Hi, I’m Greg Fox from Fox Family Heating and Air in Sacramento, CA. If you’re out there trying to find a career that is rewarding, challenging and pays well, I think HVAC is the right field for that. Today I’m going to give you 12 good reasons why being a certified HVAC technician is a good career choice. And I even have a bonus reason after that.
1. You Don’t Need a College Degree to Get Started
As a high schooler, I could tell I wasn’t going to college. Unless I got a scholarship, my family didn’t really have enough money to send me to college. I joined the Air Force right out of high school and when my term ended, I headed out for civilian life. HVAC was a career I found easy to get into. I started at the bottom while at my first job, but I quickly worked my way up amongst my peers.
2. Good Wages
When I started, I never realized that I could make enough money to support my family. I started out very low in pay, but I didn’t have any experience either! Within one year I had doubled my pay because my supervisors saw how hard of a worker I was and that I was pretty good at it. With an HVAC career, you’ll find you can make a damn good living at something you’re proud of doing.
One of the greatest aspects of being an HVAC technician is the independence you have during your workday. Whether you are an installation tech, a service tech, or a sales technician you’ll find yourself not having to be around a crowd at work. You get to go about your day and do or say pretty much what you want, how you want. Sure, you have calls or installs that you have to go to, but you won’t have any supervisors looking down on you all the time like with some jobs.
4. It’s a career that will always be in demand — growing at about 15% as the baby boomers start retiring
As you’ve probably heard already, HVAC is a career that is never going to go away. Robots and AI are far from being able to walk into a home, business or grocery store, walk around, troubleshoot the problem, get the repair part, braze copper lines together, enlarge returns, cut in supplies, install an HVAC system, and the list goes on. The fact is, it takes real people with real skills to do our job. And the field is only going to grow for the next several years, meaning there will be more and more jobs available for you to acquire.
5. The Job Isn’t Very Repetitive
As an HVAC technician, your job isn’t very repetitive. Sure, you’re out there repairing systems every day, or installing equipment regularly, but the application of where you’re doing it not only changes daily but from call to call. You never know what you’re going to get into on the next call. That’s too challenging for some people, and HVAC isn’t for everyone. But for some of us, we thrive on it.
6. Helping Others/Health/A Place to Serve
Nothing feels better than getting customers back up and running again. Whether it’s at the end of the day on an install, or after a challenging service call. Heck, you’ll probably feel like a genius when you find something as simple as a dirty filter that wasn’t allowing air through a system. The best feeling we get as HVAC technicians is when we can get an older couple, a family with children, or someone with medical conditions that really need a comfortable home cooling again. When a grocery store with a lot of food at risk of spoiling is saved by your expertise, you’re probably going to feel like Superman as you walk out the door with your tool bag and your head up high.
7. Mechanical Aspect
Our goal as HVAC technicians is to provide thermal comfort and good indoor air quality. We work with thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. A lot of people find this industry confusing because air isn’t something we can see. We can feel it! But trying to explain what we just did to get someone’s system back up and running can be a challenge. Installing, servicing and maintaining equipment engineered for this is what HVAC technicians all around the world love to do. It’s one of those trades that not everyone can just pick up in a day or two. This makes our jobs more secure than some other blue-collar trades.
You can really become a jack-of-all-trades in the HVAC field. This is especially true if you go into the installation side of the field. As installers, we must be able to read blueprints from an engineer. Not only are we setting equipment, but we’re also involved in plumbing gas lines and condensate drainage, working with high and low voltage, constructing new platforms, cutting in supply registers in rooms, enlarging returns and even cutting holes through rooftops to place new units. After replacing some of those units on the roof, we sometimes will also need to patch up the area around the curb to get it looking good again.
We’ve already discussed the other areas you’ll be good at with thermodynamics, balancing airflow, heat transfer, refrigerant flow and how to make the air quality better in a home. This is probably my favorite reason I became an HVAC technician because it really makes you a jack-of-all-trades.
9. The Challenges/Troubleshooting
If you’re really up for a challenging career, you’ll find HVAC a great career. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be good in this field. But it does take a solid understanding of the fundamentals and a good deal of patience. Just when you think you have the answer to a problem, something else comes up and then you must deal with that. All the trades we just talked about — plumbing, electrical, carpentry, roofing, thermodynamics, and others — can all come into play when it comes to solving the myriad of troubleshooting issues we face in the HVAC field every day.
10. You Learn Sales
Some of us get the opportunity to sell to our customers. We’ll pinpoint the problem and need to persuade the customer to spend money on the repair to get their system running again. Other times the cost to get the system running again isn’t worth it to the owner, so you end up selling them a new system. You also are out there trying to sell indoor air quality to homeowners so they can more fully enjoy their homes. Many people don’t know the air in their homes is sometimes worse than the air outside.
Selling can be a sensitive subject because some people think HVAC technicians and salespeople take selling a little too far. Our industry has gotten a bad reputation compared to others because some companies only pay their technicians by how many parts they sell. It’s a fine line because technicians can get greedy and not care about taking people’s money just to line their pockets, but at the same time, they do have to be able to put food on their tables and support themselves during the off-season.
Which brings me to my next reason HVAC is such a good job choice. Most people don’t use their AC or heating all year. This creates what we call shoulder seasons. During these times, some companies don’t have any work for their techs. Other companies have maintenance contracts that need to be fulfilled. But, if you’re in the residential and commercial field, I’m sure you’ll feel the seasonal changes in your hours at work, which is why you’ll need to discipline yourself to save money when you’re busy during those slower times of the year. The refrigeration side of the industry is usually a year-round job, but some people can’t stand some of the stuff you have to work on every day, like slimy bacteria, for example.
12. Take Home Van/ Save on Gas Money
Last but not least, some companies will let you take your work van home with you. This saves a lot of time and money since you don’t have to drive to work to get your van, just to be at your first call which could turn out to be right by your house! Having your own van means being able to stock the truck your way, have certain tools and other knick-knacks set up just the way you like it.
I noticed in the first year of doing this trade I built quite a bit of muscle from all the carrying, lifting, squatting, crawling and other activity on the job. It’s a physical line or work that can add some weight to your body, hopefully the right kind. Some guys get bigger in the belly because they’re working harder and they go home and eat a lot more than they normally would. I feel like my first year in install I added around 10 to 15 lbs. of muscle on my body which really filled out my shoulders, arms, chest, and legs nicely.
I hope this helps in your quest to find the right career for 2020! HVAC is a field that isn’t going away. People will always need to be comfortable in their homes and offices. I have truly enjoyed my time as an HVAC technician. Sure, I’ve found myself in some interesting positions I’d rather not be in at times. But I think that happens with every job. The pay is good, the job is interesting and different every day. The challenges we face keep us at the top of our game.
Thanks so much for stopping by and we’ll see you on the next blog!