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When building new houses, one of the most essential things to take into consideration is keeping a comfortable temperature.
It is applicable not only for the residential structures but also for commercial and industrial buildings.
When the construction of a new building begins, climate control is one of the biggest projects in the process.
When it comes to the safety and comfort of the building, large teams are involved in the project.
An HVAC installer is one of the key specialists in such a team.
In the construction projects, HVAC installers usually work together with HVAC engineers.
HVAC installers draft and develop the vent systems for the structures following the specifications of the project.
HVAC installers have to consider various aspects of such projects.
They include costs, efficiency, durability, etc.
Even though the construction industry is changeable, the demand for HVAC installers and overall prospects for the profession look good.
Read on to find out more about HVAC installer responsibilities and career path.
Responsibilities of HVAC Installers
An HVAC installer deals with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
They install these systems in residential and commercial buildings.
These systems are designed to keep the premises cool in the summer and warm in the winter months.
HVAC installers can also carry out the duties of HVAC techs.
That means they can repair, troubleshoot, and maintain these systems.
Self-motivated people who are deeply interested in the construction and HVAC industry, in general, can make a successful career in the area.
Installation can be a foundation for the career of an HVAC technician.
They provide servicing, repair, maintenance of these systems.
Now, alternative energy technologies are developing rapidly.
So HVAC installers will have to be able to carry out more complex jobs.
The HVAC installer careers have high-potential.
Based on data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 332,900 jobs were available for HVAC installer and mechanics.
This is the evaluation for 2017.
The demand for this profession is predicted to increase by 15% from 2016 to 2026.
This is higher than all the other professions in the country, which is 7%.
On that basis, 48,800 more job openings are expected to appear for HVAC mechanics and installers.
Even though the BLS combines the data for the two professions, both are expected to have similar potential.
Noteworthy, new HVAC systems are advancing and widely use computer technologies.
So the HVAC installers with extensive knowledge in computer technology will be more sought-after.
Ability to adapt to new technologies is also important.
HVAC installers who are focused specifically on installation but not repair are usually involved in construction projects.
Because of it, the job is more stable since no emergency calls are involved.
However, the job will depend on the economy in this instance.
The construction projects can slow down or terminate indefinitely.
So the demand for HVAC installers can decrease.
The demand for repair and maintenance of the HVAC systems, on the other hand, remains more stable.
Requirements for the Job
Installation of HVAC systems requires good technical skills.
Therefore, the experts will need specialized training.
Usually, HVAC installers choose post-secondary education or apprenticeship programs.
HVAC installer programs are available in various technical or community colleges.
This education can be extremely useful to get the first job in the field.
High school diploma or GED is needed to enroll in this type of program.
Starting the training in advance while still in high school can be beneficial as well.
Math, physics, and shop classes are necessary.
These programs can take from half a year to two years.
Upon finishing the programs, one can obtain either an associate’s degree or an HVAC certification.
The students that don’t wish to take post-secondary education can enroll in apprenticeship programs.
HVAC installer apprenticeship used to be a standard in the industry.
Now they are not that easy to find, because the majority of new installers choose education.
To become an HVAC installer apprentice, the applicant should be 18 years old.
A high school diploma or similar document is necessary.
The applicant should pass a fundamental math test and have a driving license.
Substance abuse screening will also be involved.
HVAC installer apprenticeship takes 3-5 years.
It includes 2,000 hours of practical training and 144 hours of vocational training.
HVAC Installer Salary Information
The HVAC installer wages are different in every state.
The training and experience of the installer can also influence the salary.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly rate of HVAC installer is $23.81.
Annually, it comes up to $49,530.
Experienced HVAC installers can make as much as $75,000 annually.
The lowest payment can be at the level of $29,000 per year.
As with other professions, the location can also influence the level of income.
The higher salaries are offered in the states with hot temperatures and developed construction areas.
The cost of living can also play a role in the determination of the salary.
Thus, HVAC installers can make $64,040 in Alaska, while in West Virginia the wages are $40,520.
This is due to the lower cost of living.
This data is pulled from the BLS report of 2017.
More experienced HVAC installers can earn higher wages and be eligible to take supervising positions.
They can also run their businesses and receive a higher percentage of the projects.
A trainee HVAC installer makes less than the experienced professionals.
But building up the experience is necessary and will pay off over time.
How to Become an HVAC Installer
There are various options available to become an HVAC installer.
One of the most common paths is listed below:
- High school diploma or equivalent (4 years).
Even though there is no mandatory training for HVAC installers, 80% of experts have a high school diploma or GED as a minimum.
The emphasis should be put on math courses and technical HVAC training.
- Post-secondary education (2 years) – option #1.
Upon graduation from high school, many aspiring HVAC installers take post-secondary education programs.
Normally, they provide training for HVAC technicians, including installation skills.
Most of the HVAC courses last for two years and end in an associate’s degree.
However, some schools also offer bachelor’s degrees.
- Apprenticeship programs (2-5 years) – option #2.
Apprenticeship programs in the HVAC area are suitable for the HVAC installers who are ready to dedicate more years to practical experience.
Those who want to join a union can also apply.
During the program, apprentices receive the salary equivalent to the percentage of the qualified technician salary.
- EPA Section 608 certification.
EPA section 608 certification is obligatory for everyone who wants to work in the HVAC field.
Often this training and certification is a part of the program.
It is crucial for an HVAC installer to obtain it before starting the practice.
- State or local license.
Some states or regions may require an HVAC installer to obtain a local license before starting in the field.
- Get additional certifications.
Additional certification can help HVAC installers get better work opportunities.
This type of certification isn’t required but can surely be an advantage.
Organizations such as HVAC Excellence provide advanced certifications.
Certificates and License
License requirements for HVAC installers are different in every state.
In some states, one must obtain a license before they can perform any tasks in the HVAC area.
To be eligible to receive a license, HVAC installer must have work experience for at least four years.
They can work without a license under the supervision of a licensed professional or in a fully licensed project.
Before starting the work as an HVAC installer, everyone should get properly acquainted with the licensure laws in the state.
Even if a state doesn’t require a license, taking additional examinations can be helpful.
Thus, HVAC installers can prove their skills and work aptitude.
Some examinations are aimed at specialized skills, for instance, the ability to work with oil-burning furnaces.
Other exams include more general topics proving overall competence of the applicant.
With more specialized certifications, HVAC installers can prove their knowledge and obtain better-paid jobs.