Careers in HVAC & Refrigeration:
Your Path Starts Here
Are you considering a career as a service technician for HVAC-R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration)? You have come to the right place! There is a shortage of technicians in the industry, and many businesses are looking to hire men and women with the right skills for entry-level jobs. We’ll guide you through the process of getting one of these interesting and well-paying jobs in NYC, even with no experience.
Why choose a career in HVAC & Refrigeration?Did you know the average American spends 90,000 hours working over their lifetime? Your career choice is important, and careers in HVAC and Refrigeration offer a bright future. These are the top pros and cons you should know about.
The PROs of a career in HVAC & Refrigeration
- A secure job. HVAC and Refrigeration service technicians are in demand all year round, and the industry is growing.
- Free training. There’s no need to take on student loan debt, and you’ll work and earn while you learn.
- Excellent pay. Within 5 years you could earn over $100,000 per year.
- Union benefits. You’ll get excellent health insurance and even a pension.
- Interesting work. You’ll troubleshoot complex technology, perform a service that helps others, and work in a variety of locations.
A few potential CONs to keep in mind
- Service is physically challenging work. However, there are many other diverse job opportunities in the industry that don’t require physical work.
- You’ll work a lot in the summer and winter. It’s the busy season in the New York city area, so plan on spring and fall vacations.
- There’s a lot to learn. If you enjoy continuous learning, this is a good thing! If not, HVAC & Refrigeration service might not be your ideal job.
What people say about careers in HVAC & Refrigeration
Watch this video for the inside scoop about working in HVAC and Refrigeration service.
The basics about careers in HVAC & Refrigeration
What does an HVAC service technician do?
HVAC technicians maintain and repair heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that control temperature, humidity, and air quality in residential and commercial spaces.
An HVAC service technician can perform a variety of tasks. Working for a small HVAC company, a service tech might do everything from installing equipment to routine maintenance to troubleshooting problems and making repairs. At a larger company, technicians often become more specialized. For example, they might become experts on certain types of systems such as solar, VRF, or chiller systems. Or, they might focus on certain tasks, such as troubleshooting and repairing controls, or finding and fixing refrigerant leaks.
Most service technicians work full time, which can include some nights, weekends, and even overtime (especially during very hot and cold weather). A service technician typically travels to a few locations throughout their day to handle multiple service calls. One day could include working in a penthouse apartment, an office, a college campus, and a retail store. Experienced techs may get assigned and be responsible for a company vehicle.
In addition to technical work, an HVAC service tech must communicate with the customer about problems and solutions. And, the technician will often use an automated system to record the details of the work performed.
What does a Refrigeration service technician do?
Refrigeration service technicians are considered part of the HVAC industry because they work with similar technology: refrigerant-based cooling systems. However, instead of repairing heating and air conditioning equipment, Refrigeration service technicians work on systems that store and transport food, medicine, and other perishable items.
Refrigeration technicians work on equipment like display cases for convenience stores, blast chillers for restaurants, and supermarket refrigeration systems that cool an entire store. Refrigeration technicians also work on industrial plant refrigeration systems. Their responsibilities include testing and fixing malfunctioning systems, repairing or replacing parts, installing wiring, and reclaiming refrigerant.
Like HVAC technicians, Refrigeration field service technicians work full time, sometimes including nights, weekends, and overtime. Sometimes they might be on call. Refrigeration technicians are busy all year.
Refrigeration systems are quite complex and mission-critical: a broken commercial refrigeration system means the customer will lose money if they don’t get help fast. It takes years of learning to become a fully-qualified service technician, as well as ongoing training to keep skills current.
Career paths in HVAC & Refrigeration
Working as an HVAC and Refrigeration service technician can open the door to a variety of other types of positions within the industry, such as:
- Parts and supplies purchasing
- Job estimator
- Field supervisor
- Operations manager
Watch this video produced by UA (the union that serves the HVAC and Refrigeration trades) to see what the work is like.
How to get into HVAC & Refrigeration: steps to get started
Here’s the good news: you don’t need to spend years going to technical school (or college) to get started on the HVAC and Refrigeration career path. Most NYC HVAC and Refrigeration employers hire people for entry level positions with little to no experience in the field. New technicians train on the job, through the employer’s internal training program, through the local union training school, or some combination.
Either way, you get paid to work while you learn. An entry-level technician, known as an apprentice or helper, starts out working with a more experienced technician while completing training. It generally takes several years of training to become a fully-qualified journeyman.
So why wait? Follow these easy steps to find an entry-level job as an HVAC or Refrigeration service technician in the New York City metro area.