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HVAC Technician Job Description

HVAC technicians, also called HVACR technicians, install, maintain and fix refrigeration, heating, and air conditioning systems. They can choose to specialize in any of these areas—as well as choose to focus on installing versus maintenance and so on.

Average Day HVAC Technician Job Description

On a usual day, an HVAC technician deals with a lot. Basically, he works with the system that controls a building’s air quality and temperature. He may test a system to verify it operates according to plans and to detect any malfunctions. He may repair or replace faulty components, wiring, and equipment—and then reassemble and test the equipment. He must also adhere to various standards and policies, including ethical conduct, a clean work area, and safety processes.

The work requires a lot of standing and body contortions in unusual positions, so a technician must be in good shape.

Education and Licensure

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HVAC technicians greatly bolster their chances of being hired if they have both educational backgrounds and apprenticeships. Community colleges, trade schools, technical schools and the United States Armed Forces provide such training. Chapters of various unions such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America sponsor apprenticeships, and they last anywhere from three to five years. Apprentices each year must get at least 2,000 hours of training on the job and 144 hours of educational training. They learn how to read blueprints, to use tools and about safety practices.

Educational programs usually don’t result in degree awards. They involve instruction in measuring electrical circuit voltage and measuring temperatures of refrigerants, relative humidity, and air conditioning systems. Students learn how to prep equipment for foundation bases, how to cut metal with portable metal saws and how to clean various equipment and parts such as humidifiers, coils, and fans.

Some states and areas require licensure or certification, which means passing a test. High school classes in computer applications, shop math, and chemistry are good preparation, especially for these aspiring technicians who lack HVAC post-secondary education.

Earnings and Job Outlook

HVAC technicians earned about $43,640 per year in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This comes out to $20.98 per hour, and 267,600 HVAC technicians worked in the United States in 2012. The job outlook is rosy; the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts growth of 21 percent through 2022.

Supervisory positions and employment in marketing are available for these technicians who wish to advance. Some become building superintendents.