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Working in HVAC: Becoming an HVAC Installer

If you’re looking for a career where you can work with your hands, solve problems, and have long-term employment, becoming an HVAC installer might be for you. In this video we’ll go over how to get started, the skills needed to succeed, and the benefits and downsides of becoming an installer in the HVAC industry.

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February 11th, 2022

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the HVAC industry is estimated to grow by 5% over the next decade and the median wage is $24 per hour. If you’re looking to start a career as an HVAC installer, then this video is for you.

Hi, I’m Josh with Fire & Ice. If you’re looking for a career where you can work with your hands, solve problems, and have long-term employment, becoming an HVAC installer might be for you. Whether it’s a new construction or replacing an existing system, there will always be a need for new HVAC systems. And in this video we’ll go over how to get started, the skills needed to succeed, and the benefits and downsides of becoming an HVAC installer.

How to get started in HVAC?

Getting started in HVAC is generally done by enrolling in an HVAC trade school or other postsecondary non-degree program. These programs take between 10 months to 2 years to complete. Now, going through school will give you an idea of the profession, and supply you with a solid head start on the basics. It also shows future employers that you are committed to the trade.

There are dozens of schools across the United States that specialize in HVAC education. At Fire & Ice we partner with two programs: Columbus State Community College and Fortis College.

At Fortis, students learn how to service and repair commercial refrigeration, gas heat, heat pumps, and air conditioning. Columbus State offers a two-year associate of applied science degree in HVAC technology. They provide instruction in the principles of refrigeration, load calculations, hand tools and safety, the instrumentation and combustion process, and much more.

What skills do I need to be an HVAC installer?

Now you might be asking, what skills should I have to become a successful installer? Having a general curiosity of how things work and how to put things together are important skills to have. A good installer should also be good at critical thinking and be analytical. When it comes to installation nothing is cut and dry. Every install is different. Being able to visualize how the finished project is going to look 20 steps later is important. Other important skills to have include: knowledge and ability to use tools safely, ability to retain and apply training, understanding and comprehension of manuals or wiring schematics, cleanliness, punctuality, and dependability are very important.

Benefits of a career in HVAC

The HVAC industry is always in demand for experienced installers. Whether you specialize in commercial, residential, or industrial; it’s highly likely you will never be without a job. The HVAC industry has been said to be recession proof. Another benefit is that the skills you learn as an installer can be applied to a number of mechanical trades. As an installer you’ll likely get experience in roofing, electrical, mechanics, masonry, carpentry, plumbing, and more. Many of these skills are in high demand all across the country allowing you to have a choice of where you want to work. 

Another benefit is that each day will be different. Each day will have its own set of challenges and solutions. You’ll get to work someplace new and meet people every day. Working in HVAC is not like working on an assembly line or in an office doing the same thing day-in, day out. Bottom line is as your knowledge and skills grow your earning potential will follow. Knowledge is key.

Downsides to a Career in HVAC

At Fire & Ice we are all about transparency and working as a residential HVAC installer is hard work. It’s a physically demanding, working outside and you may even have to crawl through tight spaces like an attic or a crawl space. Now, on any given day an installer could be lifting an air conditioner, removing old furnace or equipment, or working outside in frigid temperatures.

Working as an installer means you may pick up a few scars along the way. On-the job injuries can happen since you’ll likely be working with sharp objects, be around heavy equipment, be exposed to extreme heat and cold, and may be around potentially hazardous materials such as carbon monoxide.

As a technician you can’t be afraid to get dirty. And you’ll likely want to have thick skin and be willing to work long hours to get the job done right. When you’re working directly with customers, there will be days you will get yelled at. But being able to maintain composure is important. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for installers to work overtime throughout the peak seasons.

How to stay up to date in the HVAC industry?

According to Moore’s Law, technology doubles every 18 to 24 months. The same holds true for the HVAC industry. Equipment gets more sophisticated every year. As technology changes, your skills and knowledge will have to adapt. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends. Some manufacturers offer ongoing coursework, and there are a few training centers where you can hone your skills. Additionally, obtaining certifications offered by organizations such as the North American Technician Excellence or NATE are great ways of staying current in HVAC.

What are the next steps?

Let’s talk about what to do next. Whether you’re an experienced HVAC installer, or someone just starting out and exploring your options, we hope you found this video helpful. If you are in Columbus or Central Ohio and want to align yourself with the best in the industry, develop transferrable skills, and start a career that will set you and your family up for future success, consider joining Fire & Ice Heating and Air Conditioning today. Thank you for watching and we look forward to making your day better.


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