Starting a career within the HVAC sector may not just be all about installing systems, there are actually more avenues than you’d perhaps think possible.
If you have ever considered HVAC careers, or thought about a move into the industry, you may well be surprised to learn there are far more opportunities and routes to progression than many people suppose. The average person thinks about working with air-conditioning and imagines people crawling around attics, ventilation shafts or tinkering with refrigeration units – but there actually more possibilities for people willing to undergo further training, and who want to progress from installation to different areas.
HVAC is an industry where everyone has to keep up with rapid changes, all the time – product and process knowledge is key to success, so for people who want to move away from installation, a solid time of on the ground experience, perhaps as an apprentice, would put them in good stead for other jobs within the sector. Understanding how installers need information presented, or how long a job takes, is something which is more easily learned from experience, than a lecture or textbook.
School or college leavers can go into the industry as an apprentice and can gain recognized City and Guild Qualifications via day release or short courses, plus on the job specialist training, but for other industry areas, a higher level qualification will be required, possibly gained from a university. Other career paths within HVAC include:
- Draughtsperson – Someone has to design the systems which are to be installed. Having field experience is beneficial in this role, to give a deeper understanding of the needs of the installation crew, as well as the end client.
- Product Design Engineer – This mechanical engineering role requires a high degree of problem solving ability, as well as strong technical and interpersonal skills, in order to successfully liaise with clients and colleagues.
- Estimates and Proposals – Another job where solid on-the-ground experience is of immense benefit.
Understanding the needs of installers, realistic time-frames and identifying cost-effective but practical solutions, this role would suit someone wishing to leave the field for a more office based role.
Working in HVAC doesn’t have to be just about air-conditioned houses and offices – in fact, a large range of industry sectors rely upon HVAC specialists, including the offshore oil and gas industries and also nuclear industries. Work can be found worldwide, even cold countries need climate control, so there will always be opportunities for well-qualified HVAC candidates to enjoy an incredibly diverse career.
Fancy a job a little closer to home? You may be surprised, but HVAC training can also lead to jobs in places like your local gym or swimming pool…. There are a number of transferable skills which can allow people to obtain positions working with pools, saunas and jacuzzis – and candidates with a CORGI qualification are especially attractive to health clubs, who may have gas powered facilities.
Working in HVAC can be incredibly physically demanding, is certainly mentally demanding and requires life-long learners, as keeping up-to-date with developments is crucial for success. For the right people however, this growing industry offers a wealth of opportunities which are second to none – it’s certainly an area that deserves further investigation before being written off as ‘just one for installers’, and one that perhaps needs to blow its own trumpet a little louder to attract even more high caliber candidates.