what steps should i take for HVAC
I second the trades program approach. Leveraging any program you find to network with professionals working in the field would likely be really useful to you in order to understand what is necessary and put you in the spot where you " know a guy who knows a guy" aka. a foot in the door or a gasket on the pump. In combination with this I would look for local H-VAC companies or ones you see advertising in and around Washington and utilize linked in/ walk in the front door and just ask the secretary or security. They are likely busy but you don't know if you don't ask and you might be pleasantly surprised who you meet and what you can learn.