The average HVAC technician makes about $50,000 a year. The industry is set to grow over the next decade as well.
The projected growth underscores the need for HVAC jobs as we confront the impacts of climate change. Extreme heat and cold snaps make us dependent on HVAC units more than ever.
It’s a great time to get started as a technician and build your career to become an HVAC contractor. You’ll earn a great living and have a job for years to come.
What does it take to start your career in the HVAC industry? Keep reading to find out.
- Draw Your Career Vision
You probably imaging that your HVAC career is in the residential market. You go from one house to the next, installing or repairing HVAC units.
That’s not the only type of HVAC job out there. You can work in the commercial sector, where you install and maintain HVAC units in large office buildings.
You could become an HVAC engineer. In this role, you’d design HVAC systems for new buildings. Similar to HVAC engineers, there are HVAC project managers that oversee the installation of HVAC units in new or renovated buildings.
If you’re into green energy, you still have a place as an HVAC expert. Some go on to work with wind turbines.
Before you dive head-first into your HVAC career, make a full career plan. Ask yourself where you’d like to work and how much you’d like to earn each year.
This helps you determine the next steps, from your education path to the companies you’ll apply with.
- Choose a Learning Path
You have a few ways to start your career in HVAC. One way is to get on-the-job training as an assistant. You’d work with an HVAC technician, master, or journeyman.
The issue here is that your learning is limited by the knowledge of the person you’re helping. They might forget to share important information about working with HVAC units. If they don’t stay up to date with technology, you’d be at a disadvantage when you work on your own.
There are apprenticeship programs that provide similar training. Again, your skills will only match the person your work for.
The other method is to enroll in an HVAC technician program. This is covered in the next step.
- Find an HVAC School
The simplest career path to becoming an HVAC technician is to go to school. There are programs at community colleges and private schools that offer training.
There are some things that you have to look for when you choose your school. The program should have a number of different instructors to learn from. Each person provides a different perspective, which gives you a well-rounded view of the HVAC industry.
Two things that are non-negotiable are HVAC hands on training and career placement. You’re going to school to get a job. The program you enroll in has to prepare you for your career.
If you want to become an HVAC engineer, you’ll need to go through a four-year program. People who major in mechanical engineering tend to do well as HVAC engineers. There are four-year programs in HVAC engineering that will get you ready to enter the industry.
- Apply for HVAC Jobs
Upon completion of the apprenticeship or HVAC program, you’re ready to start applying for HVAC jobs. You’ll need to have a polished resume. You also need to be prepared to answer interview questions.
You’re getting ready to represent a business, and most business owners want to make sure they hire the right person for the job.
You should expect questions that ask how you’d handle a difficult client. You should also expect to explain how you’d address a client with environmental concerns about HVAC units.
Your resume should have a list of skills that you have. They don’t necessarily have to be HVAC-related. You need to demonstrate that you understand HVAC units and have people skills.
- Get Licensed
An HVAC license isn’t necessary for most states, though it does show your level or expertise. Most education programs give you a certificate or associate’s degree.
Those are great things to have to get started. Once you gain experience, you might decide that you want to grow your career a little more.
The requirements for an HVAC license vary by state. They typically require a certain amount of experience (between 2-4 years) and a passing exam grade.
- Continue to Learn and Grow
You might have to take continuing education classes to maintain your license or certification. Regardless of the requirements, it’s always a good idea to stay up to date on industry changes.
Technology continues to advance. That makes HVAC units more efficient. These changes might lead to a reduction in coolants.
Continuing education classes make sure that you have the information you need to serve your customers.
- Put Your Ego Aside
Don’t be surprised if you start out working at an HVAC company as a salesperson or driver. Even though you’re ready to get started, companies might not hire for HVAC positions right away.
Don’t think that you’re too good for a job. Go the extra mile and take any job that you can at first, even if it’s sweeping floors at a warehouse.
Show that you’re eager to learn and make industry connections whenever possible. These connections can help you throughout your career.
Get Ready for Your Career in HVAC
Do you think you have what it takes to start a new career with an HVAC company? The steps outlined in this article show you what you need to do to land one of the top HVAC jobs.
With a clear vision and the right actions, you can accomplish your career goals in the industry.
If you like learning about the HVAC industry, you’ll enjoy the articles in the Education section of this site. Check them out!