Let’s face it: college isn’t for everyone. Nor should it be. Many people don’t have the time or financial means to dedicate the next four years (at least) to attend a “regular” college or university. Luckily, there are lots of educational options available for those who wish to find a rewarding career without attending a four-year college or university.
A career in a skilled trade, like heating and cooling repair and installation, can be achieved faster and with a lower tuition through a non-four-year school and will give you the opportunity to learn a valued and valuable skill. But where do you turn for an education in a skilled trade? The answer has caused some amount of confusion.
When seeking an education in the trades, there are several different names for schools that get used: technical school, trade school, and vocational school. If you are one of the many people considering continuing your education and pursuing a career in a skilled trade, you have probably run into all of these terms and may be confused as to what the difference is between technical school, trade school, and vocational school.
In many ways, all of these names mean the same thing and are used interchangeably. However, there are a few subtle differences that are worth noting, especially if an education at one of these schools is in your future. Here are the important things you should know about each of these options for education.
What is a technical school?
A technical school, also called a technical college, is a one to two-year educational institution that offers degrees and certifications for a specific career or trade. Technical schools run the gamut from culinary arts, computer technology, cosmetology, automotive technology, HVAC, and many other fields.
Unlike a traditional four-year college, no prerequisite or general education classes are required and all your classes are focused on the specific field. Technical schools also tend to provide a blend of classroom education and hands-on learning.
What is a trade school?
By and large, trade schools and technical schools are very similar. Like a technical school, a trade school is a program that can be completed in a year or less, focusing on a specific career path or trade. The primary difference you’ll find between trade schools and technical schools is the exact career education they provide.
By definition trade schools typically focus on more hands-on careers and fields such as HVAC, automotive, plumbing, electricians training, carpentry, and the like whereas technical schools can offer education for more technical fields. As a result, trade schools spend more time doing hands-on education than classroom work. Trade schools will provide the appropriate certification necessary to immediately work in the chosen field after graduation.
What is a vocational school?
A vocational school can be thought of as somewhat of an umbrella term for both technical schools and trade schools. A vocation is simply a trade or profession, so this term is often used interchangeably when referring to both of these kinds of schools. Completing your education at a “vocational school” will provide you with the certification or degree you need to enter your chosen field.
The Training Center for Air Conditioning and Heating
So in the end, while each of these different names refers to slightly different institutions, each of them has the same goal: help you get the education and training you need to start the next chapter of your career.
That is what we strive for here at The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning. Call us a trade school, call us a technical school, call us a vocational school, we don’t care. We only care about one thing: helping prepare you for your future in heating and air conditioning.
Our 10-week program will provide you with the classroom education and hands-on training you’ll need to prepare for the necessary certifications, begin your new rewarding career, and ultimately find success in the industry. Not to mention, you’ll complete all of this in a fraction of the time and cost you would attending a four-year university.
If you are ready to begin your career in HVAC, learn more about our upcoming schedule of classes or ask us how you can sit in on a class for free to see if The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning and a career in HVAC is right for you.
There is a bit of a misconception about HVAC career paths. Many assume that after you get your education, training, and certifications from your heating and air conditioning training school your options for a job are either becoming an HVAC technician or an HVAC installer. While both of these career paths are very rewarding, HVAC career paths are not anywhere near as limited as the perceptions may be.
The truth is getting your certification in heating and air conditioning can open you up to a wide range of HVAC career paths, each with its own unique specialties and rewards. Some of them will keep you in homes and businesses helping out those in need, others will take you to worlds of innovation.
If you are considering pursuing education and training in the HVAC industry but are concerned about limited career options, let us put your mind at ease right here and now. Here are a few examples of the various HVAC career paths you can follow when you begin your career in the HVAC industry.
These positions are typically the first that come to mind when someone thinks about a career in HVAC. The reason for this is because this is the type of HVAC professional that people encounter and interact with the most as well as being a common first job for many new HVAC training graduates.
