Image from Pixabay
The field of heating, ventilation and air conditioning or HVAC offers rewarding, challenging and secure careers for the future. It has always provided the solid backbone of technical expertise needed to ensure comfort and safety for the inhabitants of all kinds of buildings - residential, commercial, government and educational. New technology and developments mean that HVAC techs will continue to be in high demand. At Eastwick College, students can prepare for jobs in the field in the HVACR or heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration training programs.
New technology has created a demand for techs to service and repair older, worn out HVAC systems and to replace these with newer and more energy-efficient ones. The Eastwick College HVACR program prepares students for installation, repair and service of HVAC systems as well as necessary skills like troubleshooting and problem solving.
HVAC Career Overview
HVAC technicians have an important job in ensuring the safety and comfort of the inhabitants of all kinds of buildings, from apartments and single-family homes to shopping malls and college campuses. This makes it a rewarding, challenging and secure career. HVAC techs install, service and repair climate control and refrigeration systems. These systems regulate temperature and humidity in buildings,
A number of changes over the years have kept the field of HVAC central to modern lifestyles. New technology makes it necessary to replace older, outworn systems with newer, more energy efficient models. The newer HVAC systems can help to reduce heating and cooling costs, which are a major part of the electric bill for any building. This means that HVAC techs are at the forefront of the effort to achieve an environmentally sound and sustainable style of living.
Job Prospects in the HVAC Field
Given the importance of the work that HVAC techs do, this field offers excellent career opportunities. According to Department of Labor estimates, employment for HVACR technicians and installers is expected to grow by 14 percent by 2024. By 2022, jobs in the field are projected to grow by 21%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that for the foreseeable future, there will be a high demand for HVAC techs.
Techs can work for service companies or as independent contractors. About 10% of all HVAC techs are self-employed. The work site too can vary, and techs can choose to be located at just one building or campus or move to a different site each day. Since the work is done on site, these jobs cannot be outsourced. The field offers both job security and high salaries.
Graduates of the Eastwick College HVACR program can work with utilities like PSE&G, appliance services like A&E which is a division of Sears, and The Port Authority of NY and NJ. In the New York - New Jersey area, the average salary for HVACR techs is $60,430 in the NY/NJ Metro Area. Nationwide, the average annual salary for HVAC techs was $48,000 in 2016. Salaries for the top 10% in the field were in the region of $70,000 per year.
Typical HVAC Job Duties
Techs perform various duties in the course of their daily jobs. These can include carrying out or overseeing installations, troubleshooting and repairing HVAC systems. They must make sure that relevant all codes are followed in each job. They may also be called upon to provide technical support and consultation.
HVAC techs may have to respond to emergency calls and work after hours. In fact, there is strong potential for overtime pay. Techs may also design, layout and install low-voltage wiring, and to develop product definitions in collaboration with engineering and sales departments to meet to customer needs and market opportunities.
HVAC techs can fill diverse roles, depending on the work site and their own specialization. Some typical HVAC job titles are:
- HVAC Service Technician
- HVAC Mechanic and Installer
- Refrigeration Mechanic and Installer
- Air Conditioning Mechanic and Supervisor
- General Maintenance
- HVAC Project Manager
- HVAC Technical Consultant
The Importance of HVAC Careers
Heating and cooling systems account for the largest amount of energy consumption in any building. With a renewed concern for the environment and sustainable living, HVAC techs are on the front lines of the struggle to improve energy efficiency. Through correct installation and maintenance of newer energy-efficient systems and proper insulation and ventilation of building structures, HVAC techs can help home owners and building managers to reduce their carbon footprint.
Training & Certification
Getting a job in the field requires post-secondary training and certification. Techs can gain certification through post-secondary training at a technical school or through a paid apprenticeship that lasts three to five years. Eastwick College provides the training needed for basic and specialized certifications in the field. On-the-job training is often a requirement for getting a job in the field. Besides technical skills, HVAC techs also need the soft-skills necessary for good customer service, as they will be in direct communication with clients in a number of different situations.
In some states and localities, techs have to be licensed. They can do this by taking a written test. Training for certified HVAC technicians at the Eastwick College HVACR program includes knowledge of the electrical, electronic, and mechanical components of HVAC systems. Students learn how to install, service and repair HVAC systems, furnaces and boilers. The training also covers the basics of electricity and piping, along with ductwork sizing and installation.
Repairs require the ability to troubleshoot and diagnose problems. Besides the necessary technical knowledge, HVAC techs also need critical thinking, listening and speaking skills. As well as the basics of HVAC systems, techs need skills like problem solving, and also soft skills like listening and speaking to customers in order to understand their problems. Time management skills are necessary for completing specific jobs and large projects according to schedule.
Besides tasks like routine installation, repair, and maintenance, HVAC techs can be expected to respond to emergency calls. For this part of their work, they will need not only the technical knowledge but the ability to handle stressful situations. The work can physically demanding, with long hours. Students must keep this in mind when preparing for a career in HVAC installation, service and repair.
Other Job Requirements
Besides technical skills and work experience, HVAC techs need to meet some other job requirements as well. They should be able to follow all safety rules and procedures and carry out instructions for the job. They must have a clean driving record and pass a background check. Techs must be able to lift heavy weights up to 50 pounds, carry ladders, and work at a height and in small crawl spaces.
Eastwick College HVAC Training Program
Eastwick College offers all the training required for HVAC technician certification. A high school diploma or the equivalent is required to begin the training. Following the basic HVAC certification, students can go on to gain further certification in specific areas. These include EPA Type I-III and universal EPA certificates and North American Technician Excellence (NATE).
Graduates of the Eastwick College HVACR program meet the requirements for the Universal EPA and R-410A certifications. They are eligible for second-year apprentice status, as required by NJPHCC.The HVACR program at Eastwick College offers EPA 608 and EPA 410 A refrigerant handling certifications and the HVAC Excellence employment ready certification for electricity, gas, heat, air conditioning service and charging procedures.
Techs can choose to specialize in just one area, such as installation, or maintenance and repair. They may also choose to concentrate on one system, though they will have a basic grounding in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration.
Theoretical Principles and Practical Skill Sets
In the course of their training, HVAC techs learn the underlying theoretical principles as well as practical skills. The theoretical training will include material from disciplines like mechanical engineering, geothermal technology, and energy engineering. Students will learn the principles of thermodynamics in relation to heating and refrigeration as well as the physical dynamics of different kinds of HVAC systems and the building structures in which they are installed.
Practical skills include installation and repair of HVAC systems. Students will learn how to integrate HVAC systems with various building materials, the best locations to install heating and air conditioning, and how to design and measure for proper ventilation.
HVAC techs play an important role in ensuring the comfort and safety of the occupants of a wide range of building structures. They are also at the forefront of efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of all kinds of buildings. This makes it a challenging and satisfying career, with good job prospects and high salaries.
The demand for HVAC techs will continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Many states require certification and licensing for anyone working in this field. The Eastwick College HVACF training program offers students basic and specialized certifications in the field. Most jobs also require some amount of on-the-job work experience.