Many people at the age of 17 barely have a clue of what they want their life’s work to be, but Jadynn Doty started doing it three years ago at the age of 14—and in a male-dominated field to boot (Female in hvac)! Doty was a freshman at Sussex County Technical High School in Sparta Township, NJ, when she began its four-year, half-day program in HVAC-R. She thought it would guarantee her future. “I know that you’re always going to need heating, refrigeration and air conditioning,” she says. “I will always have a job lined up for me, no matter if I decide to travel anywhere.”
In addition to what she’s learning in school, Doty decided to get some extra experience: She shadows HVAC-R technicians from R. Poust Heating & Cooling. “I am doing service and install. I also ride with other people,” she says. “With the labor laws I cannot do much, but I’m learning a lot from everyone around me.” Next year—her senior year—she’s planning to do even more to help secure her future. “I’m going to do Intro to Carpentry and Welding, which gives you a basic certification for that so then I’ll have more to apply to HVAC.”
Jadynn Doty is the first girl her shop teacher ever had in class, but she said she’s treated just like the guys. “[My teacher] expects from me as much as he expects from the other guys I work with,” she says. “He even trusts me more than the other guys. He goes to me because I learn and ask questions more than the other classmates I have.”
The playing field for HVAC female technicians is equitable, Doty believes. “It’s just unusual, and when you find another woman entering into trades they’re treated equally.” At first, men seem hesitant to have women do the job. “They realize how we can do it, and then they start really trusting us,” she says. “There’s definitely a lot more opportunities for us.”
When she graduates from high school next year—with four years’ experience under her belt—Jadynn Doty wants to continue working for R. Poust. “I want to be one of the technicians you can rely on. I want to be the best of myself. I’m not sure yet if I want to do install or service, but I want to be compatible with both.” Down the road, she sees herself as a supervisor. “I want to be able to help other people who are just learning so then they could be the best of themselves,” she says. “I like both commercial and residential, so wherever I’m needed, I will go.”
For women in HVAC-R programs, Doty has some sage advice: Stick with it. “It’s rough at first learning all the information, but then once you know it just keep it simple and you’ll always figure it out.”
In 2018, female HVAC technicians made up only 1.4 percent of the industry’s workforce. However, there are jobs available in the heating and cooling industry that are proving to be excellent careers for women. Women entering into trades—HVAC in particular—are well suited for the job because of the basic interpersonal skills in their nature:
- They are often better communicators.
- They pay attention to detail.
- They are analytical.
- They are good listeners.
- They may have better customer service skills.
- They are often good at solving problems.
- They can multitask.
That’s good news for women—and for the HVAC industry that is experiencing a worker shortage. Enrolling in an HVAC program benefits women because they learn specifics of the industry. They can develop the skill set necessary to stay competitive and reap the benefits of their career: steady work, high wages and countless opportunities.
However, it never hurts to have an advocate. Women of HVAC brings awareness of the need for women in the field, showcases those who are already HVAC professionals, and provides women with the necessary tools to begin their careers in HVAC skilled trades.
Contact WomenofHVAC.ORG to find schools that offer HVAC programs, along with resources, opportunities and support for those already in the field.