If you’re considering getting an HVAC certificate or license, you’ve chosen a good field to get into. According to O*NET Online, the projected growth of HVAC jobs through 2026 is much higher than average. If you’re female, HVAC is no longer an off-limit career; it’s actually quite the opposite. Now, more than ever before, women are needed in the industry to fill a job shortage caused by an increase in business and a decrease in the workforce. To fill job vacancies and meet the demands of the newly created ones, employers will need women for the field to survive.
Since you’ve decided on an HVAC career, you may have questions about HVAC programs, the industry in general and just what an HVAC technician does. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about HVAC.
What does an HVAC technician do?
HVAC technicians install, repair and maintain the heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration systems that control temperature, humidity and air quality in both commercial and residential buildings. Their duties may include:
- Installing entire HVAC systems or their electrical and wiring components
- Inspecting and testing HVAC systems
- Troubleshooting malfunctions
- Repairing and replacing worn or defective parts
- Cleaning HVAC systems and components
- Servicing home appliances
- Providing technical support while in the field
- Recommending maintenance services to improve efficiency
- Keeping records of work performed
Is HVAC dangerous?
Unfortunately, working in HVAC does have some danger connected to it. Because HVAC encompasses heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, technicians are sometimes exposed to chemicals and poisonous and noxious gases. Therefore, obvious hazards include explosion, asphyxiation, electrocution and poisoning. However, risks can be minimized if the HVAC technician:
- Follows safety precautions
- Uses proper tools that may include carbon monoxide detectors, oxygen gauges and self-constrained breathing apparatuses
- Pays attention to what he or she is doing
Do HVAC technicians make good money?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2018, the median HVAC technician wage was $47,610. The top 10 percent of workers earned more than $76,240. Because there is such a demand for qualified technicians, those numbers are likely to rise based on need. Most of the job growth is due to an increase in commercial and residential business construction, along with an increase in the number of sophisticated climate-control systems that require maintenance.
How do I get a job in the heating and cooling industry?
Attending an HVAC trade program at a respected school is essential. You’ll learn specifics of the industry and will build a skill set and foundation to get started in your career and remain competitive. Participating in an HVAC apprenticeship – often required for graduation – will give you hands-on learning and the confidence to find your first job. Once you graduate, take your certification exam and obtain your license, you will be qualified to install, service and repair HVAC systems.
During your training and beyond, you will develop skills that are expected by employers in the HVAC-R industry. You will know how to:
- Read and comprehend schematics, specifications, blueprints and other technical data
- Understand how HVAC systems and controls work and be able to properly connect them to supply lines
- Use testing equipment (airflow meters, humidity recorders, voltmeters and ohmmeters) and everyday tools (hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.) to repair and install systems
- Follow government regulations regarding the recycling of refrigerants and the disposal of fluids and gases
- Evaluate safety standards and hazards on the job to prevent accidents
- Troubleshoot malfunctioning systems quickly, identify possible problems, consider solutions and perform diagnostic tests
- Look for continuing education opportunities to stay on top of new technology and trends relevant to the HVAC-R industry – especially those focused on energy efficiency and green trends
How can I get certified in HVAC?
There are a few things you must do before you can get certified in HVAC:
- Get your high school diploma or GED
- Graduate from an accredited trade school or program or complete an apprenticeship
- Obtain an HVAC license from the state you’ll be working in
- Pass HVAC certification exams
Is it a rewarding career for women?
HVAC can be a good career for women, but many are unaware of just what’s available to them. They are also typically well-suited for HVAC – possibly more so than men – because of some basic interpersonal skills:
- They are often better communicators.
- They pay attention to detail.
- They are analytical.
- They’re good listeners.
- They may have better customer service skills.
- They are often good at solving problems.
- They can multitask.
How can Women of HVAC help women?
Many opportunities are available for women who have HVAC skills. 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.
Although the increasing need for technicians and installers is worrisome for the industry, it’s good for women who are discovering that they can reap the benefits: steady work, high wages and countless opportunities. Contact Women of HVAC to find schools that offer HVAC programs, as well as resources, opportunities and support for those already in the field.