HVAC is an incredibly technical field. Becoming a licensed technician or installer takes extensive training and hands on experience, making the “know-how” of the job and every little in and out of the equipment you work on crucial. You cannot understate the value of technical skills in the HVAC field.
That being said, success in the industry is not entirely dependent on how skilled you are at navigating HVAC equipment. A successful HVAC technician or installer must also be adept at soft skills as well.
Soft skills are skills such as creative thinking, conflict resolution, time management, teamwork, networking, and other social skills that can help you succeed in your career. Basically, the opposite of the technical skills you learn throughout your training at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating.
But, for a technical career like this one, why are these soft skills so important. In short, technical skills will help you do your job; soft skills help you do your job better and open avenues and opportunities for you to excel within your career.
Here are just a few ways that developing soft skills can help your HVAC career.
Represent you and your company proudly
For employers, soft skills are important for one major reason: how you conduct yourself, interact with customers, and what kind of impression you make. See, when you arrive at a customer’s home to perform your inspection, maintenance, or repairs you aren’t just there as yourself, you are there as a representation of your company, who wants you to perform your job effectively, make the customer happy, and leave a good impression.
A technician that lacks desirable soft skills or social skills isn’t likely to meet those expectations. Say a technician shows up to a customer’s home late, smelling like cigarettes, grumbles a curt greeting before demanding to see the system, before stomping their dirty boots through the customer’s home. This isn’t just a bad impression on yourself, but the company they are there representing.
A technician who has developed their soft skills will be self-aware enough to realize just how important their professionalism and conduct is as their company’s reputation is on the line with every interaction. Your poor performance can have a serious impact on your company.
Become a more desirable technician
An HVAC technician who is well-spoken, communicates well, and exhibits traits like good work ethic, creative thinking, and strong teamwork is going to be much more desirable than the alternative in several different ways.
The first, and most useful for someone currently going through career training or preparing to begin their training, is obviously landing a job. The technical skills on your resume will obviously be important for getting you an interview, but displaying your soft skills during the interview will help you make the best impression possible and stand out among other candidates.
Once you are on the job, however, being a desirable technician also has its perks. A technician who is charming, well-spoken, and always leaves their customers happy and satisfied can develop a loyal customer base who prefers your services, keeping you busy and well compensated.
Exhibiting a strong work ethic, initiative, leadership, and teamwork skills can also help put you at the front of the pack for promotions and other advancement opportunities.
Better communicate with customers
Communication is a big deal for those working in the HVAC industry. When you have to have conversations with your customer about what is wrong with their system, what it will take to fix it, and, most painfully, how much it is going to cost, tempers are likely to flare.
Soft skills in communication, conflict resolution, and empathy play a big role in customer relations. The ability to not lose your head, remain calm, and truly understand their perspective when someone is upset will help you be able to diffuse any high-tempered situations and calm customers.
The issues you encounter will also likely be very technical and beyond the knowledge of the average customer. Communication skills can help you better breakdown and explain the problem in a way that doesn’t make you sound superior or condescending, while being reassuring and comforting to customers.
How to develop your HVAC soft skills
Learning technical skills is easy enough. They can be learned through classes and hands-on learning, like the one here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating. Soft skills, however, aren’t so straightforward.
While learning soft skills is an important aspect of the HVAC industry, they aren’t always taught in the classroom. Instead, they are developed in the world outside the classroom. If you want to strive to be a better professional, getting real-world experience interacting with employers, customers, and coworkers is the best resource. Always open yourself up to feedback from others, actively listen to what they have to say, and think of how their feedback can be applied to your work habits. You can also research different courses, classes, or reading material outside of your HVAC classroom that can help you solidify these skills as well.
Looking for a place in the Houston area to hone the technical HVAC skills you will need alongside the HVAC soft skills you require? Classes are in session at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating. Call 281.580.4239 to learn more or reserve your spot online today.
Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating director and instructor Chris Walters has joined forces with the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association (TACCA) of Greater Houston to offer a new curriculum of HVAC contractor education and training classes.
While Chris and the rest of the instructors at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating offer education, hands-on-training, and certification for those beginning their careers in the HVAC industry, the new classes offered through TACCA have been designed to provide ongoing HVAC contractor education, updates, and hands-on training to current HVAC professionals.
