image source: pexels
Do you want a career with high projected growth in opportunities and pay? Do you like to work with your hands? Are you good at problem solving? Then a career in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) might be for you. You can get started on that career at Mid Florida Tech, a post-secondary vocational school in Orlando, FL which offers a Career Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Technology.
HVAC Career Overview
Careers in the HVAC industry can vary widely, especially as technicians gain experience. Basically, an HVAC tech works with HVAC systems, conducting installations, making repairs, and doimg maintenance.
Below is an overview of the types of tasks an HVAC technician might be assigned.
HVAC Career Outlook
The HVAC field offers solid future job security. Demand for HVAC services is increasing, and experts say the need for HVAC workers will continue to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for HVAC technicians will grow 15 percent by 2026. Most U.S. industries are projected to grow only 7 percent in that same time.
With new energy efficiency requirements for new homes in the U.S., and new equipment to provide that efficiency, the need for HVAC workers will only continue to increase. HVAC techs also handle the installation and servicing of wind turbines and solar power panels, whose popularity continues to grow.
Construction of new buildings, both homes and businesses, has also seen an uptick in the last several years. Homes built in the early 2000s will need to replace their HVAC systems soon. Under new pollution regulations, some older refrigerants are now prohibited by law and must be replaced. Then the tech must dispose of the prohibited material.
HVAC professionals must be lifelong learners with all the recent changes in the industry. Technicians will need more technical skills going forward to retrofit older systems and to handle the new and improved systems that homeowners are increasingly demanding.
In short, there will always be a demand for skilled HVAC tradespeople.
The increased need for HVAC professionals will create up to 50,000 new HVAC jobs in that time span.
According to the BLS, experienced HVAC technicians should bring in an average of around $$ per year, or $ an hour. Entry-level technicians will not start out at that salary, but the pay is still good, projected at $ per hour.
The most experienced and highest paid HVAC professionals can earn around $$$ a year.
Salaries also depend on where you work.
According to the BLS, the highest employment areas for HVAC professionals are:
Top paying states usually have fewer job opportunities.
Specific HVAC Careers
HVAC technicians can take their careers in a multitude of directions, from specialization in one type of system, to concentrating on repairs, to managing large installation projects. While most HVAC professionals work for an established company, some branch out to become contractors on their own behalf.
Some options are listed below, but this is not an exhaustive list.
Any team of service technicians needs a manager. When working on a heating, ventilation, or air conditioning project, the HVAC manager supervises technicians, troubleshoots problems, and makes sure the work is done correctly and on time. Managers also work closely with clients to ensure that the project meets their needs and expectations.
HVAC installers specialize in putting in new HVAC systems though they also take on repairs and maintenance. Installers need mechanical skills, manual dexterity, and physical strength. These HVAC professionals must be well trained so they can troubleshoot issues as they come up.
HVAC engineers work on system installation, from planning to coordinating the work. They evaluate the performance of existing HVAC systems and make suggestions of improvements to increase efficiency. They also design heating and cooling systems for new construction. Engineers have the chance to work at a wide range of businesses, such as equipment manufacturers, government agencies, or design firms.
The term 'HVAC technician' covers a wide variety of roles in the HVAC industry. Techs work on installing, maintaining, and repairing HVAC systems but many specialize in certain topics, such as refrigeration.
Refrigeration technicians maintain and repair cooling and refrigeration systems, in houses, businesses such as restaurants, or buildings under construction. These techs know how to repair, install, and upgrade refrigeration systems.
Techs trained in solar photovoltaic technology have good job prospects as more and more people and businesses adopt renewable energy systems. The BLS believes demand for solar technicians will double from 2016 to 2026.
Wind Turbine Technician
Another part of the renewable energy industry, wind turbines, is also gaining in popularity. This ensures that techs trained in turbine technology will have plenty of work in years to come. Wind turbine technician, in fact, is the second-fastest growing job in the United States,
Training & Certification
HVAC professionals must either have formal training, such as the Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Technology program at Mid Florida Tech, or have completed a three to five year paid apprenticeship.
Training programs can be found at community colleges and trade schools. Apprenticeship opportunities are less common, but may be found through local unions or trade organizations.
To become an HVAC tech, you:
1. Need a high school diploma or your GED
2. Must have completed an HVAC training program or apprenticeship and earned your basic certification
After some hands-on experience in the field, you can then pursue more certifications related to your career path.
Employers want to see HVAC certified job candidates. On completion of the Mid Florida Tech training program, new HVAC techs have an entry-level certification.
Full certification can be earned after gaining experience on the job. Techs need at least 12 months of installation experience and 24 months of equipment maintenance before they can take the certification exam. Certification is available from professional associations such as HVAC Excellence and the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute.
Some jurisdictions require HVAC professionals to be certified. Check your local regulations.
The HVAC field has some requirements not taught in training programs:
Mid Florida Tech HVAC Training Program
Mid Florida Tech's seven month Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Technology training program prepares students to work as heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration technicians. The school also offers advanced HVAC training.
Students in Mid Florida Tech's HVAC program learn every part of the HVAC industry.
As students work their way through the program, they can take Employment Ready Exams through HVAC Excellence.
Tuition and Financial Aid
The HVAC program at Mid Florida Tech costs around $$.
Financial aid is available. Most Mid Florida Tech students receive some kind of financial aid from state or federal sources.
To apply for financial aid at Mid Florida Tech:
- Fill out the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be filled out online or on paper (obtain through financial aid office).
- Within 3 - 5 days of completing the FAFSA, meet with financial aid staff
Installment plans are available for students paying out of pocket.
Prospective Mid Florida Tech students must complete several steps before enrolling in courses.
- Fill out the online application
- Arrange for your high school transcript to be sent to the college
- New students take placement tests in English, Reading, and Math
Pursuing HVAC training is a good investment for people interested in learning a skilled trade with good job opportunities and growth prospects. This is especially true in Florida, which has the highest demand for HVAC technicians in the nation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Florida has 29,450 HVAC jobs available. Mid Florida Tech provides HVAC students with a thorough education in the fundamentals of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning which will lead to a lifetime as a skilled tradesperson. Studying HVAC at Mid Florida Tech will set you up for a career that pays well and is always in demand.