HVAC Technician: Career Profile

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HVAC technicians may have certain specializations for both discipline and area of mechanical expertise. Within HVAC, technicians will often focus on heating, ventilation, or air conditioning. They may also focus on installation rather than repair or diagnostics. After gaining some experience in the field, some HVAC technicians choose to move into sales and marketing while others become superintendents.

Technician Job Skills and Equipment

HVAC technicians are responsible for the installation, repair, replacement, maintenance, and upgrading of HVAC systems and equipment. When working as part of a team, HVAC technicians are also responsible for collaborating with foremen and other skilled workers and ensuring that all necessary HVAC equipment and materials can be found at the job site. Specific duties of HVAC mechanics may include:

  • Inspecting HVAC systems to evaluate conditions, diagnose problems or failures in the system, identify repair or replacement needs, and recommend maintenance plans
  • Fabricating equipment to meet specialty needs or to replace unavailable parts
  • Installing HVAC systems or equipment to enhance environmental conditions or upgrade existing equipment
  • Maintaining tools and equipment to ensure optimal performance and safe operation
  • Performing routine maintenance on HVAC systems as needed
  • Preparing documentation and paperwork for repair status, activity logs, work orders, etc.
  • Repairing HVAC systems or components (including pumps, air handlers, fan coils, pipes, motors, etc.) to ensure the continued operability of the system
  • Maintaining inventory of necessary installation and repair items by requesting equipment and supplies as needed
  • Responding in emergency situations at any time (during or after work hours) to address safety concerns
  • Transporting tools, equipment, and supplies to and from job sites

HVAC Certifications and Licenses

To work on stationary air conditioners and refrigeration systems, technicians must be certified under the Clean Air Act’s Section 608 for an EPA Refrigeration Certificate. There are tests that can qualify participants for small appliances (Type I), high pressure (Type II), and low pressure (Type III). To demonstrate mastery over all systems, there is also Universal certification. HVAC technicians can benefit from HVAC training to pass the certification exams.

Also, because this career is often highly mobile, technicians should also have a valid driver’s license.

Work Environment

Generally the work environment is relatively safe, but there is much activity required. Most of your time will be spent walking or standing. You will also sometimes be required to perform heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, stooping, climbing and balancing, and even crawling. A fine sense of manual dexterity is helpful. HVAC Technicians also have to work in extreme temperatures. Learn more about vocational training to become an HVAC technician.

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