Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Careers


Air-conditioning and Heating systems control the humidity, temperature and the total air quality in commercial, residential, industrial and other buildings. Refrigeration systems enable people to store and transport medicine, food and other perishable items. Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration installers and mechanics or technicians—install, repair and maintain these systems. Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems are often are referred to as HVACR systems. Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration consists of numerous electrical, mechanical and electronic components, such as compressors, motors, pumps, fans, pipes, ducts, thermostats and switches.

Types, Description, Information

HVACR systems technicians usually specialize in maintenance, installation or repair, though they are trained to do all. They also work in retail establishments, homes, hospitals, factories and office buildings. They may be assigned specific job sites daily or may be dispatched to diverse locations if they make service calls.

How to have a HVACR Career

Throughout the learning process, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians take a number of tests to measure their skills. HVACR technicians with at least 1 year experience in installations and 2 years of experience in maintenance and repair can take a number of t tests to certify their competency. These tests are available through the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, Carbon Monoxide Safety Association, HVAC Excellence, North American Technician Excellence, Inc. and Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Safety Coalition. Employers progressively recommend taking and passing these tests to obtaining certification in order increase advancement opportunities.

Qualifications: Courses, Training, Certification

Due to the growing sophistication of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems, employers tend to hire individuals who have completed a formal apprenticeship or technical school training. However, some installers and mechanics still learn the profession informally on the job.

Schools, Colleges, Universities

Many secondary and postsecondary trade and technical schools, community and junior colleges and the U.S. Armed Forces offer training programs in heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration that last from 6 months to 2 years. Many technicians train through apprenticeships run jointly by committees representing various unions and organizations.

Formal apprenticeship programs usually last 3 to 5 years. These training combine classroom instruction with paid on-the-job training

Some of the top colleges that offer courses in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration are:

  1. Notre Dame College of Ohio – South Euclid, OH
  2. Keck Graduate Institute – Claremont, CA
  3. Finger Lakes Community College – Canandaigua, NY
  4. Indiana State University – Terre Haute, IN
  5. York Technical College – Rock Hill, SC

Job opportunities and wages

Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration installers and mechanics hold about 292,000 this year; 55 percent of them worked for heating, plumbing and air-conditioning contractors while the rest were employed in various industries all over the country. 13 percent of these workers were self-employed. Average hourly wage- of heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration installers and mechanics were $18.11 in 2008. Apprentices often start at about 50 percent of the experienced worker’s wage rate but as they gain experience and their skills improve, they will get periodic wage increases till they attain the rate of experienced workers.

Category: Construction Careers

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  1. Construction Careers, Careers in Construction | Career Guidance | October 14, 2009

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