Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning
This program provides knowledge and skills training in: air conditioning, steam and hydronic heating, temperature and humidity control, air circulation, duct and pipe system design and layout, thermostats, ventilating equipment, automatic controls, zoning controls, air and water circulators. Electrical wiring, refrigeration technology, refrigerant recovery and management, and blueprint reading will be introduced as well. Students will also learn pipe fitting, and power tool use, with trade safety being an integral part of all facets of instruction. Students learn to install and repair equipment in the shop settings. The combination of shop practice and theory prepares students for employment and advancement in today's Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry. Students entering this program should have a basic mechanical aptitude, be able to move heavy objects, be self-motivated and a self-starter.
Install or repair heating, central air conditioning, or refrigeration systems, including oil burners, hot-air furnaces, and heating stoves. Install, repair, and maintain mechanical regulating and controlling devices, such as gas regulators, thermostats, safety and flow valves, and other mechanical governors.
Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers work in homes, retail establishments, hospitals, office buildings, and factories—anywhere there is climate-control equipment. They may be assigned to specific job sites at the beginning of each day, or may be dispatched to a variety of locations if they are making service calls.
Technicians may work outside in cold or hot weather or in buildings that are uncomfortable because the air-conditioning or heating equipment is broken. In addition, technicians might have to work in awkward or cramped positions and sometimes are required to work in high places. Hazards include electrical shock, burns, muscle strains, and other injuries from handling heavy equipment. Appropriate safety equipment is necessary when handling refrigerants because contact can cause skin damage, frostbite, or blindness. Inhalation of refrigerants when working in confined spaces also is a possible hazard.
The majority of mechanics and installers work at least a 40-hour week. During peak seasons they often work overtime or irregular hours. Maintenance workers, including those who provide maintenance services under contract, often work evening or weekend shifts and are on call. Most employers try to provide a full workweek year-round by scheduling both installation and maintenance work, and many manufacturers and contractors now provide or even require service contracts. In most shops that service both heating and air-conditioning equipment, employment is stable throughout the year.
State and National Wages (2014 DATA)
Location Pay Period Low Median High United StatesHourly $13.29 $21.46 $34.05 Yearly $27,630 $44,630 $70,820 Pennsylvania Hourly $14.54 $21.68 $30.40 Yearly $30,240 $45,100 $63,220
Job prospects for heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are expected to be excellent, particularly for those with training from an accredited technical school or with formal apprenticeship training, and especially in the fastest growing areas of the country. A growing number of retirements of highly skilled technicians are expected to generate many job openings. In addition, employment of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to increase faster than average for all occupations through the year 2024 per www.onetonline.org. As the population and stock of buildings grows, so does the demand for residential, commercial, and industrial climate-control systems. The increased complexity of HVACR systems, increasing the possibility that equipment may malfunction, also will create opportunities for service technicians. Technicians who specialize in installation work may experience periods of unemployment when the level of new construction activity declines, but maintenance and repair work usually remains relatively stable. People and businesses depend on their climate-control systems and must keep them in good working order, regardless of economic conditions.
Concern for the environment has prompted the development of new energy-saving heating and air-conditioning systems. An emphasis on better energy management should lead to the replacement of older systems and the installation of newer, more efficient systems in existing homes and buildings. Also, demand for maintenance and service work should increase as businesses and homeowners strive to keep increasingly complex systems operating at peak efficiency. Regulations prohibiting the discharge and production of CFC and HCFC refrigerants should continue to result in the need to replace many existing air conditioning systems or modify them to use new environmentally safe refrigerants. The pace of replacement in the commercial and industrial sectors will quicken if Congress or individual States cut the time needed to fully depreciate the cost of new HVACR systems, which is being considered.
A growing focus on improving indoor air quality, as well as the increasing use of refrigerated equipment by a growing number of stores and gasoline stations that sell food, also should contribute to the creation of more jobs for heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration technicians.
HVAC Excellence Accreditation:
The HVAC Program at WMCTC has been involved with HVAC Excellence since 2002. HVAC Excellence is a national HVAC organization that works with secondary and post-secondary schools to standardize the curriculum and maintain a high quality of student learning. A benefit of being a part of HVAC Excellence is the certifications that are offered. The certifications range from HVAC Electrical, heating, cooling, & many more. Students have the opportunity to complete the certification to improve their resume and to show future employers what they know.
Please see their website at www.hvacexcellence.org
POST SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Montgomery County Community College
Thaddeus Stevens State College of Technology
Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) Apprentice Program.
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Reading Area Community College