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Are You Looking For A New Career In HVAC - by #NewToHR

Are You Looking For A New Career In HVAC?

The HVAC industry is growing much faster than other industries and needs people like you.

If you’re interested in alternatives to a traditional college education or looking for a career change, then think about a career in the HVAC industry (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning). HVAC deals with the installation, maintenance and repair of heating, cooling and refrigeration systems for commercial and residential properties.

Here are 4 reasons to pursue a career in HVAC:

The HVAC industry is growing at a rate of 15% through 2026, which is much faster than other career fields, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Growth is being powered by the:

  • Rise in commercial and residential construction
  • Increasing number of climate-control systems that must be installed and maintained by highly qualified HVAC technicians
  • Growing emphasis on energy efficiency and the reduction of pollution

Salaries are higher for HVAC workers than the national average for all occupations. They reached a median rate of $45,910 per year in 2016 or just over $22 an hour. The highest paid technicians can earn more than $35 an hour or $70,000+ per year. Trainees earn lower wages when starting out. However, wages will increase as you gain more experience and become fully trained and licensed, and some employers, like Summit Heating & Air Conditioning in Denver, Colorado, will even help cover the cost of your training, education, and NATE Certification.

HVAC careers offer flexibility to set your own schedule and the opportunity to run your own business if you want. The majority of technicians work full-time with some evening and weekend shifts in the summer and winter when HVAC systems are working overtime.

HVAC work remains relatively stable for technicians who specialize in maintenance and repair work. That’s because business and home owners depend on their heating and cooling systems to maintain temperature, humidity levels and air quality no matter what the outside temperature is.

What HVAC Workers Do

HVAC technicians install, repair and maintain heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems for commercial and residential properties. Technicians:

  • Work with customers who need help with HVAC systems
  • Troubleshoot HVAC systems and components
  • Install electrical components and wiring, as needed
  • Discuss system malfunctions with customers
  • Repair or replace worn and broken parts or systems
  • Recommend regular maintenance to increase longevity and performance of HVAC systems
  • Help customers maintain their HVAC systems with seasonal check-ups, replacing filters and cleaning the unit and ductwork
  • Maintain customer records
  • Perform business functions (for independent business owners)
  • Collaborate with other contractors, such as electricians or plumbers, to complete the job

Some technicians also specialize in specific aspects of HVAC, such as energy efficiency, radiant heating, testing and balancing systems, solar panels and commercial refrigeration.

Qualities of HVAC Workers

HVAC work requires technicians to have customer service and mechanical skills in order to do their jobs effectively. That’s why HVAC professionals often exhibit the following qualities:

  • Friendly, polite and punctual—even when customers are unhappy
  • Detail-oriented to maintain records and to find and resolve problems
  • Aptitude for math to calculate load requirements
  • Advanced knowledge of machines and tools, as well as the science behind climate control
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Organizational and time-management skills
  • Dexterity and hand-eye coordination
  • Advanced problem-solving skills
  • Ability to see potential issues

How to Become an HVAC Technician

If you decide that a career in HVAC is in your future, you have two ways to make your dream a reality:

  1. Post-secondary education. If you have a high school diploma, you can study HVAC at a technical or trade school or community college. Programs generally last from 6 months to 2 years and lead to a certificate or associate’s degree. This is the more common approach for HVAC technicians today. Check with local schools and colleges in your area to find out who has the best program for your goals. 
  1. Work alongside an experienced HVAC technician to gain hands-on, on-the-job training for your new career. You may start out cleaning furnaces, but you’ll eventually have the opportunity to solder pipes and install new HVAC systems or components. Apprenticeships generally last 3 to 5 years and are a less common method for training technicians today. Check with apprenticeship agencies, local contractors and local unions to learn more about apprenticeship programs in your area.

In both programs, you will learn the basics of heating, cooling and refrigeration; some engineering and science to understand how to manage climate control; how to use the tools of the trade; important health and safety practices; how to read blueprints; and more.

You can also take preparation classes for any licensure or certification exams that are required for HVAC technicians working within your state. And you’ll be prepared to take on an entry-level job in the industry, such as installation assistants and service technicians.

Good luck with your future in HVAC!

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