Careers in HVAC are increasing with the growing engagement with green energy, indoor air quality improvement, and energy efficient upgrades. While there are many aspects to work within the HVAC industry, most technicians will choose a particular concentration. After gaining sufficient experience, there may also be opportunities for technicians to work in management or sales positions.
HVAC Training and Skills
Because HVAC systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, technicians now often have to go through a formal training process to prepare themselves for entry-level positions. Following or in conjunction with the educational training is an apprenticeship or other type of hands-on learning experience. This allows those in HVAC training to have practical experience before starting their careers.
Responsibilities of HVAC technicians can vary widely based on the exact nature of their work. However, a general skill set or list of duties may well include:
- Install HVAC systems and equipment
- Inspecting the condition of an HVAC systems to diagnose any issues, identify needed repairs, and set maintenance plans
- Repair HVAC systems and components (including pumps, pipes, air handlers, motors, fan coils, etc.)
- Upgrade existing systems to enhance performance or bring systems up to legal coding standards
- Perform routine maintenance on systems and equipment
- Maintain tools and equipment for safe operation
- Maintain inventory to ensure necessary installation and repair items are available at all times
- Prepare any related documentation for repair status and activity logs
- Construct specialty equipment to meet specific needs or replace unavailable parts
- Respond to immediate safety concerns in emergency situations
- Transport HVAC tools, equipment, and supplies to and from job sites
- Collaborate with foremen and other skilled workers as needed
Technician Work Environment
HVAC technicians are frequently active on the job. The nature of HVAC work often involves movements such as heavy lifting, carrying, pulling, pushing, climbing, balancing, stooping, and crawling. It is not uncommon to work within crowded or small spaces as well as in places of extreme hot or cold temperatures. Technicians are often expected to drive to sites and there may be a lot of walking around to either outdoor or indoor work areas. Because technicians also must work with fine instruments at times, a high degree of manual dexterity is also advantageous.