What You Should Know About Getting Started in an HVAC Career
What Does HVAC Involve?
HVAC(R), as it's commonly known today, stands for Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration. If you take a second to think about this, that covers a lot of ground. At first, furnaces, air conditioners, boilers, heat pumps and things of that nature spring to mind. However, beyond that, many HVAC technicians spend their days servicing and installing walk-in coolers, hazardous gas and material ventilators, massive cooling towers, humidification (or de-) units, air filtration systems...and the list goes on. With today's rising energy costs, many companies are getting more involved in wood burning, geothermal, and solar type systems as well. There are nearly countless specialized areas one could consider when entering into HVAC(R) but knowing the type of systems out there isn't the end.
A seasoned HVAC technician/installer is truly a "jack of all trades" and will have a good understanding of other areas such as electrical, plumbing, and framing as well. They will know how to use literally hundreds of tools ranging from your everyday screwdriver to a refrigeration recovery unit and everything in between. Mathematics, reading blueprints, schematics and charts are all a part of the daily routine and learning building codes, OSHA regulations and how to use safety equipment will certainly extend your lifespan as an HVAC professional. (It might extend the lifespan of those around you too and they'll appreciate that.)
What Income Can You Expect From an HVAC Career?
First take into consideration the knowledge that we just discussed. This may not come with a dollar amount attached to it but it is yours to keep and it is quite valuable. Whether it be used to enter into another trade or to continue your education beyond working in the field, HVAC can offer a wide variety of career choices later down the road. Not to mention the money you'll save not having to pay a service company for just about anything that you may need to fix for yourself.
The income from an HVAC career isn't anything to sneeze at. Starting out, you're likely to see about $26,000/yr. but after a few years experience, good HVAC professionals will earn about $47,000/yr. with specialists ranging around $60 - $70,000/yr. based on their field and experience. This is based on the national average income for HVAC. I've known techs to make a lot more than $47,000 a year when they knew what they were doing and go on to jobs making 6 figures when earning an HVAC related degree or starting their own HVAC company.
Along with your income, a typical HVAC job will come with fairly standard benefits like insurance, holidays, and vacation but there are often some perks too. Many companies I know provide their techs with company vehicles, cell phones, laptops, tool allowance, uniforms, and sometimes commission opportunities.
What's It Like Working in HVAC?
HVAC is a great career for those who don't like to be in the same place day after day. Nearly everyday brings a new place to work and a new issue to deal with. There is little monotiny in HVAC. It Ductless Air Conditioners can also provide a sense of accomplishment and success on a daily basis. Whether it's seeing a system built from scratch or the appreciation received from a satisfied customer, there is usually something to be proud of every day. There is a certain amount of hardwork and danger involved but this is true of any trade. With the proper tools and following of safety regulations, you can enjoy a long, stable, and rewarding career in HVAC.
Is HVAC the Career for You?
Hopefully this Hub has provided you a good look into what a career in HVAC(R) is and can provide. After 15 years of installing and repairing furnaces and air conditioners, I am very happy for the experience and knowledge I've gained. With hands on experience and a bit of HVAC schooling, I went from a warehouse clerk to a small time business owner making a modest living. This is not to mention the skills I've gained being put to my own uses and I can't complain about that. Best of luck in your career search.