Various types of environments and buildings use heating and cooling systems. Technicians are needed to install these types of systems, as well as provide maintenance for them. If you're interested in this career, you can find useful information below.
Those who repair, maintain and install heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems might be employed as HVAC technicians. HVAC technicians who also work on refrigeration systems are known as HVACR technicians. As an HVAC technician or mechanic, you can work directly for local businesses, hospitals and other large organizations that require maintenance of their HVAC systems, or you can work for HVAC contractors and make service calls to residential and commercial buildings.
You could choose to work in all areas of HVAC or simply specialize in one area, such as installation, heating or refrigeration. You might become an air-conditioning mechanic, heating mechanic or refrigeration mechanic. You could choose to become an appliance repair technician, manufacturer representative, plant maintenance technician or refrigeration and air-conditioning contractor.
Some states might require HVAC certification for HVAC professionals. Although each state has different requirements to become licensed, you might need to complete a formal apprenticeship program and pass a test. If you want to buy or use refrigerants, you'll need to be certified; this requires you to pass a written exam.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers was expected to increase 28% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). In May 2010, those professionals earned an average annual salary of $44,860, noted the BLS.
Academics programs in HVAC can consist of heating and air-conditioning or simply air-conditioning programs. Programs can be found at trade schools, technical colleges and some universities. Educational offerings in HVAC training are typically certificate programs. Some schools might allow you to transfer your certificate credits to a related degree program, such as an associate degree program in heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration technology, associate degree in HVAC and refrigeration or a bachelor's degree in heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration technology.
Throughout HVAC programs, you'll get hands-on training and learn how to work on HVAC systems in residential and commercial structures. You'll also gain knowledge in electrical systems, different types of furnaces, various heat pumps and air-conditioning units. Studies might also include planning and design of different HVAC systems, HVAC servicing and testing HVAC systems for electrical issues.
Through academic programs, you gain the skills and expertise to repair, maintain and install heating and cooling systems. As a graduate, you'll be prepared to enter into an entry-level position, such as an HVAC technician.