What is HVAC or HVACR?
If you’re not already familiar, HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning and it refers to the process of heating and cooling different environments to make them more comfortable. HVACR refers to the same functions, but also includes refrigeration. In some environments, like airplanes or submarines, it is extremely important that temperature, humidity and air quality are kept at a level that is safe for humans.
HVAC is a subsection of mechanical engineering and professionals in this field have to understand the underlying technology and have the skills necessary to put it to use. This often involves following blueprints and other specs and using specialized diagnostic equipment with the goal being to effectively install, maintain and repair systems as needed.
HVAC certificates may be a great way for newcomers to jumpstart their career, or for current HVAC professionals to gain more specialized skills and knowledge in a particular area. Let’s take a look at an example of a career in HVAC, including responsibilities, salary potential and job outlook.
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers, or HVACR technicians are responsible for working with heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration systems, which control temperature and air quality in buildings.
HVACR technicians may perform the following duties[i]:
Connect systems to fuel and water supply lines or air ducts
Follow design specs to install or repair HVACR systems
Inspect and maintain HVACR systems
Install electrical wiring and controls and test for efficiency
Test individual components and repair or replace worn or defective parts
HVACR technicians may also specialize in different types of equipment such as solar panels, water-based heating systems or commercial refrigeration.
Median annual salary: $43,640[ii]
Job outlook, 2012-22: 21% growth (faster than average)[ii]
[i] bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-2 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-1