Through these classes, HVAC contractors can stay up-to-date with the latest news, techniques, and training they need to be an effective and valuable member of the HVAC industry.
Over his 30 years of experience in the HVAC industry, working for many years as a contractor before becoming an instructor, Chris has identified many of the common shortcomings and issues that practicing HVAC contractors run up against over their careers. Chiefly among those include falling behind on the latest techniques, industry news, and falling out of practice on certain tasks they might not be regularly performing.
The core schedule of classes that Chris will be leading as part of TACCA’s offerings will cover topics meant to address these common issues and important areas. These classes will feature both classroom sessions and hands-on training, depending on the topic.
Jennifer Barta, executive director of TACCA, said that she is very excited about having Chris’ knowledge and experience available to TACCA members.
If you are a practicing HVAC professional and want to learn more about the new classes taught by Chris Walters through TACCA, head over to the TACCAGH website or contact or call the Training Center at (281) 580-4239.
The TACCAGH website also features information about becoming a TACCA member and enrolling in their job placement program for recent graduates here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating.
Anyone pursuing a career in HVAC has two paths they can ultimately take: a career in residential HVAC or a career in commercial HVAC.
Residential HVAC obviously involves working on the heating and cooling systems of your everyday homeowners, where commercial HVAC technicians are performing services on the heating and cooling systems of businesses and other public spaces.
While yes, it is true that at the end of the day both kinds of technicians are simply servicing, installing, and repairing heating and cooling equipment, the nature of where they work, how they work, and what kinds of equipment they work on during the course of a typical day makes the two positions incredibly unique.
It is important to know that an HVAC technician isn’t locked into either path. However, knowing the important differences between both careers can give you a good perspective you can use to help guide the long-term direction of your career.
As you pursue your HVAC education, here are important differences between commercial and residential HVAC that you need to know for your career outlook.
Commercial HVAC often requires more education
Commercial HVAC technicians work with larger and often more complex heating and cooling equipment. After all, we are talking about systems that need to heat and cool entire commercial buildings, not just a one-story home.
Because of the complexity of the equipment they work with on a daily basis, it is normally the case that commercial HVAC technicians will need to go above and beyond the baseline education and training needed to practice.
For example, the EPA 608 certification is a requirement for all HVAC technicians, but commercial technicians will likely need to achieve Universal certification (Level 4) that certified you to work on both large and small appliances.
While achieving as much certification and training as you can is recommended for all technicians, regardless of your specialty, because of the employment opportunities it creates, anyone considering a career path into commercial HVAC needs to be more so committed to expanding their education.
Commercial HVAC has more reliable hours
Besides the equipment being worked on, the way in which the technicians of their respective areas also vastly differ due to the kinds of customers they work for.
Residential HVAC technicians deal with homeowners who normally can’t afford to be without heating or cooling relief for very long. So, if a customer’s air conditioning goes out late on a summer evening, if you are on call you may be summoned to work anywhere, anytime.
Commercial HVAC technicians, on the other hand, serve business locations that normally have a very typical 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday work weeks. Since this is the only time that your customer will be present, commercial technicians also typically have a similar work schedule and have to deal with after-hours emergencies less frequently.
As a technician progresses in their career, the appeal of a more structured workweek is often very appealing.
Commercial HVAC often has harsher working conditions
Life as a commercial HVAC technician is all glamorous, however. Whereas residential technicians normally service equipment that is primarily indoors, commercial technicians work on large commercial systems that are normally housed in one location: the roof.
Technicians servicing commercial HVAC systems spend most of their days high up on top of tall buildings and in full exposure to the elements, from the pouring rain to the sweltering hot sun. Here in Texas, our summers can be particularly brutal, making for lots of hot, sweaty, and downright uncomfortable workdays.
No HVAC technician is completely protected from uncomfortable working conditions, but if your plan is to eventually work as a commercial HVAC technician, you need to be fully prepared to regularly work in a difficult and harsh environment.
