Exploring a career as an HVAC technician
You’ve passed the classes. You’ve muscled through the hands-on, labor-intensive projects. And now you’ve even nailed the job. Every bit of knowledge you’ve gained since starting the program is itching to jump out of your brain and into some real-world work. But what should you expect when you enter the life of an HVAC technician?
Like any job, you’ll spend a majority of the time practicing your specific craft – this will include installing, operating, troubleshooting, and servicing domestic and commercial systems. System types vary from building to building, and you’ll likely work mostly in residential homes, schools, office buildings, factories and hospitals. Remember to prepare for the elements. There’s a good chance that it may be very hot or cold in your work environment, and that’s exactly why you’ll be there – to fix it.
As an HVAC technician, you’ll manage all aspects of heating, cooling and refrigeration systems – basically, you’ll be in charge of controlling the temperature, humidity, and air quality of your clients’ respective buildings, while making sure refrigeration systems are climate-controlled and safe for storing perishable items. While you’ll be trained to work with all three, you may choose to specialize in one area of HVAC and focus your attention there.
While functionality is still the most important factor in HVAC systems, as we move through the next few years, developing and maintaining energy-efficient systems will become increasingly more important. While change within the industry is slow to unfold, it leads to necessary improvements. According to Navigant, a global research firm, HVAC accounts for more than one-third of the energy cost in commercial buildings, so these systems hold great potential for energy savings. As these changes occur, HVAC training programs, such as MIAT’s, adapt their coursework to fit the current trends.
Of course, regardless of your specific tasks, you’ll be compensated for the hard work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of an HVAC technician is $42,530 per year, or $20.45 per hour. These amounts may vary considerably, depending on the setting in which you work. Different areas of the country may pay more than others, while repair shops, equipment wholesalers and equipment contractors have their own standards, as well.
The good news – employment of HVAC technicians is expected to grow 34% between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than most U.S. occupations. As more advanced, energy-efficient systems become commonplace, demand for the profession will continue to skyrocket.
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