Opportunity Knocks: Part 1: How to Start a Career in HVAC
June 2, 2021
We know the essential role HVAC plays in the overall comfort, safety and air quality of homes, buildings, public transportation, airplanes, hospitals, and industrial spaces across the world. But those outside our industry may not realize the true importance of the trade until there’s a problem—an AC unit well past its prime on a sweltering day, or an underperforming furnace during a bitter cold snap. Having the technical skill sets, 24/7 customer service, and a commitment to maintaining the air quality and comfort level that so many people rely on and expect is no small job. We may be a little biased, but when it comes to careers that come close to magical powers, the HVAC technician might be the unsung hero of the modern world—and the need for them is growing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job opportunities for skilled experts in the HVAC field is up four percent in the past year and will continue to grow as air control systems become more complex, new structures need building, and environmental changes continue to impact our daily lives.
For new grads, young professionals, or those interested in changing careers, a role in the HVAC industry spells job security, unlimited growth, and continuous personal and professional development.
Read on in our two-part blog series to learn more about the booming prospects for a HVAC technician and how to get started as a technician (Part 1) as well as the expansive opportunities within the HVAC industry, including distribution, engineering, supply chain management, and business ownership (Part 2).
How To Get Started in HVAC
Sue Perez of the Rees Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to assist with the education, recruitment, and competency of future HVAC and water heating technicians, says proper education and training are integral to building a successful career.
“We know formal education can look different within our industry, but there are so many ways for students to gain their education in the HVAC industry,” says Sue. “A four-year college isn’t for everyone and we want to convey the message that you can start a great career, get some experience, and see if you are interested in the field as early as high school, in some cases.”
Sue notes that an interested HVAC technician candidate can find accredited, reliable training through an apprenticeship program, community college courses, career and technical school, and trade schools. If they are working for a Rheem or Ruud contractor with access to the robust training and learning opportunities available through
The Rees Scholarship Foundation helps candidates learn more about the different opportunities and career paths available to a HVAC professional. Through scholarship opportunities, the organization lessens the financial burden for potential HVAC students, allowing them to focus on honing the technical expertise and soft skills it takes to be a successful technician. Interested students can learn more about the scholarships available and the requirements and process online at the Rees Scholarship Foundation website.
On The Job
Being resourceful, knowledgeable, and flexible are key elements in an HVAC technician’s work day. The environment of some jobs will be very cold or very hot, depending on what system needs repair. On any given day, a tech might find him or herself in a hospital, school, factory, or high-rise building, and in tight, cramped spaces, with a mix of equipment from different time periods and various maintenance codes and expectations. One thing is for sure: there’s nothing routine about this business.
“Everybody has different learning abilities, so we don’t put pressure on any one path over another,” says Sue. “We want to be sure you have the skills you need for your job, but how you get there is up to you, whatever works for your personal goals.”
One Industry, Many Careers
The HVAC industry goes beyond on-site technicians and installers. Long, rewarding, interesting careers can be made through any number of other HVAC-inspired paths – contractors, business ownership, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and supply chain management – just to name a few. Stay tuned for the next installment of this series as we explore these opportunities and share insights from those living, working and succeeding in their HVAC career in distribution, business ownership, sales, engineering, supply chain management and more.