Commercial HVAC is more competitive
The complexity of equipment and the size and scope of the projects commercial HVAC companies tackle leads those working in the industry to enjoy a greater average pay than those in residential HVAC. While this is obviously a great upside and goes a long way in making working in those harsh conditions worth it, this also results in commercial HVAC positions being highly coveted and competitive when being filled.
Those looking to make the jump from residential to commercial HVAC work will need to be prepared to be able to stand out from the crowd of competing applicants. This is where having pursued additional certification and education to better prepare your resume can not only help you perform your job but also get noticed.
Because of the competitive landscape and the amount of education required to land a job in commercial HVAC, many technicians begin their careers in the residential sector and work their way into commercial later on.
Residential HVAC is more personal
One aspect of working in heating and cooling that many residential technicians enjoy is the interactions they have with their customers. Many technicians often also start getting “regulars” after many years in the same job who they get to know and get closer with over the years. It is these social aspects of the job that many technicians find extremely rewarding.
With commercial HVAC, however, this social aspect is almost non-existent. Contracts are negotiated and written up by the company you work for, you arrive on-site, complete the work, leave, and then the invoice gets sent to their billing department.
While there are certainly many benefits to a career in commercial HVAC, those that particularly enjoy the parts of the job dealing with customers and building relationships need to know that aspect is not nearly as present.
There are differences between commercial and residential HVAC work that give them each their pros and cons. However, it is important to remember that both fields provide your community with a valuable and in-demand service. An interest in one area doesn’t close you off from entering the other, and the skill sets that both require can help make you a well-rounded and effective HVAC technician.
Keep your mind open to learning about both as you pursue your education and career. The education you receive at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating will thoroughly prepare you with everything you need to know to begin your career down either path. Contact us today to learn more about our upcoming schedule of classes.
Looking for a career change?
The first path people take in their career isn’t always the correct one. After many years at a job in a career you once saw as your passion or direction in life, many find themselves burnt out, lacking that passion they once had, or simply feel like they are wasting away sitting behind a desk all day. There is no shame in it. Career changes these days is actually more common than not.
If you are one of the many people out there who are in this kind of situation or feel this way, a fresh start could be just the thing you need to get your professional career back on track and find a new passion.
A career change to the HVAC industry is just the thing you need!
The students that come to us here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating come to us from all sorts of different backgrounds. While some are starting their career in HVAC fresh out of school, many others are coming from a different career looking for a new and fulfilling career.
What that second group finds here is the introduction into a new career that is challenging, rewarding, interesting, and the exact change of scenery they need to find their lost passions.
If you are a hardworking professional who enjoys solving problems, helping others, and performing a valuable service and are looking for a new career path, a career in HVAC is the fresh start you need. Here’s why.
No previous experience required
One of the biggest challenges when shifting gears with your career then subsequently getting your foot in the door of the new career you are pursuing. Landing a job or returning to school for a field you haven’t studied or have experience in can be very difficult. The beauty of a career in HVAC is that all you need to get started is the willingness to learn and a good work ethic. Admission into the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating doesn’t require previous experience in HVAC repair or installation.
Many of the students we train are completely new to the field, and that is completely fine. Our comprehensive training course covers everything a student needs to know to become a successful HVAC technician from the basics to the more complex subjects. Whether you have experience or not, every student is treated equally and begins on equal footing, making it a career that is very accessible to those interested.
Getting started isn’t just easy, but getting the education you need is equally accessible. Many careers require a college education from an expensive institution and various degrees that can take years to obtain. If you have already gone through that process before, the idea of doing it all again may feel impossible.
This is not the case with technical training. Getting the necessary education, training, and certification you need to get your HVAC career started from can be accomplished at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating in just 10 or 14 weeks at a fraction of the cost of a university. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money getting your new career in HVAC started.
All are welcome
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, if you are a hard worker you can succeed in a career in HVAC. Despite what perceptions may be, the HVAC trade is made up of a diverse group of individuals with opportunities available for all interested in achieving them.
The HVAC industry welcomes all, with equal potential for men, women, and under-represented groups. There is no such thing as a “typical HVAC technician.” So, if you are considering a career switch to the HVAC industry, throw away any notions that you may not fit in or that there aren’t opportunities for someone like you, because there are plenty.
