If you get an associate’s degree in HVAC/R, you’re probably thinking of a career as an installer or technician.
This is a great way to go — but it’s not the only way. Here are a few ideas of HVAC/R career paths, some of which you may not have considered.
For many graduates, this is the most obvious route and with good reason! It’s a fast-growing job sector with a great outlook. Another great thing about this career path is that there’s always room for learning. Technicians can move their career along by getting certifications from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). It also helps when a technician has taken a few training sessions offered by manufacturers.
Here’s an idea of what you’ll be doing as an HVAC/R technician:
- Reading blueprints to install or repair HVAC/R systems
- Performing regular equipment maintenance
- Inspecting equipment for maintenance issues
- Changing filters on schedule
- Troubleshooting mechanical problems
- Performing basic repairs (leaks, etc)
- Documenting work and hours spent
Green Energy Jobs
The world is changing. The U.S. is looking to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and to cut carbon emissions. Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems use a lot of energy, so they’re a natural place to consider green energy. Any HVAC/R course will include some discussion of energy efficiency and emissions. But there’s an entire industry sprouting up around green energy, with a wide range of positions.
Here are just a few of them:
- Energy auditor
- Commercial green building design specialist
- Residential green building design specialist
- Green HVAC/R systems maintenance
- Solar heating system installation and maintenance
- Geothermal heating system installation and maintenance
It’s important to note that many green energy jobs require additional training or certification, or maybe even another degree, but not all of them. Some companies provide training or tuition reimbursement, as a way of helping good employees advance their careers.
Many don’t realize that there are great opportunities in sales, especially for those with technical knowledge of HVAC/R systems. Many HVAC/R graduates move into sales positions after a few years as a tech in the field. They find that sales can be a rewarding career for motivated people with good interpersonal skills.
Salespeople do a lot more than just sweet-talk potential customers. There’s actually a lot to the job. Here’s an idea of what salespeople do in the HVAC industry:
- Assess client needs
- Demonstrate company products
- Work up estimates or quotes
- Track and follow up with leads
- Ensure customer satisfaction
- Assist at trade shows
HVAC/R is an industry unto itself. This means that there are all kinds of jobs related to HVAC/R systems outside of installation, maintenance and sales. For example, some graduates may be interested in pursuing further training in blueprint creation or technical writing. Often there are management positions for qualified personnel with experience. There are jobs with manufacturers and parts distributors in customer service or technical support.
Thousands of people are enjoying satisfying careers as technicians. But the industry is so big and so important, that there are tons of opportunities to consider. The first step is to enroll in a quality associate’s degree HVAC/R program, after that? The sky’s the limit!