A career in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration—better known as HVAC—has a lot to offer. If you like to work with your hands and want a job that doesn’t keep you stuck in a factory or at a desk all day, HVAC might be the right fit for you. But before you pursue an HVAC career, weigh both the pros and the cons to see if a day in the life of an HVAC tech is a life you would like.
The Pros of an HVAC Career
As an HVAC technician, you are responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. It’s an important job that offers some great benefits:
HVAC is Important Work
A summer without air conditioning is unbearable and a winter without heat is dangerous. When either of these systems breaks down, homeowners are looking for an HVAC hero. With your knowledge, experience, and problem-solving skills, you can save people from discomfort and even disaster. Don’t believe it? More than 5 million people die each year because of excessively hot or cold weather. And air conditioning has cut premature deaths from intense heat by 80% since the 1960s. When you help people stay cool in the summer, or warm in the winter, you perform valuable work that is appreciated by your customers.
You Can Work in Different Settings
Whether you work in installation or maintenance, residential or commercial HVAC, you can find a variety of work environments to suit your interests and expertise. If you work as a residential HVAC technician, you might travel to several different homes in one day. If you work as a commercial HVAC technician, you might work at hospitals, offices, factories, schools, or stores. In either setting, you will also work both indoors and outside.
Your Skills Are in Demand
Some industries turn to automation or outsourcing to cut costs. But an HVAC job can’t be outsourced or automated to remove humans from the equation. And with the construction industry expected to grow steadily over the next few years, HVAC techs like you will be needed to assist with the completion of homes and buildings. Some states have particularly high demand for HVAC Technicians. California is the #1 employer of HVAC techs in the country.
The Cons of an HVAC Career
HVAC isn’t for everyone, so be sure to consider both sides of your decision.
HVAC Techs are Often On-Call
As an HVAC technician, you may not have a typical 9-to-5 schedule. Depending on the job, the weather, and the emergency, you might be called into work early in the morning or late in the evening. You may be on-call for occasional weekends or holidays. Your schedule can shift from day to day, but the silver lining is that you may be eligible for overtime if you put in more than 40 hours a week, increasing your annual salary. Many HVAC Techs like the busy season exactly because it gives them the opportunity to earn overtime pay.
HVAC is a Physical Job
You’ll need to be in good shape to work in HVAC. While you don’t need to run Iron Mans, you will lift heavy equipment and tools, move around a lot, and stand on your feet for long periods of time. You may have to climb ladders or crawl into tight spaces. You also work with chemicals, wires, and tools that require you to wear the proper attire and to follow safety protocols, so you don’t injure yourself or someone else.
You Won’t Become an HVAC Expert Over Night
After you train, earn your license or certification, and maybe even complete an apprenticeship, there’s still more to know. Especially as new technologies develop, there’s a lot to learn about the HVAC trade. But if you’re a lifelong learner who wants to work with your hands and your brain, always learning something new might not be a negative at all!
Are you ready to learn about HVAC? Contact Charter College today. We offer a Certificate in HVAC/R that can prepare you for an entry-level job in the field. Classes are enrolling now. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.