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Careers in the HVACR Industry

Careers in the HVACR Industry

Winnipeg, MB – National Indoor Comfort Week®, April 20-26, 2008, honors the men and women of the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) industry. Initiated by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) in 2003 and now sponsored by all of the major organizations in the HVACR industry, it recognizes the hard work HVACR professionals do to keep us warm in winter and cool in summer.

Nationwide, the industry employs approximately 250,000 people. “One of the challenges we face in the industry is finding good people to fill those jobs,” said Brian Baker, President of Custom Vac Limited. “It’s a bit surprising because a qualified, certified HVACR technician can make upwards of $100,000 a year. It’s a stable industry, too. We go into people’s homes and workplaces – you can’t ‘offshore’ work like that!”

Jobs in the $150 billion-a-year HVACR industry are predicted to increase into the 21st century, as demand grows for industrial, commercial, and residential climate control systems, he pointed out. To maintain or replace older comfort systems, additional new jobs will be created. The growing demand for CAD (computer-aided design) specialists has led to even higher salaries, often beginning at $40,000 per year.

“HVACR people work in a variety of places,” Baker said. “For example, a refrigeration technician might work on the large coolers used by grocery stores and restaurants. They work in hospitals, people’s homes, shopping malls, theaters, office and apartment buildings, factories – anywhere heating, cooling, or ventilation is needed.”The kinds of work they do are equally varied. Here are some examples.

  • Contractors/business owners: Combine technical and entrepreneurial skills to communicate and assess customer needs and appropriate technical solutions.

  • Technicians: Install, maintain, service and repair HVACR equipment that provides indoor comfort and essential cooling processes both in the home and workplace.

  • Designers: Use sophisticated computer aided design (CAD) techniques and technical knowledge to design and maintain HVACR systems.

  • Sales and marketing: Rely on creativity to sell and market HVACR systems to businesses and homeowners.

  • Engineers: Ensure that HVACR products are built and perform to specification before, during, and after they are built and installed.

  • Research and development professionals: Work on constantly improving our heating and cooling equipment, as well as rating and testing new models.

  • Inspectors: Ensure that standards and regulations are adhered to as stated by local codes or government agencies.

  • Plumbers: Install and repair pipes that carry water, waste, drainage, and natural gas to buildings. They cut, bend and join pipes; and they install fixtures and appliances, such as bathtubs, toilets, dishwashers and water heaters.

  • Pipefitters: Work on large industrial piping systems that carry steam, gases and chemicals that supply power, heating, or refrigeration.

Baker suggested that young people interested in a career in HVACR take these classes in high school: Computer applications, CAD (computer-aided design), business, sales and marketing, air conditioning, algebra and geometry, sheet metal, electricity/electronics, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading.

“As the technology becomes more sophisticated, the people who will advance in the industry will be the best trained. There are many community colleges and vocational-technical colleges offering HVACR courses of study, and a newcomer to the business would be wise to take them,” Baker said. “It will put you ahead of the competition.”

ACCA represents the nationwide educational, policy, and technical interests of the small businesses who design, install, and maintain indoor environmental systems. Custom Vac Limited has been serving residents of Winnipeg and surrounding areas since 1970.

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