Are you looking for a career, now that technology is beginning to automate many jobs? According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, HVAC/R technician demand in Florida is expected to grow 16% in the next decade. This is great news for graduates of an HVAC/R technician program. 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. HVAC/R 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 HVAC/R 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.
What Skills Do Graduates Learn During an HVAC/R Program?
There are many skills that a college graduate will learn while training in an HVAC/R program. Some of the most useful skills include attention to detail, problem solving, good communication and great customer service. College graduates that build this set of skills will be prepared for an entry-level job in HVAC/R.
Skill #1: Attention to Detail
The job of an HVAC/R Technician is intricate and nuanced. Attention to detail is important since many tasks are complex, and troubleshooting is a step-by-step process. A good attention to detail will allow the HVAC/R technician to identify problems and quickly solve them.
Skill #2: Problem Solving
Not every problem will have an immediate solution. Many HVAC/R technicians will be working on a remote job at a residence or commercial location. When problems arise, a successful HVAC/R technician can identify the problem and identify the correct solution without the help of an instructor or team member. Problem solving is an important skill for any HVAC/R technician because they will be faced with a customer that needs heat or cold air. Other skills that complement problem solving include good communication and great customer service.
Skill #3: Good Communication
Much of what an HVAC/R job will involve is communication with clients, dispatch and vendors. A keen ability to communicate is important to put the client at ease and fully communicate needs with dispatch and vendors. Part of good communication is active listening. Without listening, an HVAC/R technician will not be able to properly communicate.
Skill #4: Great Customer Service
An HVAC/R technician will work with many different clients, each with different communication styles. Great customer service involves the ability for the HVAC/R technician to satisfy the requests of a client in a way that provides them with confidence in the finished product.
Becoming an HVAC/R technician is an increasingly popular career choice. Although many college graduates become HVAC/R technicians, there are many different jobs available for those with the knowledge and skills gained from an HVAC/R program. Get a job in green energy, HVAC/R sales or one of the many different related positions for those with HVAC/R skills. If stability is important, joining the HVAC/R industry may be the right career path for you.
Want to Learn More?
The HVAC/R with PLC Diploma Program offers Florida Technical College students the technical and practical knowledge and skills to perform heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning maintenance, installations, and repairs. Students will also learn basic skills related to the programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Graduates from this program will be able to fill positions at construction firms, as well as residential and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning companies.*
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!
* These examples are intended to serve only as a general guide of possible employment opportunities. There are many factors that determine the job an individual may obtain and Florida Technical College cannot guarantee its graduate any particular job. Some positions may require license or other certifications. We encourage you to research the requirements for the particular position you desire.