Apprenticeship programs, which are offered by community colleges, trade unions and employers, typically last four years and include at least 8,000 hours of on-the-job-training. These programs teach individuals to install and repair industrial boilers and other pressure vessels. They are designed for computer-literate students, and require prerequisite coursework. Apprenticeships could take several years to complete.
Associate's degree programs in heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) are for students who want to work with a wider array of heating systems. Some schools may offer accelerated programs. They teach various aspects of boiler and furnace operations.
Both options require a high school diploma, and applicants should be in good physical condition. Additional requirements may include submission of standardized test scores or some college education.
Boiler Operator Apprenticeship Training Program
Topics covered generally include boiler design and operation, refrigeration and air conditioning principles and electronic theory. Candidates should have experience with computers and computer programs, mechanical drafting, physics and chemistry. Sample topics include the following:
- Pipe systems
- Boiler systems
- Combustion principles
- Standards and safety
- Computerized instrumentation
HVAC Associate's Degree Programs
Coursework covers topics such as boiler and furnace function, heat loss and gain loads for industrial systems, piping system design and hydronics. These programs often take two years to complete, although some accelerated programs are available. In addition to HVAC core courses, degree candidates also enroll in a limited number of electives, such as English composition or public speaking. Below are some sample courses:
- Blueprint reading
- Electrical services
- Wiring circuits
- Load calculations
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for boilermakers were expected to increase by 6% from 2018-2028, which is faster than the average. The mean yearly salary for this occupation was $63,240 as of May 2018. North Dakota and Pennsylvania were the top-paying states for this profession.
Job opportunities for HVAC mechanics and installers were forecast to increase by 13% between 2018 and 2028, according to the BLS. In part, this much faster-than-average job growth was expected due to an increase in residential and commercial buildings. The mean salary for this occupation was $50,160 per year as of May 2018.
Boiler repair training is available through apprenticeships and HVAC associate's degree programs, both of which offer training in how to install and repair industrial boilers. Associate's degrees take less time to complete and also include general education electives in addition to HVAC training courses.