Young and technical-minded Americans are increasingly attracted to a career in HVAC, as it is a well-paying and also serves the social cause of keeping families safe and comfortable in their homes. The Waukesha County Technical College is committed to imparting quality education in this field through an exhaustive and engaging program curriculum.
The pedagogy is based on theoretical learning, practical exposure, and demonstrative and experiential learning. The college aims to produce HVAC specialists who are technically sound and efficient and are committed to excelling in their craft and skills.
What Is HVAC and Why It Is So Important to the Safety and Comfort of Homes?
HVAC is an abbreviation of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. In combination, these elements contribute to making living spaces, workplaces, transport systems, and other units of human occupation thermally comfortable and safe. HVAC also ensure decent indoor air quality.
Needless to say, HVAC quality is critical for quality living.
HVAC Career Overview
A career in HVAC is not only good for the practitioner, but it also serves an important community need. HVAC technicians ensure that families always live safely and comfortably in their homes. Thus, this occupation is socially fulfilling, apart from being a way to earn a good income. The best part is that, looking at the expanding climate change phenomenon, HVAC experts are going to be in perpetual demand.
What Is the Job Profile of an HVAC Technician?
HVAC technicians are experts who design, install, and maintain the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems of homes. They also take care of refrigeration systems. Thus, they can be described as “home-keepers of the nation.”
With experience and exposure, these technicians emerge as domain experts in certain niche areas or core functions. For example, a person may become known for their knack to design and install domestic heating systems, while another may make a name in repair and maintenance of heating systems. There are various branches of specialization available as one's career advances. Some enterprising technicians may also double up as HVAC annual maintenance contract sellers!
A Typical HVAC Day
The workflow of a typical HVAC task begins with reviewing the site, its area, floor plan, structural nature, neighborhood environment, location, locality, and other details. Based on this information, the technician designs the needed system and discusses the plan with the owner.
They then give a cost estimate, payment terms, and a time-bound completion commitment, and draw up a work agreement. Upon signing the agreement, the technicians begin the work.
HVAC contracts may include the following:
- Annual preventive maintenance contract
- Periodic checks of the system
- Priority emergency visits
- Keeping a check of systems if and when the home is vacant
What Do the Statistics Say?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2015 report says that HVAC is the highest paying vertical within the building and construction industry. The annual median salary of HVAC technicians was $45,110 in 2017. Further, these technicians mostly worked as employees of building and construction contractors.
In terms of growth prospects of HVAC industry, the Bureau projects a 14% domain growth between 2014 and 2024. In the shorter timeline between 2017 and 2022, this growth is projected at a phenomenal 21%, which is the highest growth forecast for any industry in the US.
In 2012, there were about four million HVAC technicians in the US. To fill the demand-supply gap of such a high-growth industry, the country will need a replenishment of about 56,000 trained technicians.
Through its dedicated HVAC training program, the Waukesha County Technical College is determined to do its bit to meet this manpower demand.
Training & Certification
A typical HVAC training program in the US lasts from a few months to a couple of years. The curriculum is governed by local and regional considerations. Different states have varying HVAC requirements based upon socio-economic parameters, demography, occupations, lifestyles, climate, location, and other factors.
The inclusion of techno-commercial themes in the curriculum is also subjective and differs from state to state. For example, states along the East Coast may want to include climate change as an elective subject in their curriculum, which may not be found relevant to the programs of the heartland states.
The job growth projected for HVAC technicians is expected to be much faster than average from 2014 to 2024 when compared to all occupations. Applicants who complete post-secondary training programs and an apprenticeship should be able to compete effectively for these jobs, which occasionally require licensure for techs who deal with refrigerants.
Licensing or Certification?
As in the case of HVAC curricula, the licensing and certification norms also vary from state to state. Some states require certified technicians while the others mandate licensed practitioners, and still others do not need any of the two, for a technician to function. In general, though, certified or licensed HVAC technicians get batter pay than their non-certified peers.
How to Get HVAC Certification
There are different mechanisms to becoming a certified HVAC professional. In some states, applicants must pass certain exams before getting a certificate. This certification is regulated by the federal government's Code of Federal Regulations. Other states need these technicians to take tests to demonstrate their knowledge, skill sets, aptitude, and practical understanding before they are licensed or certified.
In either case, aspiring HVAC technicians have to enroll in a reputed institute or college to obtain the required expertise that earns them a certificate or a license to practise.
As in the case of mainstream education, higher qualifications for an HVAC professional earn more respect and better pay-checks. If a professional has completed post-secondary training and an apprenticeship, they are considered to be at the top of HVAC hierarchy.
The following agencies issue HVAC certifications:
- North American technical Excellence or NATE
- HVAC Excellence
Additionally, HVAC professionals should also be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Advantages of Certification
Regardless of whether one wants to work as an employee, be self-employed, or start one's own HVAC business, there are several inherent advantages of being certified or licensed.
- The benefit of professional qualification
- Higher pay or professional fees
- Faster career advancement
- More trust and confidence
Waukesha County Technical College HVAC Training Program
This college has a well-designed program with a scientific, methodical approach to learning subjects. It is prepared by experts and integrates the latest and the most credible academic curricula prevalent in the US. Going beyond the traditional format of HVAC training programs, the Waukesha County Technical College also takes into account the practical parameters driving HVAC demand. Some of these are climatic conditions, year-round temperatures, air quality, pollution levels, and occupations.
At the Waukesha County Technical College, the learning approach to this program is based on a balance between theoretical knowledge, practical aspects, demonstrative education, experiential learning, and on-site experience.
Accordingly, the program pedagogy incorporates the following modules:
- Classroom learning
- Lectures and discussions
- Interactive learning
- Simulated demonstrations
- Debates and contests
- Location visits
- Study tours
The HVAC training and certification program of The Waukesha County Technical College incorporates both residential and light commercial ecosystems. Some spaces in the residential segment are independent homes with open land, luxury or economy apartments, serviced apartments, villas and mansions, condominiums, B&B facilities, motels, and hotel rooms. In the workplace and small business segment, the considerations are offices, factories, warehouses, and other commercial spaces.
Students are exposed to various home and workplace scenarios in which they are taught to apply learning. A broad range of topics are covered under the program:
- Electrical systems
- Humidification and dehumidification systems
- Air filtration systems
- Gas systems
- Cooling towers
- Temperature control and thermostat systems
- Installation best practices
- Fault detection methods and techniques
- Repair and maintenance
- And more
Apart from the mainstream HVAC subjects, the Waukesha County Technical College also imparts training related to associated fields. These include:
- Electrical wiring
- Fireplace installation
- Air, smoke, and gas ventilation
Safety and Other Regulatory Matters
As a responsible institute, the Waukesha County Technical College imparts adequate knowledge and awareness about the local, state, and federal laws and regulations governing the HVAC industry to its students.
In particular, the college covers the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 or the OSHA Act in its program. This educates the students about their safety and security rights as future employees in the accident-prone HVAC industry.
The Waukesha County Technical College strives to set benchmarks in HVAC training through its education. Its avowed aim is to prepare industry-ready students at the end of the program.
Over the years, the Waukesha County Technical College has earned itself a reputation for imparting high-quality professional HVAC training programs. Its approach to HVAC education and pedagogy are designed to impart one of the most relevant programs in WI.
For more information, the Waukesha County Technical College website wctc,edu has ample information to satisfy the curiosity of aspiring HVAC professionals. One can also call on or visit the campus for a first-hand appraisal.