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Is HVAC A Good Career Choice?

If you are thinking about a career as a HVAC technician, you might be wondering if HVAC is a good career, and if HVAC is hard to learn.

Sometimes known as a HVAC tech, HVAC contractor, or HVAC mechanic, many people consider joining the HVAC field after leaving high school, or maybe taking on an HVAC apprenticeship.

Before you get started in a HVAC career, you need to understand what training and experience is needed. There are some important industry factors to consider before getting started as a HVAC tech.

You might also need to understand the math requirements for HVAC, and some of the basic tasks a HVACR technician does every day in their job. It's also important to know that at times being a HVAC tech can be hard, and there is a lot to learn.

In this article we will look at some of the most common questions people have when considering a career as a HVAC tech, including:

Is HVAC a Hard Career to Learn?
Is HVAC a Good Trade?
Is HVAC a Stressful Job?

Learn from Lamont a HVAC Technician in Virginia, who became a Service Tech a little later in life and created a great career.

Is HVAC a Good Trade?

The HVAC industry is growing each year, and a skilled HVAC technician can expect to earn larger salaries than in other trades.

HVAC technician salaries can start from $49,500 on average, and over $100,000 per year with the right skills.

According to current HVAC industry labor statistics, there are over 650,000 people employed as HVAC workers, HVAC installers, HVAC technicians, and HVAC managers in the United States. The HVAC demand for workers continues to grow at a rate of 5% per year over the next five years.

Is HVAC a Respectable Trade?

HVAC technicians are well respected both for their technical skills, and their ability to help people solve problems.

Many HVAC techs earn over $100,000 per year as a results of learning to become a selling technician and helping customers to buy air purification systems, duct cleanings, and HVAC maintenance as well as repairing systems.

Many HVAC techs go straight from high school into the trade, and can earn a good salary and have excellent job security helping people to stay comfortable and safe.

Is HVAC One of the Hardest Jobs?

Depending on how you look at it, HVAC can be seen as a difficult job, or it can be seen as a great challenge.

Repairing AC and heating equipment is one of the skilled trades that requires a lot of technical knowledge and hands-on skills.

HVAC technicians must be able to troubleshoot problems, and work with a variety of tools and equipment. They must also be able to work in tight, confined spaces and in very hot, humid, or cold environments.

There are always advances in HVAC technology, and finding the right HVAC company to work for is essential to have a fulfilling career path. HVAC workers are in high demand, and good career choice if you are seeking job security.

What are the Cons of HVAC career?

However, it is a reality that HVAC can be a hard at times, and working on air conditioners especially during peak demand season can be tough

Some of the cons of being an HVAC technician can include:

  • HVAC workers have to work in people's homes, including attics, backyards, crawl spaces, and other hot, humid locations.

  • HVAC technicians often have to lift heavy objects and work in awkward positions.

  • HVAC techs have to troubleshoot complex problems with electrical technology, and make quick decisions.

  • HVAC requires working with electricity and refrigerants, which can be hazardous if not handled properly.

  • HVAC technicians may have to work nights, weekends, and holidays, especially during peak season from May through to September

  • Even experienced HVAC technicians still have to run maintenance calls, work on older systems, and deal with angry or disgruntled customers at time.

  • All HVAC techs must learn to sell if they want to gain larger salaries. While this is trainable, it is often not what most people think about when they first become a technician.

If you are thinking about a career in HVAC, try talking to an experienced HVAC contractor to get an honest understanding of the trade, and what it's like on a day-to-day basis.

Do You Need Math Skills for HVAC?

HVAC technicians do need to understand basic math, such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

Usually, the job of being a HVAC technician does not require you to do advanced equations that are used in engineering. HVAC training includes some hands-on training, as well as riding along with a qualified HVAC technician.

Some of the math used in HVAC can include:

  • Basic arithmetic: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division

  • Algebra: solving equations and inequalities

  • Geometry: calculating areas, volumes, and angles

  • Trigonometry: calculating angles and side lengths of triangles

The amount of math used in day-to-day work as an HVAC technician depends on each individual job.

However, even if you do not use math every day as an HVAC technician, it can help you to understand the principles of HVAC systems and to troubleshoot problems.

Some examples of how math is used in HVAC can be:

  • Troubleshooting HVAC problems

  • Calculating the BTU requirements of a space

  • Calculating the airflow rate of a duct system

  • Calculating the pressure drop across an air filter

  • Sizing out an HVAC system

On top of this, HVAC technicians can use data into formulas such as Ohm's law, which calculate the relationship between voltage, current and resistance in an electrical circuit.

HVAC techs use these kinds of formulas to help them troubleshoot Air Conditioning electrical issues.

Remember that the biggest difficulty factor of learning HVAC will depend on your prior experience and education.

If you have a natural ability for science or engineering, you might find it easier to learn the technical concepts of HVAC.

But don’t worry if you don’t have prior experience or an interest in science or math. You can still learn the basics and get hands-on experience as a HVAC apprentice or assistant.

How Long Does It Take To Become a HVAC Tech?

The good news is that you can learn the basics of HVAC in a few months. Most apprenticeships and trade school programs take 1-2 years to complete.

The amount of time it takes to learn HVAC will vary depending on your individual learning style and the program you choose.

If you are considering a career in HVAC, it’s a good idea to talk to HVAC technicians to get a better understanding of the trade. They can help you understand what is involved on a day to day basis and what to expect when learning to become a HVAC tech.

Once you have learned the basics of the HVAC trade, you can start gaining hands-on experience by working as an apprentice or by volunteering your services to friends and family.

There are HVAC trade resources that can help you learn HVAC on your own:

  • Online courses: There are many online HVAC courses available that can teach you the basics of HVAC. Some of these courses are free, while others require a fee.

  • Trade schools: Trade schools offer hands-on HVAC skills training. Most of these programs typically take 1-2 years to complete.

  • HVAC Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships are a great way to learn HVAC while getting paid. A HVAC apprenticeship program typically takes 3-4 years to complete.

  • HVAC Books and training manuals: There are many HVAC books and manuals available in libraries and bookstores.

  • Trade magazines: Trade magazines such as the ACHR News are a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest HVAC technologies.

  • Online forums and communities: There are many online forums and communities where you can ask questions and get help from other HVAC technicians.

  • HVAC podcasts and Youtube channels. There are many free training videos and useful HVAC podcasts online to learn from experienced HVAC techs.

How To Get Started as a HVAC Tech

If you are serious about a career as a HVAC technician, or taking on a HVAC apprenticeship take the time to learn the basics and get some in-field experience.

Most experienced HVAC techs agree that working in HVAC is a rewarding career that offers good job security and a high salary. But it takes time to learn and get experience.

To get the most out of your HVAC career, and learning to become a HVAC tech, here are some ways to accelerate your progress:

  • Find a mentor or a trade school that can help you learn the basics

  • Get hands-on experience as soon as possible

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest HVAC technologies

  • Listen to HVAC podcasts to learn more about communication skills

Ultimately, whether or not HVAC is a hard job depends on your individual skills and abilities. If you are a hard worker and are not afraid of a challenge, then HVAC may be a good fit for you.

Are You Ready to Kickstart Your HVAC Career?