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January 8, 2024

How to Become an HVAC Contractor in Ontario

Becoming an HVAC contractor is a great idea in today’s work landscape—the industry’s revenue was $15.2 billion from between 2018 and 2023

As such, more and more handy professionals are wondering how to become an HVAC contractor. They’re curious about kickstarting an HVAC career, launching a business, and getting a piece of this ever-growing industry pie. 

To start, you need to fulfill the HVAC license requirements in Ontario and get certified. This typically involves completing an apprenticeship, honing your skills, and obtaining relevant trade certifications. You’ll also need HVAC contractor insurance

So, without further ado, this is our guide to getting your HVAC license in Ontario and our tips on how to become an HVAC contractor! 

What Do HVAC Technicians Do? 

HVAC technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining, or repairing the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) in residential and commercial spaces. 

In some cases, they may be tasked to provide regular maintenance for HVAC systems to avoid system breakdowns. These use various tools and equipment to complete projects, such as hand tools, power tools, and measurement devices. 

The Skills You Need to Succeed in HVAC 

Before pursuing an HVAC license in Ontario, you should stop and think about whether or not your skills align with the job requirements. If you want to explore career opportunities in HVAC, you’ll need a combination of the following. 

Technical Skills 

HVAC technicians need to have a thorough understanding of gas, cooling, and heating systems systems and technology. While, of course, this will be refined through apprenticeship, having a baseline understanding is recommended. 

Communication Skills 

HVAC professionals often interact with their clients directly, meaning they need to be comfortable doing so and have strong communication skills. Like general contractors, those who progress further into their careers may also lead teams. 

Problem-Solving Skills 

Problem-solving is the name of the game when it comes to HVAC. If you’re someone who likes to think critically, is adaptable, and excels at managing their time, then you could be well-suited to get your HVAC license in Ontario. 

An HVAC technician checking a piping systemImage source: Canva

How to Get Your HVAC License in Ontario 

Whether you want to work in residential or commercial HVAC, you, as we have mentioned, need to fulfill the HVAC license requirements in Ontario

Education Requirements 

You need to be eighteen and earn a secondary school diploma before you can work in the HVAC industry. A grade 12 math credit is generally required, while physics, computer engineering, business, and communications are recommended. 

You may also want to attend a vocational institution while still in secondary school to obtain the knowledge you need in your chosen path. You could also attend an HVAC course or program at an Ontario trade school, but this is not required. 

Pre-Apprenticeships & Apprenticeships 

While optional, completing a pre-apprenticeship program after graduating high school can help make you a better candidate for a full apprenticeship. You’ll learn a lot, and may also receive gas technician training which can be advantageous to know as an HVAC technician.

Whether or not you do a pre-apprenticeship, you will need to complete an HVAC apprenticeship involving 8280 hours of on-the-job training and 720 hours of in-school HVAC training. During the work portion of the apprenticeship, you’ll be paid a wage and get valuable job experience under professional guidance. 

Typically, an HVAC apprenticeship program takes five years to complete. 

Trade Certifications 

After completing your apprenticeship, you’ll need to write and pass the Certificate of Qualification exam. This is administered by the Skilled Trades Ontario, and, upon passing, awards you with an HVAC license needed to begin your career. 

You can also then pursue Red Seal Certification after completing this exam to further cement yourself as a desirable skilled trades professional! 

An HVAC technician working on a duct system

Next Steps: Getting HVAC Contractor Insurance 

As you learn how to become an HVAC contractor, don’t overlook the value of an insurance policy to protect yourself from risks and adversity. Injury and property damage are always lurking right around the corner. 

Commercial generality liability insurance should be the minimum, as it protects you against third-party bodily injury, property damage, and reputational damage, too. However, more specialized HVAC contractor insurance bundles exist and include a range of sub-policies to protect you better. Some examples include: 

Still not convinced? Consider the following. 

Imagine if you or one of your employees got hurt while lifting heavy equipment. Think about what would happen if one of the refrigeration systems you’re working on malfunctions and damages your client’s floors. These hypotheticals, should they become reality, would leave you staring down medical bills, lengthy legal battles, and even bankruptcy. 

If you put in the years of work to get your HVAC license in Ontario, you owe it to yourself to protect your rewarding career with insurance. 

Better Insurance Solutions for HVAC Contractors 

There you have it: how to become an HVAC contractor in Ontario, from the skills you need to the education you require. As you’ve learned, the potential rewards are great for those who persevere through the process—and protect themselves with insurance! 

Contractors Insurance is an award-winning commercial insurance brokerage in Ontario that provides customized insurance solutions for HVAC professionals. We respect the work you put in to get your HVAC license in Ontario and want to ensure you have the coverage you need to feel confident and make the most of your career. 

Contact us today to learn more about what you can include in your HVAC insurance policy or to get started with a FREE quote!

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