HVAC technicians are in high demand — here's how to become one

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(BPT) - If you’re looking for a new job or a career change, you may worry that you don’t have options for a well-paying job, especially without a degree. The great news is, there are in-demand, well-paying jobs that do not require a college degree or specific experience, while providing opportunities to grow your career over time. What are these jobs? HVAC technicians.

Nationwide, there's a very high demand for Heating, Cooling and Ventilation (HVAC) technicians. These jobs are vital to creating comfortable, healthy, efficient indoor environments in office buildings, hospitals, restaurants, stadiums, homes — all the places where we live, work and play.

People from all communities and backgrounds can be successful in HVAC. “When we hire technicians, we’re not focused on education credentials as much as we’re looking for an aptitude for technology, strong people skills, a positive attitude and a strong work ethic,” said Tracey Burns, vice president, Human Resources, Commercial HVAC North America, Trane Technologies. “All it takes is a desire to do good work, learn new skills, and make a difference for people and the planet.”

Technicians may work for a contractor or installer, or they may work directly with an HVAC manufacturing company. It’s not uncommon for someone to start as an entry level technician at a company and move up into a supervisory or even a management role. HVAC technicians can thrive at work and at home with a meaningful role that offers great pay and benefits, as well as opportunities for real growth.

There are also those who make a career change into HVAC, like Earnell Newman, who worked as a tile installer and in the kitchen of a company cafeteria before becoming an HVAC technician for Trane Technologies. “HVAC is one of the very few industries that didn’t slow down during the pandemic, and I knew Trane Technologies was the right spot to be in,” Newman said. “I love this work because you rarely do the same thing twice.”

What qualities do you need to be a successful HVAC technician?

If you’re wondering whether you would be good at this type of job, here’s a checklist of qualities and attributes that employers in the field are looking for:

  • Positive attitude
  • Willingness to learn
  • Good people skills
  • Being a team player
  • Strong communication skills
  • Aptitude for technology
  • Dependability

In general, employers want to hire people with a driver’s license and a strong desire to work. If you like working with your hands and helping make a difference, this career could be a great fit for you.

Opportunities to learn new skills

HVAC technician jobs can offer many opportunities for learning and development. Training, learning about safety procedures and becoming certified are often provided as part of the job, and some companies prefer to train their employees themselves, to ensure the quality of training as required by that company and in their state. Because HVAC technicians handle refrigerants, they also receive Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification.

As they gain experience, HVAC technicians may get to work with the most advanced technologies in their field. For example, software and connected controls that create “intelligent” or “smart” buildings. These technologies make sure buildings operate efficiently while maintaining comfortable and healthy spaces for the people in them.

“It can be very rewarding work that makes a difference for people and our planet,” said Rod Cook, director, North America Service Operations, Commercial HVAC Americas, Trane Technologies. “HVAC technicians play a very important role in increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, because they are the ones who are maintaining and repairing the building systems. It’s such an important job for making sure our communities have healthy, comfortable and environmentally sustainable buildings.”

How can you get started?

If you’re interested in getting started right away, you can learn more and introduce yourself at a company such as Trane Technologies. This company offers scores of training modules through its own learning system, in addition to training offered in partnership with organizations like the National Coalition of Training Centers (NC3).

There are also programs and resources in communities throughout the U.S. that work with HVAC companies to prepare HVAC technicians, such as the Urban League, military veteran organizations, community colleges and training centers.

At some HVAC companies, you may start as an apprentice or in an entry-level role, then move up over time as you get experience, training and necessary certifications.

“There’s really no limit to the potential to learn and grow in an HVAC technician role,” says Burns. “It also can provide job security, because it requires skilled, hands-on work that cannot be easily replaced by automation. Our HVAC technician community are at the heart of our business and our company’s purpose to challenge what’s possible for a more sustainable world.”

Sound intriguing? To learn more about careers in the HVAC field, visit Trane Technologies careers page.

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