The human body is most comfortable at 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, most cities and seasons do not remain at that temperature, making the HVAC trade a critical part of the economy (and the productivity of its workers). "HVAC" stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. HVAC technology helps to make... the environments in which we live and work more comfortable and conducive to productivity. In some controlled environments, such as submarines and airplanes, it is extremely important that factors like humidity, temperature, and total air quality are within guidelines for human safety.
As a subsection of mechanical engineering, HVAC incorporates scientific principles with specialized skills. Professionals in this field must understand the underlying technology while putting it to practical use on site. HVAC technicians install, maintain, and repair systems equipment. They follow blueprints and other specifications, and use sophisticated diagnostic equipment to test for safety and efficiency.
Because job prospects in this field are expected to be excellent in the coming decade, many individuals are choosing to go to school to be trained in HVAC systems. Two- and four-year degrees in HVAC Engineering Technology prepare students for careers as HVAC technicians, applications engineers, systems representatives, estimators, and for various roles in architectural and engineering firms. Many of these programs are now available online, which is ideal for career-changers and for individuals who are already working in the field but still need licensure.
HVAC technicians work in a variety of industries across the private and public sectors, and the field has a self-employment rate of 16%. In 2008, median hourly wages for heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers were $19.08, with the top ten percent earning more than $30.59. With the field changing and responding to engineering innovation, there is no telling where a career in HVAC today may take you tomorrow.
Earn your Penn Foster Certificate in Automotive HVAC Essentials. Your program includes heating and cooling systems, servicing, EPA regulations, testing, troubleshooting, and more. more >
Learn the skills you need to become a professional HVAC Technician. It's convenient, affordable, and accredited. Your courses include: Refrigeration and air conditioning technology more >