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HVAC Technician & Installer

Career Overview

Heating, refrigeration and air conditioning systems consist of a wide assortment of components that are usually categorized with other professions. An HVAC technician or installer needs to be able to work with sheet metal, in order to install ducts. Air conditioning and refrigeration systems require some plumbing skills. Installing thermostats and system controls is usually an electrical job.

Partially due to the multitude of skills involved, many HVAC technicians specialize. Some focus on commercial refrigeration, others are HVAC duct specialists - often working around existing walls and ceiling surfaces. Some choose to pursue careers in maintenance, leaving the installation work to others.

Education

Most employers want an HVAC technician or installer that has completed a training course in the field and preferably has had some on the job training as an apprentice or junior employee elsewhere.  Schools offer training programs of three months to two years. Because of the many skills required, substantial training preparation is important for the job applicant. Most states require licensure that includes an examination and often requires time spent as an apprentice.

Current Employment

There were 292,000 HVAC professionals employed in the U.S. in 2006, according to the Department of Labor. Fifty five percent worked for local contractors; many of the rest worked for a variety of industries that rely on heat control systems in their work.

Job Outlook

Jobs in the HVAC sector are expected to grow about as fast as the overall growth rate for jobs in all categories, over the next several years. However the fast-growing interest in energy efficiency may provide additional impetus in this area, along with the growing complexity of HVAC systems in general.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $11.65  $24,240
Median Salary  $18.44  $38,360
Highest 10%  $29.51  $61,390

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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