One of the biggest things that causes people to change their career is the loss of passion. They find themselves doing work that is no longer fulfilling to them and seek to find something that makes them happy and proud to do what they do. A career in HVAC offers the chance to learn and practice a trade that has a very in-demand skill set and provides a very valuable service to your community.
HVAC technicians acquire a set of skills that puts them in a position to provide a service that few others can. And, in many situations, you will be providing your customers with incredible relief by fixing the comfort systems in their home that keep them and their family’s warm in the winter and cool in the brutal summers. At the end of the day, you will be helping those in need and being someone’s hero by doing what you do. HVAC technicians perform a job that they can be proud of. What is more fulfilling than that?
Potential for growth
The biggest reason people find themselves changing careers however, according to a recent study, is people finding themselves running into a lack of opportunity for growth as well as professional and personal development. A career in HVAC is one that is filled with potential.
Due to an ongoing shortage in skilled labor, jobs in the HVAC industry are plentiful and come along with very competitive salaries. Honing your craft, continuing to educate yourself, and obtaining additional certifications can also open many doors for an HVAC technician to go out on their own and start their own business. There are many different paths the career of an HVAC technician can take if you are willing to go the extra mile.
Ready to reignite your career with a fresh start and career change? Learn about the upcoming classes here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating or sit in on a session for free to learn if its right for you! Your new career is waiting for you here.
After a year in which the only thing that was predictable was the unpredictable, 2021 offers a fresh start. However with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing and many changes to come after it is eventually overcome, there is still a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding the future of many businesses and industries.
For us and our students at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating, that obviously begs the question, “what does the immediate future look like for HVAC?”
The global pandemic leading to lockdowns and calls to shelter in place across the country, people spent more time at home this past year. Because of this, the HVAC industry was fortunate enough to stay steady and serve the heating and cooling needs of folks in their homes in order to stay comfortable while they stayed safe.
But, will that continue to be a viable situation for the foreseeable future? After all, although a career in the trades equips you with a very special skill set, if the future for HVAC feels unsure, incoming HVAC professionals and technicians need to be aware of what is ahead of them.
While the pandemic will eventually be conquered and life returning to (somewhat) normality, it is still worth carefully considering the outlook of any professions you are in or currently exploring as we head into 2021 and the somewhat uncertain future that lies ahead.
When it comes to what the HVAC industry will look like in 2021, what better source to turn to than the leaders of the industry?
The Future Looks Strong
In a recent article, many of the HVAC industry’s most distinguished leaders were asked about what the outlook for the HVAC industry and HVAC technicians looked like in 2021. There was a common sentiment among every one of them: the future is looking strong!
Projecting the needs of customers and the outlook of an eventually returning economy, the leaders of the HVAC industry point to a multitude of factors that should contribute to a strong continuing need for HVAC services and technicians, as well as new opportunities that should begin to present themselves.
Our work is never done
The reality is that as the pandemic continues, and even after it is eventually past, folks will continue to rely heavily on the comfort provided by their heating and cooling systems. Many businesses and professionals will continue to work and operate remotely from their homes and drive the need for peak performance of their HVAC system.
The foreseeable increased reliance on home comfort systems by those working and learning from home, many of these experts predict, will drive the need for more regular equipment servicing and replacement over the next few years, providing no shortage of jobs and opportunities for HVAC service providers and technicians.
New growing interest in indoor air quality
Many of the industry’s experts noted that the airborne nature of the pandemic has also created an increased awareness of consumers on the need for improved air quality, especially in commercial spaces. Even following the conclusion of the pandemic, experts predict there will continue to be a demand for indoor air purification equipment for both homes and businesses – a need that will be filled by those in the HVAC industry.
As demand for air purification equipment increases, heating and cooling companies will see an increased opportunity for installation and servicing work surrounding these types of equipment. This will drive a need for HVAC technicians to thoroughly train and educate themselves with this type of equipment in order to better offer and market these services.
New regulations will create better practices
Normalcy will not return without changes to protocols for HVAC technicians to safely serve their customers. However, these changes, some experts predict, will ultimately prove to have positive effects on operations, particularly project management.
