The term HVAC is familiar to most people around the world, many even know that it stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. The field of an HVAC technician is one that is definitely in demand, especially as the changes in global temperature continue to persuade people to use their heating and air conditioning units more than ever before.
An HVAC technician is responsible for installing, maintaining, servicing and repairing HVAC units, including refrigeration systems. An HVAC technician can choose to have a specialty, such as installation or repair, or may opt to be familiar with all of the aspects of the field. The job will require a familiarity with the layout, design, and installation process for low voltage wiring, the ability to provide quality customer service, and the ability to collaborate with the sales and engineering departments.
The majority of the 270,000 technicians working in the field are employed by contractors, while a smaller percentage is self employed. During the busy time of the year, overtime is often required for these individuals. Almost all of the positions are full time, though the nature of the business may require weekends and/or holidays to be worked.
Physically, the job can be demanding. Though there is not an over abundance of heavy lifting as is found in construction jobs, the HVAC technician must frequently squeeze into tight spaces, attics, basements, crawl spaces, etc… in order to reach the equipment they are working on. Since no one ever makes a service call until their equipment stops working, building are more often than not, very cold or very hot. The possibility of shocks, burns, exposure to coolant, cuts and scrapes is always present. This job can be dangerous, but as with all jobs, the danger decreases if you pay attention.
Many states require those who work in the HVAC field to be specially licensed. This licensing process may require a written test or a certain number of apprenticeship hours. Even in states where this is not a requirement, employers prefer their employees to have the license, or at least, to have completed an apprenticeship and training program. These apprentice programs usually last three to five years and are sponsored by local union chapters.
Some of the skills required for an HVAC technician can not be taught. Good listening skills, time management skills, critical thinking skills, and communication skills are unavoidable to be successful in the occupation. Those who possess these skills are more likely to move into management positions, sales or marketing positions, cost estimators, or other related positions.
HVAC technicians are expected to remain in demand for at least the next couple decades, so for those wanting job security, the field of an HVAC technician provides a better than average chance of stability. This career field in especially important in the winter months when temperatures drop to the most unhospitable levels. The job has its clearly rewarding moments, as when a home with young children, gets to appreciate the ever so important heat.