Here are some things that you should know about preparing for a role in the field of HVAC service, what your work will be like, and potential career opportunities.
Don’t Spend a Long Time in School
While being an HVAC tech requires a specialized skill set, you don’t need to spend several years in school before you get to start working in the field. In general, a good HVAC training course lasts between six months and two years, depending on the course program that you choose.
After completing a program, you’ll need to undergo an apprenticeship and pass a written exam to get accredited. It may be helpful to take a course that focuses solely on exam preparation.
Earn a Good Hourly Wage
While the average hourly wage and annual salary for an HVAC technician varies by state, it’s comparably higher to other service fields that don’t require a college degree. You can earn a potentially higher salary than a state’s average by taking on a supervisory role or going into business for yourself.
Work in an In-Demand Field
Being an HVAC technician is a desirable job role because it’s a skill that you can take anywhere in the country. Your services will always be in demand, particularly in warmer seasons and warm weather regions.
Apply Your Mechanical Abilities
If you like seeing how things work and you’re good at fixing things when they’re having mechanical problems, then working on HVAC systems may be a natural fit. You’ll need to learn about the inner-workings on complex systems, but the most fundamental parts are universal.
Once you learn standard systems, you can work on a system made by virtually any manufacturers. Split systems and ductless ACs are slightly less common, but learning how these systems work will equip you with a specialized skill in your field.
Hone Your Customer Service Skills
Some mechanically-inclined people prefer to work behind the scenes and not interact with customers one-on-one. However, being an HVAC technician typically requires some good customer service skills.
You need to be patient with people when you’re explaining problems and repair needs to them, and they may be a little stressed out about a system outage or a repair cost. If you have a knack for explaining concepts to people that may be difficult to grasp, then explaining HVAC repairs will probably come naturally to you.
Be Prepared to Perform Regular Maintenance
Not all AC repairs involve total system failures and intricate problem solving. In fact, much of your work is going to involve routine maintenance that is necessary to keep systems running efficiently. For example, cleaning evaporator coils is a particularly common HVAC maintenance need.
Typically, this should be done every year, but many owners let it go for much longer. It requires removing the unit from inside of a house and taking it outside to clean with powerful chemicals.
You’ll need to wear protective equipment when you’re cleaning parts with chemicals. In addition, you may also need to wear protective equipment when you’re working with freon, a coolant that powers many residential HVAC systems. Some forms of this chemical are being phased out for environmental reasons, but it’s still found in many homeowner’s systems.
Spend Some Time Cleaning and Repairing Ducts
Some of your work may entail troubleshooting individual vents that aren’t working. Vent connections can become loose over time, and sometimes animals that enter an attic or crawlspace may even create holes in them.
You’ll need to be okay with working on a ladder and also going into crawl spaces. In addition, ducts need to be cleaned periodically. This entails using a vacuum with a long flexible hose to clean deep inside of vents.
Go Into Business For Yourself
After you’ve gained a strong understanding of working on HVAC systems, you might consider going into business for yourself. You can be your own boss, make your own hours, and manage a workforce.
Working as an HVAC technician enables you to work independently, go new places frequently, and resolve complex mechanical problems. You can continuously learn to take on new challenges and pursue opportunities to advance in your field.
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Image credit: HVAC technician by envato.com
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