Brian Helm of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America Inc. in particular stated, “In 2021, I think contractors will use what we learned from working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic to simplify many aspects of project management. We will see the evolution of data management tools from the current desktop-centered format to a mobile-centric approach. This will make it easier than ever for our project managers to stay connected.”
So, should those considering a career in HVAC be concerned about the future of the industry? Quite the contrary! The 2021 HVAC outlook for technicians looks very promising. Here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating, we are continuing to educate and prepare our students for a HVAC career in a post-COVID world.
Learn more about our upcoming class schedule online.
Here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating, our students come from all walks of life, different backgrounds, and have different personalities. But, they all come with one single goal: they want to begin a rewarding HVAC career.
While everyone has the same goal when they first begin to pursue their interest in a career in our industry, not everyone has the same expectations or understanding of the career that lies ahead of them.
If you are beginning, or considering, a new career in HVAC, here are five important things you need to know before you start.
Training is required
One of the biggest appeals of a career in HVAC is its availability. You don’t need to go to graduate school. You don’t need a college degree. You don’t need any particular prerequisites skills outside of a hard-working attitude and a willingness to apply yourself. However, just because the level of entry for an HVAC career is low doesn’t mean anyone can just step in and do the job. Training is a requirement if you want to succeed in the industry.
While training for an HVAC career does not involve a four-year program as you’ll find at most universities, training courses offered by programs like ours at The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning will prepare you with the technical and professional skills needed to be successful in your new career. Graduating from a training course will also award you with various certifications that are necessary to practice in some states and will always help give you a leg up in the hiring process.
You will often work in harsh conditions
Life as an HVAC technician or installer isn’t always the most glamorous. You will be spending your days outdoors, usually on a roof for commercial service calls, in the elements. Here in Texas, the days you are busiest are usually the hottest days of the year. You’ll often be sweaty, hot, and tired.
What this means is that if you are looking for a career where you spend your time indoors all day cooped up in a cubicle or staring at a computer screen all day, HVAC isn’t it. The day-to-day of a technician requires hard work and endurance. While this isn’t meant to try and weed anyone out or scare people off from a rewarding career in this industry, it is important for anyone looking to pursue this kind of career to know what they are getting into.
People skills are just as important as technical skills
The HVAC world isn’t all about fixing air conditioners and tuning up furnaces. While the technical skills you’ll learn during training and apply every day during your work are obviously important and a big part of the job, there are other equally important skills to possess to be successful, such as customer service.
The reason a customer calls you is that they are having a bad day. Their air conditioner may have just busted on the hottest day of the year and they are looking at a large bill for a replacement or repair. Not everyone you deal with is going to be necessarily happy to see you. Being able to relate, communicate, and interact with your customers respectfully, fairly, and honestly is important for keeping tempers down, keeping customers happy, and building a positive reputation within your community.
The details are important
Just like any other career working on something intricate like rebuilding car engines in an auto shop, HVAC installations and repairs require finesse, focus, and an emphasis on attention to detail. Repairs and installations in the HVAC industry require dealing with often hazardous materials like electricity, fire, and refrigerant. A lack of care or attention can result in serious injury to yourself or those around you.
HVAC technicians also are responsible for very complex tasks like electrical wiring, brazing, and working with very small components of the units they service. One misstep, whether you skip a step in the process or are not thorough in your work can lead to not completing your job properly. This leaves your customers unsatisfied, unhappy, and you look unprofessional. Focus and attention to detail to do your job the right way the first time is a must.
There is a sea of opportunity waiting
The job can be difficult, but that shouldn’t deter anyone away interested in pursuing an HVAC career. Why? Well, the most important thing to know about the HVAC industry is it is an industry filled with opportunities. Right now, the world is facing a decline in available workers in many skilled trade industries including HVAC. That means for those who are willing to get their certification, there is almost a guarantee that you will be able to find a great job and pave your own way for professional growth, like starting your own company.
Not only are there plenty of available jobs in the industry, but there is also an especially large need and opportunity for women to succeed in the industry as well. Regardless of gender, in the wake of the coronavirus as well, the world needs hardworking and knowledgeable HVAC technicians now more than ever.
Ready to start? The Training Center for Heating and Air Conditioning has classes running throughout the year! Check out our schedule and find the next session that works best for you.