for several years before becoming licensed and certified. While that path remains for some, increasing numbers of HVAC/R technicians have some sort of postsecondary training -- ranging from a certificate to an associate's degree. Either way you approach your training, you will learn about heating and cooling systems along with skills like reading blueprints, basic plumbing and best safety practices.

There are entry-level certifications in light commercial heating and cooling, residential heating and cooling, and commercial refrigeration. Advanced certifications in HVAC/R offered by national associations include specialized areas such as energy auditing, light commercial air conditioning or heat pump installation. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency mandates that anyone handling refrigerants must be certified. HVAC vocational and trade schools offer both the preparation and the exams for the four levels of EPA certification.

Electronics certification and degrees

As with HVAC/R, electronics training ranges from formal apprenticeships to associate's degrees through electronics vocational or trade schools. Most electricians still enter the career as apprentices. A high school diploma or GED are required, as is a course in algebra. Your apprenticeship will cover safety regulations, code compliance and electrical theory. You may learn how to read blueprints, solder wires or install fire alarm systems. Most states require electricians to be licensed and certified.

In contrast, most electronics engineering technicians and electrical installers and repairers begin their careers at an electronics vocational school. Some may simply take relevant courses while others complete an associate degree program. Coursework might include analog and digital circuitry, programming in C++, and, of course, electric theory and blueprint reading. Over 50 professional certifications exist. Certification is voluntary, but demonstrates mastery and makes you a more attractive job candidate.

Salary and career outlook for HVAC and electronics

In May 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported national median salaries for HVAC technicians to be $43,880 annually or $21.10 an hour. As you may guess, the states with the largest number of HVAC/R techs are warm -- Florida, Texas, and California. However, the top-paying states are Alaska, District of Columbia and Massachusetts. The BLS's job outlook for HVAC/R techs is strong, with 21 percent growth predicted through 2022.

In the field of electronics, the BLS reported the following national annual median wages in May of 2013:

  • $50,510, electricians
  • $52,830, automotive electrical and electronics installers and repairers
  • $58,540, electrical and electronics engineering technicians

The three states with the highest number of jobs and location quotient for electricians are Wyoming, North Dakota and Alaska. Alaska is also the top-paying state for electricians, followed by New York and Illinois. For electrical installers and repairers, the states with the highest job numbers are Nebraska, Virginia and Kansas.

In 2013, Forbes.com reported on the high demand for workers in the skilled trades, including electricians. The skilled-trades workforce is aging and there are fewer trained workers available to fill those positions.

Building a solid career in HVAC or electronics

It's hard to outsource electrical installation or repairing your building's air conditioning system. While no career path can promise job security, training at an accredited HVAC/R or electronics vocational or trade school may be a first step when deciding to pursue one of these in-demand jobs.

Sources:

Electricians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm

Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/electrical-and-electronics-installers-and-repairers.htm

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm

HVAC Excellence, http://www.hvacexcellence.org/

Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors of America, http://www.phccweb.org/index.cfm?ewebToken=&Site=PHCC

The Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association, http://www.acca.org/education/epa/

The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), http://www.pahrahvacr.org/Content/WhatIsPAHRA_32.aspx

Electronics & HVAC Vocational Schools
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Get a hands-on, job-specific education at Lincoln College of Technology.

Programs : Electronic Systems Technician (EST), Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC), and more..

Campus Locations :

Indianapolis: 7225 Winton Drive Building 128 Indianapolis, IN 46268

Columbia: 9325 Snowden River Parkway Columbia, MD 21046

Denver: 460 South Lipan Street Denver, CO 80223

Get a hands-on, job-specific education at Lincoln Technical Institute.

Programs : Electrical, Electrical, Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC), and more..

Campus Locations :

East Windsor: 97 Newberry Road East Windsor, CT 06088

Mahwah: 70 McKee Drive Mahwah, NJ 07430

Union: 2299 Vauxhall Road Union, NJ 07083

Get your career started with Intercoast Colleges.

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West Covina: 1400 West Covina Parkway 2nd/3rd Floors West Covina, CA 91790

Fairfield: College of Medical Arts 1652 West Texas Street #15 Fairfield, CA 94533

Riverside: 1989 Atlanta Avenue Riverside, CA 92507

Burbank: 175 E. Olive Avenue 3rd Floor Burbank, CA 91502

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At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career. * Programs vary by location * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

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Campus Locations :

Lawrence Township: 2572 Brunswick Pike Suite 100 Lawrence Township, NJ 08648

Birmingham: 100 London Parkway Birmingham, AL 35211

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Cuyahoga Falls: 2545 Bailey Road Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221

Erie: 5757 West 26th Street Erie, PA 16506

Wayne: 201 Willowbrook Blvd. Wayne, NJ 07470

Houston: 6220 Westpark Dr. Suite 180 Houston, TX 77057

Cincinnati: 11499 Chester Road Suite 200 Cincinnati, OH 45246

Smyrna: 21088 Cobb Parkway Smyrna, GA 30080

Montgomery: 3736 Atlanta Highway Montgomery, AL 36109

West Palm Beach: West Palm Beach West Palm Beach, FL 33405

Norfolk: 6300 Center Drive, Suite 100 Norfolk, VA 23502

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Dothan: 200 Vulcan Way Dothan, AL 36303

Port Saint Lucie: 9022 South US Highway 1 Port St. Lucie Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952

Dayton: 555 E. Alex-Bell Road Dayton, OH 45459

Salt Lake City: 3949 South 700 East Salt Lake City, UT 84107

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Foley: 200 East Laurel Ave Foley, AL 36535

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Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.

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Earn Your Diploma from Home!

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Advance your career with our affordable, self-paced, career-focused distance education programs.

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Scranton: Scranton, PA 18515

New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit, co-educational technical college offering over 30 Associate in Science, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs.

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East Greenwich: One New England Tech Boulevard East Greenwich, RI 02818

Get in, get out, get ahead with Southern Technical College!

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Electronics & HVAC Vocational & Trade Schools by Canadian Province

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