How to become a heating engineer

Posted on 2/7/2019

Do you want to become a heating engineer? Have you ever thought of becoming a heating engineer? Or maybe you’ve never considered it, and it might be the perfect career for you.

There’s a reason why we’re called Local Heroes - heating engineers provide an extremely useful service to the public at large. How many times has an engineer come to your rescue in the dead of winter when your boiler has gone bust? If you’re a deft individual with a love for tinkering and repairing, then that could be you. Read on to find out exactly what you need to become a heating engineer.

What do I need?

There are a few things to consider before you start seriously thinking about training. For one, as with most trade professions, you’ll need to have excellent practical skills. Your duties will range from installing and replacing appliances to ensuring repairs are safe and legal. All of this will require a keen eye and excellent motor skills, it’s no good getting someone to fix a boiler if they can’t even fit a screw.

It goes without saying that if you don’t have the perseverance for the fiddlier parts of the job then heating engineering probably isn’t for you - a patient temperament as an engineer is crucial.

On top of this you’ll also need good analytical and problem-solving skills, as part and parcel of being a heating engineer is taking measurements, readings, and estimating repairs for consumers. This also means that you’ll have to have good customer service skills as a large amount of your work will be done in customers’ homes, interacting directly with them.

Last but certainly not least, heating engineering is a physical job and if you’re the kind of person who shies away from manual labour then it’s not the career path for you. On the other hand, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty or find physical activity enjoyable then that’s a good start.

Of course, not everyone has the natural instinct or ability to become a heating engineer, but if you think this is a fitting description of yourself, read on to find out what your next steps should be.

Where do I start?

There are a few different ways to get started on your path to becoming a heating engineer, but you will need the relevant qualifications; gas is a serious business and you need to know your stuff if you’re going to be able to operate safely in your new career.

The most important qualification will be your Gas Safe registration, this won’t be the first qualification you obtain but it is a legal requirement should you wish to pursue a career as a gas engineer in the UK. The Gas Safe Register is the official list of engineers who are legally allowed to operate within the UK and exists primarily to protect the public from any potentially dangerous and unlicensed gas work.

However, before you can apply for your Gas Safe registration you need to have the relevant qualifications, such as an RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework), or other qualification no more than five years old.

The RQF is a much like a standard college course. It will ensure that you are fully trained in the nationally required criteria for heating engineers and covers installation and maintenance, emergency services, and appliances. These courses are designed for those starting from scratch and will ensure that you have everything you need for going full time.

For those who already have some experience, there is also the ACS (Accredited Certificate Scheme), this will allow you to gain certificates for work that you have done and acts as valid evidence when it comes to getting your Gas Safe registration.

Next steps?

Once you’ve completed your exams and applied for your Gas Safe registration, you will be allowed to practice as a heating engineer but only in a probationary manner. During this probation you will be expected to keep to a strict set of criteria for the duration of three months before you are good to go on your own.

  • You must keep records of all work and notify the Gas Safe Register
  • You must pass a competency inspection
  • Your probation may be extended but you will be given help

As you can see, it takes a lot to make a heating engineer but that’s the point. It’s not an easy job and you will be directly responsible for your customers’ safety. However, if you complete your courses and become Gas Safe registered then you’ll have your own fledgling business ready to provide this valuable service to people in need, up and down the country.

Our heating engineers are required to have recognised qualifications and at least five years' experience. If you want to know more about heating engineers in your area and learn a bit more first-hand, then take a look at how to become a Local Hero.