Qualified HVAC technicians are some of the most highly sought after workers in today’s job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the job outlook is expected to grow at a faster than average pace, 21% between 2012-2022 with median salaries around $43,640 annually. As a result more programs are opening up in accredited vocational schools and colleges, designed to prepare interested candidates for work as certified HVAC technicians.
As with any profession, HVAC certification can lead to a number of different job opportunities. Some jobs may require additional certifications to work with hazardous materials. The following five careers are options for qualified technicians, ranging from entry level positions to higher paying contracting positions.
These certified technicians have passed the EPA Section 608 exam allowing them to work with refrigerants found in cooling systems. Usually an HVACR technician will work for a company or under the supervision of a contractor. They are generally responsible for installation, repairs and maintenance of equipment.
HVAC technicians who have field experience are in a good position to move up the line to becoming project managers. Project managers require licenses in most states as contractors. They must demonstrate strong interpersonal communication skills as they manage clients and supervise technicians on the job.
The best equipment is made by the people who understand how it operates. HVAC technicians often branch out into manufacturing, becoming developers of cutting edge HVAC products. Technological advances are constantly changing the way that ventilation systems work. Design technologists in the HVAC field help to manufacture the most cost effective and powerful products for heating, cooling and air purification needs. Some jobs in this particular HVAC niche may required additional schooling.
Certified Energy Auditor
A certified energy auditor is someone who must have knowledge about building systems and how they impact energy use. This includes HVAC, boiler, water and lighting systems. HVAC technicians are eligible to pursue CEA certification if they have been working for five years and have a two year technical degree or if they have ten years experience working in an energy management related field. There is some study involved to cover areas that are non-HVAC related, but a good portion of the knowledge necessary to be a CEA comes from the HVAC field.
Green Technology Specialist
With the emphasis on providing clean technology that does not harm the environment, HVACR technicians are in line to work in green technology programs as specialists with air purification systems. Technicians must regularly attend continuing education programs to remain knowledgeable about the latest green technologies, including: use of alternative, non-ozone depleting substances for refrigerants and proper handling techniques for toxic chemicals. In addition to working in residential or business settings, green technology specialists may also work in the manufacturing setting to improve the green footprint for HVAC systems.
The best part about an HVAC career is that education for certification can be accomplished at accredited schools in a relatively short period of time, usually between six months to two years. From entry level positions the opportunities are endless for a candidate who wishes to advance. While some positions may require additional education, others require only hard work in the field. Combined with the job growth in the HVAC industry, HVAC careers are definitely worth exploring.