HVAC Technologies

If you like working with technical systems and are good with your hands, you might consider a career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technology. Read on to learn more about employment prospects, earnings and training requirements to see if HVAC technology is a good fit for you.

Is a Career in HVAC Technologies for Me?

Career Overview

As an HVAC technologist or technician, you will install, maintain and service HVAC systems in homes, office buildings and other structures. You might also work as an HVACR technician and install, maintain and service refrigeration systems.

Career Options

As an HVAC technician, you might be self-employed or work for different types of companies. These include lodging facilities, malls, retail superstores or utility companies, among other places. You might be employed as a control technician, HVACR mechanic or service tech installer. Experience and training might also help you advance to a position as a building superintendent, facility manager or plant operator.

Employment and Salary Information

Employment of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers was projected to grow 21% between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is faster than average. In May 2013, the BLS also reported that mechanics and installers earned an average of $46,110 per year (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Work In HVAC Technologies?

Educational Options

If you are interested in a career in HVAC technologies, you can begin by enrolling in an HVAC technology or an HVAC and refrigeration technology program. Certificate and associate degree programs in heating, air condition and refrigeration technology can be found at many technical colleges and might last anywhere from 1-2 years. Some schools also offer bachelor's degree programs in HVAC. Online HVAC certification programs and online refrigeration courses may also be available.

Curriculum and Training

In an HVAC program, you'll get hands-on training while learning about the different types of systems and equipment used in the field. Areas of specialization might include commercial refrigeration, heating or HVAC system design. In particular, you may learn how to install heating and cooling systems or service industrial refrigerators, central air systems and residential cooling units. Training in duct work and other HVAC technologies might also be provided.

Key topics can include the safety measures associated with the use of dangerous chemicals, as well as environmentally safe alternatives. You might also study codes of practice, electrical systems, planning and power management.

Certifications

HVAC certification exams can be found through the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Requirements typically include passing scores on exams.

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