Home > Blog > HVAC Technician: A Career Guide
by Raja Tahir on July 18, 2018 · 9:00 am
Are you interested in a hands-on career that requires solid mechanical and troubleshooting skills? If so, then becoming an HVAC (or HVACR) mechanic and installer might be the right career for you.
HVACR technicians — which stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration — are tasked with installing, maintaining and repairing heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration systems that regulate the temperature and air quality in buildings and refrigeration systems.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HVACR technicians will typically do the following:
One pro is that it is an in-demand career. The BLS reports that the employment rate for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average of 7% for all occupations.
Some of the reasons for this expected higher-than-average growth rate?
If you’re in California and interested in HVACR training, the Occupational Employment Statistics shows that California ranks second in the U.S. in highest employment level for this occupation, which is promising for a future career.
Another pro of a career as an HVACR technician: The job also can command decent pay. The BLS shows that the median annual wage for HVACR mechanics and installers was $47,080 in May 2017. California HVACR technicians earn an annual mean wage of $56,350.
HVACR technicians will work mostly in factories, office buildings, hospitals, stores, schools and homes. Technicians often travel to several different locations making service calls, and some will be assigned to specific jobsites at the start of each day.
Successful HVACR technicians often have the following qualities:
One thing to consider: The BLS reports that HVACR technicians have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. These potential hazards include burns, electrical shock, muscle strains and injuries from lifting and handling heavy equipment.
Work schedules can also be irregular for HVACR technicians. They typically work full time, but this could include shifts during the evenings and weekends. During peak heating and cooling seasons, many technicians will work overtime due to the increase in demand.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all technicians who buy, handle, or work with refrigerants to be certified in proper refrigerant handling.
This certification, EPA Section 608 Technician Certification, is mandatory for all people nationwide who work with refrigerants.
In California, state licensure is mandatory for HVACR technicians working on projects that exceed $500. This license, known as the Warm-Air, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Contractor license, is available through the CA Contractors State License Board.
The first step is to enroll in an HVACR certificate or associate degree program at an accredited institution. These programs can take anywhere between six months to two years to complete, according to the BLS. These programs combine classroom instruction and labs to cover the fundamentals of electricity, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration.
The Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program at SJVC prepares you for a job in the heating and cooling industry. Training focuses on theories of heating, refrigeration and air conditioning. Students study the operation, maintenance and repair of residential and commercial equipment.
Students can earn a Certificate of Completion in about 10 months, or an Associate of Science Degree in approximately 14 months.
Graduates also have the opportunity to earn Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 608 certification. SJVC will pay the fees associated with this examination for first-time test takers. (Payment for retakes and subsequent examinations are the responsibility of the graduate.)
Request more information or call 866-544-7898 to speak with an admissions advisor about SJVC’s HVACR Program.
Posted in Heating, Ventilation, AC and Refrigeration