There are HVAC and HRAC techniques and technicians programs, as well as HRAC technology programs available at Ontario colleges. Generally, one-semester and one-year certificate courses (techniques) will provide an overview of the skills in heating and cooling. These programs can be built on with an HRAC technician course or students can enter the field directly.
An HRAC technician or technology program (generally two- and three-year diploma programs) will teach many of the skills of the techniques program but will add to them with opportunities for deeper exploration and practical training through lab work. Students learn to design, build, maintain and service heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Some of the study areas covered in these programs include (but aren’t limited to):
- Sheet metal fabrication
- HRAC design computer applications
- Workplace safety
- Study of the Gas Code
- Blueprint reading
HRAC techniques, technician and technology programs require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, which includes a grade 12 mathematics credit. Senior physics and computer engineering, as well as grade 12 English and grade 12 business and communication credits, are often recommended.
Note: After completion of an HRAC program, students may write the Gas Technician II or Gas Technician III certification test from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority in order to qualify for work in the field. Depending on the program, students may also be able to challenge level 1 and/or level 2 HRAC apprenticeship exemptions or be prepared to write other certifications, like the oil burner technician test.
Once graduates gain the proper accreditation to work in the field, career opportunities may include (but aren’t limited to):
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics
Installation, Servicing and Maintenance of Heating and Cooling Systems
Heating and Cooling Wholesalers
Graduates can also develop and test products or work in service and estimation for HRAC companies, construction companies or on contract.
Average salaries in the field are typically between $29,000 and $32,000 per year. As you gain more certifications and your level of expertise increases, so should your pay.