Looking for a steady, near recession-proof industry? Look no further than Virginia’s HVAC industry. In a climate like ours where winters are chilly and summers are warm and muggy, it’s pretty much a given that work will be steady most of the year. People may put off HVAC repairs, maintenance, and installations, but eventually, homeowners and businesses simply have to have that HVAC running right again.
Changes in the Industry
So how do you choose a profession or trade that’s unlikely to be affected by downturns? So often, we read of upended professions and industries where technology or the market has changed so drastically, that thousands end up out of work.
Although equipment in the HVAC industry has been revolutionized by smart technology in recent years, by no means has this put people out of work. In fact, the demand for workers just keeps growing as sales of new, technologically sophisticated equipment increase. HVAC techs are in high demand to perform on-site installation and repairs. The level of sophistication required to build and work on these systems means well-trained workers should have job security far into the future.
While all of this is good news for the future employment picture, those who hope to take advantage of it will need some rigorous training to enter the industry. If you’re interested in being employed as an HVAC technician, you will have a couple of options in getting your training.
Getting hired as an apprentice is one way to get into the HVAC industry. This usually involves a trainee working alongside a trained HVAC pro. Under that individual’s direction, the apprentice learns the skills needed to do repairs, maintenance, and installation of air conditioning, heating, and ventilation equipment of all types. College and vocational schools are bypassed, and once the apprenticeship is over, the apprentice can take certification exams and become a licensed journeyman.
The advantage of this route is the HVAC tech can get to work in the field sooner. However, there are several downsides as well. Let’s take a look at how someone who enrolls in formal training might fare.
Enrolling in Vocational School
Getting your training as an HVAC technician doesn’t really have to be an “either/or” situation, where you choose between an apprenticeship and vocational school. One of the best routes to go is to enroll in vocational HVAC training, while you’re working on an apprenticeship. This is, in many ways, the best of both worlds.
Although apprenticeships have much to recommend them, you’ll miss getting a fully rounded education in the field if you limit yourself to being trained by one individual. There’s a lot to know about modern HVAC equipment, and a vocational training gives you the opportunity to work with several experienced pros.
In a school setting, you’ll be exposed to different makes of equipment, and different ways of working with it, thus increasing your chances of becoming a well-rounded technician when you successfully complete the coursework.
The Benefits of Formal Training in HVAC
Taking courses can also deepen your understanding of the science and theory behind HVAC work. Students learn about the movement of air. After all, HVAC is a type of mechanical engineering that is based on principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics.
The successful HVAC technician will also need to know something about electrical and plumbing systems. Today’s equipment also plays a role in improving indoor air quality air, so techs need to become educated about airborne pollutants and moisture control.
Further, with the increased emphasis on efficiency that has revolutionized HVAC equipment design over the last couple of decades, a technician needs to know how to install it precisely so the buyer maximizes the ROI through reduced energy bills. The right HVAC training can give the tech good grounding in ductwork design, eliminating air leaks, and cutting back on solar radiation, just to name a few of the critical areas in a home or business where efficiency can be improved, thereby enhancing equipment performance.
Studying HVAC in Virginia
With so many opportunities to work in the HVAC industry in Virginia, the prospective HVAC tech can focus on a segment — be it maritime, military, industrial, or residential — and aim for employment in that field. Getting training at a vocational school could help expose prospective techs to job possibilities in each field. Instructors, advisors, and your fellow students should be able to share their knowledge of local employers so that you can be better prepared to decide on a course after you graduate.
If you think a career in HVAC in Virginia might be the best path for you, why not call Advanced Technology Institute today and ask about earning a degree as an Associate in Occupational Science HVAC Technology with Service Management? This is your future, connect with an admissions advisor today for more information.