The HVAC Training Program at Eastern Shore Community College on the Eastern Shore of Virginia prepares students for careers in a well-paid, growing field. Students who complete the program are fully prepared to begin professional HVAC work in several areas of specialization. While well-paying jobs can be scarce on Virginia's Eastern Shore, people with HVAC training have good job prospects in the region, giving students the option to remain on the Shore instead of leaving to seek work elsewhere. Before you sign up for any courses at Eastern Shore Community College, learn more about HVAC careers below.
HVAC Career Overview
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Do you want a career where opportunities will only grow over time? Do you like to work with your hands? Are you mechanical? Do you enjoy problem solving? Then a career in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) might be for you.
HVAC technicians work on heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and ventilation, by installing, maintaining, and repairing this equipment in home and business settings.
The HVAC field is growing, and experts predict that demand will continue to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the demand for HVAC technicians to grow 15 percent by 2026.
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. -Vince Lombardi
Across the nation, governments have passed new regulations requiring new houses to be more energy efficient. HVAC workers must have more technical skills to work with these new systems, such as a two-stage furnace. These systems offer increased energy efficiency and more even heating. Homeowners have also become more interested in cost efficiency and saving money, so they are investing in more efficient equipment.
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Renewable energy such as solar panels and wind turbines are also becoming increasingly popular. With an upturn in new construction following the recession, the need for HVAC technicians is increasing. Houses constructed between 2002 and 2006 will soon need to replace HVAC systems, as most last 10 to 15 years.
A new focus on pollution reduction will also create a need for technicians who can retrofit existing symptoms for better efficiency, and to replace now prohibited refrigerants.
HVAC Career Outlook
With HVAC jobs increasing up to 15% by 2026, the job outlook for HVAC trained personnel is strong. Most industries are projected to grow only 7 percent in that same time. This growth 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 $47,000 per year, or $22.64 an hour. Entry-level technicians will not start out at that salary, but the pay is still good: projected at $16.18 per hour.
Region also affects salary, and some areas will have more demand for HVAC technicians than others.
According to the BLS, the highest employment areas for the HVAC profession in the U.S. include:
The top paying states tend to have fewer openings.
Specific HVAC Careers
Trained HVAC professionals have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to specific jobs. This allows you to select a career that complements your strengths and aligns with your interests.
AC Technicians make sure that temperatures stay cool and controlled in buildings of all kinds, from homes to hospitals. Work can be on a 9-to-5 basis or can be subject to after-hours call outs. When air conditioning malfunctions on a 90 degree summer day, no one wants to wait for a technician to come out and fix it.
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.
HVAC installers literally put heating, air conditioning, and ventilations systems in place in commercial and residential properties. This role requires mechanical skills and manual dexterity. Physical strength is also necessary. Installers need to be well educated in HVAC systems so they can troubleshoot problems. Time management skills are also key as installers often work at more than one site at a time.
HVAC technicians install, repair, and maintain HVAC systems. Technicians often specialize in specific areas, like refrigeration systems. HVAC technicians often work for an HVAC company, but with a license (requirements vary by state) they can undertake contract work on their own behalf. After racking up experience, technicians might have the opportunity to become a supervisor of other technicians.
Refrigeration technicians look after cooling and refrigeration systems, in existing homes, businesses such as restaurants or grocery stores, or homes under construction. They are trained to both install and repair refrigeration systems, and are often responsible for replacing broken parts and handling upgrades. Refrigeration technicians are usually trained in many different kinds of systems and have also learned how to read schematics.
With solar energy's increasing popularity and demand, solar photovoltaic technicians can expect good job prospects. The BLS believes that employment in the solar energy field will double from 2016 to 2026, with excellent opportunities for qualified technicians. Individuals who have completed their training in photovoltaic systems can rely on many work options.
Wind Turbine Technician
WInd energy is another part of the energy industry that is experiencing a rapid rise. The increasing demand for green and renewable energy ensures that many opportunities will be available to those with the right training. In fact, wind turbine technician is the second-fastest growing occupation in the nation.
Training and Certification
Training for an HVAC career is widely available through vocational institutions and community colleges, such as Eastern Shore Community College, where students can earn an associate's degree, certificate, or diploma. Prospective HVAC technicians can also apprentice under a licensed HVAC professional to learn on the job. Some students learn the HVAC trade through a combination of formal schooling and apprenticeship.
Increasingly, employers are requiring their HVAC workers to be certified. Newly minted HVAC professionals can get entry-level certification. Full certification requires experience in the field. Certification is available from HVAC professional associations, such as the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute and HVAC Excellence.
HVAC professionals need a year of installation experience under their belts, and two years of equipment maintenance, and must pass an exam, to receive full certification. This certification can make a contractor more likely to be awarded a job, and boost their reputation in the field.
Some jurisdictions require HVAC professionals to be certified.
Eastern Shore Community College HVAC Training Programs
At Eastern Shore Community College, students can earn a Career Studies Option Certificate in Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation and Refrigeration Maintenance Technology/Technician.
Located in Melfa, VA, Eastern Shore Community College offers a large library, cafeteria, on-campus bookstore, many study areas, and ample parking.
Eastern Shore Community College prides itself on offering local students career training relevant to the needs of the Eastern Shore.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time, in-state students pay around $3,500 a semester in tuition, while out-of-state students pay around $9,000. Part-time students can calculate their per semester cost based on the number of credits they are taking.
Most Eastern Shore Community College students receive some kind of financial aid from state or federal sources.
Financial aid counselors at Eastern Shore Community College advise students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as they can. Counselors are available in the Financial Aid office by appointment for questions or other concerns. The office can also be reached by telephone, at (855) 874-6680.
To be admitted to Eastern Shore Community College, prospective students must first fill out the online application, then arrange for a transcript to be sent to the college from your high school and any post-high school schooling. Before enrolling in classes, new students must take placement tests in English, Reading, and Mathematics.
Students may study full-time or part-time.
HVAC students are not required to take general education courses, allowing them to concentrate solely on their applied technology studies.
Eastern Shore Community College's HVAC program prepares students to gain certification from HVAC professional groups.
Lectures are followed by labs for hands-on learning.
Subjects Studied Include:
Eastern Shore Community College offers a thorough education in the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning field, preparing students to go immediately into the workforce. With construction of new homes on the rise on the Eastern Shore, and an increasing demand for alternate energy sources through solar or wind turbines in the region, HVAC students have a high likelihood of finding work in their field right away.
Once trained, HVAC professionals have further options, such as working with renewable energy, or specializing in refrigeration systems. An HVAC certificate from Eastern Shore Community College is a good investment in your future.