What does a HVAC technician do?
HVAC technicians (also called heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning technicians) are responsible for installing, adjusting, and performing service on heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning units for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. They provide customer service and support and ensure systems are operating correctly. They read blueprints and prepare spaces for installation of the necessary equipment. They make sure the installation tasks are performed correctly and abide by the necessary regulations. HVAC technicians also inspect existing systems and check each part to ensure efficient and effective function. They repair and replace components and make the required adjustments.
What kind of training does a HVAC technician need?
HVAC technicians must have at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer candidates with formal postsecondary training. Some HVAC technicians complete formal National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors, Air-Conditioning Contractors of American, other nationally recognized apprenticeship programs. Prospective HVAC technicians typically complete courses about the basics of installation, maintenance, and repair of heating and cooling units, equipment design and construction, temperature control, electronics, and industrial mathematics. Many employers provide on the job training and classroom instruction for inexperienced individuals. Some states require HVAC technicians to be licensed. Licensing requirements typically include minimum education or experience and passing an examination. Most HVAC technicians also gain professional certification to remain competitive in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a HVAC technician?
Employment of HVAC technicians is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 28% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased demand for residential, commercial, and industrial climate-control systems will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be excellent especially for those with formal training and extensive experience. Numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace HVAC technicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do HVAC technicians make?
As of January 2010, HVAC technicians with less than 1 year experience earn average hourly rates between $11.26 and $15.59. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $12.82 and $17.86 (2).
A career as a HVAC technician is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in the installation, maintenance, and repair of many different heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. HVAC must have a solid understanding of a variety of systems and the ability to perform many different tasks. Technical aptitude, accuracy, detail orientation, and physical stamina are necessary characteristics. HVAC technicians must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they often deal with a variety of customers and other professionals. They must abide by the proper safety precautions to minimize injury from hazards.