Hello HVAC people,

I appologize if this letter isn't allowed on this forum but I don't know who else to ask.

I need to switch careers. I am interested to become a HVAC technician and ultimately become a HVAC contractor in Arizona. Only obvious steps I know is to go to a HVAC school, and then take tests to obtain a contractor license. I found books I can purchase on-line but there is a lingering question of whether that is the correct thing to do.

I used to be in the semiconductor industry and an airframe/powerplant mechanic on aircraft. I had basic A/C training, sheetmetal work, controller/electronics, electrical and I am real good on mechanical. Now simple economics hasn't shined on me for years for I work for a small elementry school as a bus driver in the middle of a desert. Sometimes I perform preventitive maintenance on water heaters and heat pumps on school campus to make up hours. But frankly, I know I can do much better inspecting these units.

Needless to say, I need to gain working knowledge of HVAC systems as so to get hired in the HVAC industry without spending what little money I have.

I am calling on you folks whom wish you knew then, to what you know now. I read all sorts of things and having problems sorting it out. I guess my questions are:

1. Other than going to school or online training, is there another way to achieve a HVAC certificate?

2. If I read everything there is to know about HVAC, isn't there a certificate test to take to validate my knowledge?

3. Besides that EPA type license to service refrigerant in heat pumps, are there other endorsments that go along with a HVAC cert? (I read somewhere about getting a 'A' license in one of the forums. I don't know what that means)

4. What good web sites or books you know that may have this info and study guides?

5. And importantly, what proper steps must I take to at least gain the HVAC cert.

Thank you for your time in advance
Mike