How do I Become an Air Conditioning Repairman?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois
An air conditioning vent.
An air conditioning vent.

There are three ways to become an air conditioning repairman: post-secondary training, apprenticeship completion, and the air conditioning certification examination. An air conditioning repairman is responsible for fixing both residential and commercial air conditioning units. This career is forecast to experience above average growth in the next five to ten years, as people become more reliant on air conditioners.

An air conditioner.
An air conditioner.

People who report the greatest satisfaction working as an air conditioning repairman are skilled at working with their hands, are naturally outgoing, and enjoy problem solving. This type of career requires a dedication to continuous learning. As new models and technology are used, air conditioning repairmen must make sure they have learned the skills necessary to repair both the newer and the older units.

A central air conditioning unit.
A central air conditioning unit.

The first step to become an air conditioning repairman is to complete a post-secondary air conditioning repair program. There are two types of programs available: community college or apprenticeship. A community college program is one to two years in length and provides classroom learning with job placements. At the end of the program, graduates are qualified as air conditioning repair technicians.

An apprenticeship program is usually three to four years in length, as the majority of the time is spent learning on the job in a full-time placement. The course work required is completed through evening and weekend classes. In order to become an air conditioning repairman apprentice, you must find a journeyman or master tradesman who is willing to take responsibility for your training.

Apprentice is a paid position, with the amount of salary closely tied to the skills learned. At the beginning of an apprenticeship, it is not uncommon to be paid just slightly more than minimum wage, with the tasks being mostly manual labor. Over time, as new skills are learned and applied, the hourly rate increases. An apprenticeship is an investment for both the employer and the employee.

As part of the process to become an air conditioning repairman, most states have a certification or licensing process. To qualify for this program, candidates must have a combination of working experience and course knowledge. There are several online schools that provide access to the courses required for an air conditioning repairman. This information, together with a self-directed training program meets the certificate requirements. A written examination is usually required, so it is important to ensure that you have the book knowledge required in this role.

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Discussion Comments


That is insane. I have a small licensed a/c company and I make well over $100K a year legally and taxable in Florida. I went to a school, and it was a waste of money. I apprenticed, and it was a waste of a paycheck. I chose to do both routes to find the best way to help others. I got licensed, and then in the off-peak season, I taught at a career college. Their program was retarded and it took two years to graduate from there. I moved to the one where I was certified, and whittled the program to nine months (I was out in four, myself, because I was beyond ready many years ago.) It was fine there, but I wasn't making enough to justify letting my guys run my business. So I left, and do sub from time to time, but mainly I run my own company.

I have trained guys for years (and two girls,) and they move on and find work with bigger companies for more money if I don't keep them to stay on with me. But apprenticing is silly because they don't want to work, and they don't know enough to make me any money. They aren't motivated enough to learn, so I wind up letting them go quickly.

I have started training guys (like a school,) on a weekly basis. It costs almost nothing, I only get kids who want to learn, and that is because I take a deposit from them at the start. No kid is going to pay for training unless he wants to do it. He gets taught one-on-one, the right way, with no damned videos and very little textbook. It is all hands-on and note-taking from my non-scripted talking.

We run a few service calls, let him learn on an install, and he gets paid as for the work done. Plus, he gets trained.

A school is a commitment, and too long. Most people need six months; I needed four. I have known no one needing a year. The Union is nice, they train and pay you, but how much will you make? It is like getting married. If you are smart, take the test after studying yourself for as long as you need to, then get your EPA card. After that, take a job as an install helper and work service with a vet who knows his stuff.

But don't listen to me. I only went to school, taught in two schools, worked for nine companies, subcontract for five currently, and run my own licensed contracting a/c company. What do I know?


@Cafe41 - I friend of mine is in this field and he told me the salary for an air conditioning repairman can go as high as $65,000 a year and there are some vocational high schools that offer training for this type of career. This could be a good choice for someone that is not sure that they want to go to a college because the money is not bad and the job prospects are good.

He said that most start out earning about $30,000 a year, but they are also eligible for overtime pay if they take on additional jobs outside of their regular working hours.


I know that my local community college offers an associate’s degree in HVAC which stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. I think that there is a really high demand for air conditioning repairman especially in warm tropical climates like Florida where the air conditioner is used year round because of the high temperatures.

I remember when I had a problem with my air conditioning and had to call a company to repair it. It was really expensive. I paid about $300 to get my system fixed and I had to wait on an appointment because there were other people ahead of me.

I was so desperate to get my air conditioning fixed because I live in Miami where it is hot all of the time. It really drove me crazy because I had to buy a huge fan so that I could at least keep my bedroom cool because I could not sleep if it was hot in the room.

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