While it is true that a career as an HVAC technician or HVAC installer is a common career path, that doesn’t make it any less important or rewarding. Technicians and installers provide an invaluable service to customers (both residential and commercial) maintaining, troubleshooting, fixing, and installing furnaces, air conditioning systems, and other heating, cooling, and comfort systems. The average salary for a HVAC technician in Texas is around $42k per year.
Automotive HVAC Technician
HVAC technicians aren’t just relegated to working with in-home systems. Just about every single vehicle manufactured today, and the majority of those on the road right now, are equipped with air conditioning and heating systems. These systems require a specific skill set and require more than just a regular car mechanic to maintain and repair.
As an HVAC technician, you have the opportunity to specialize in HVAC areas outside of homes and businesses, including the automotive industry. Your career path may begin in a common fashion, but pursuing additional training and certifications can elevate your HVAC career into an entirely different area, with its own challenges, opportunities, and equipment to master.
A similar road for HVAC technicians can lead to a career in HVAC servicing commercial customers of another very different kind. Restaurants, hotels, and other similar establishments depend on the use of large refrigeration systems to store and preserve food and beverages to serve to their customers. Without properly running refrigeration, their food supplies spoil and they can’t serve their customers.
These large refrigeration systems, maybe not so surprisingly, utilize refrigeration equipment not so different from the cooling systems you’ll train to master at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating. Your career path as an HVAC technician can become one that specializes in troubleshooting, maintaining, repairing, and installing these refrigeration systems, providing very specialized and valuable services to commercial businesses. Technicians in this specialty average around 40k per year in Texas.
Solar Energy Technician
As the world looks to adopt more widespread use of clean and renewable energy sources, businesses from factories to retail locations have begun using solar energy as a primary source for their energy needs. In order to harness the energy from the sun, complex arrangements of solar panels are required to capture solar energy. The solar energy technicians that install, maintain, and fix these panels often start their careers in HVAC.
Your career in HVAC can lead you down a path of working with cutting-edge technology and green solutions to preserving natural resources. In the United States, 3% of electricity comes from solar energy and this figure is only going to grow. As a result, not only are solar energy technicians an exciting career path, job opportunities have increased by over 167%. Additional training will be required to work on these systems, but in Texas the average solar energy technician can make on average around $73k per year.
Wind Turbine Technician
Solar energy isn’t the only green energy technology available for HVAC professionals to adopt along their HVAC career path. The energy produced by wind turbines is clean, cost-effective, and is currently the largest source of renewable energy in the US. This has made wind turbine technicians one of the fastest growing and available jobs in the country, and one that can begin with training in the HVAC field.
Wind turbine technicians can make around $55k per year in Texas, and with the availability of jobs and the growing demand, this is a very appealing road for many HVAC professionals to take.
Because of the proficiency in electrical components, refrigeration, and problem-solving you will gain through your training and education, a whole world of opportunities await those in HVAC. All you need to do is find what interests you and pursue your passion. The demand for skilled labor across the board is high, so no matter which direction your HVAC career path goes there will be a place for you if you are willing to work hard and put in the work.
At The Training Center of Air Conditioning, we will provide you with the education, training, and certifications you will need to pursue whatever path you choose. Learn more about our 10-week course and our upcoming schedule of classes today.
As we continue to see the number of vaccinations across the country rise and the number of cases dropping, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming more and more visible. While we aren’t out of the woods quite yet, we are at a point in time where those of us in the HVAC industry can start looking forward to what the HVAC industry will look like post-COVID.
While leadership in the industry is predicting that 2021 and the future of the HVAC industry looks good, that doesn’t mean there won’t be repercussions of the pandemic affecting installers, technicians, and heating and cooling companies in the post-COVID world.
In fact, for the foreseeable future, there will indeed be some major changes to the demands of heating and cooling customers and new challenges that will have a major impact on the way the HVAC industry operates.
For those of you who will soon be completing your heating and cooling certification and training and entering the workforce or those of you interested in beginning your career by enrolling in our training program, here are some important things to think about in the industry going into a post-COVID world.
Air quality control will be a top priority
Since the beginning of the pandemic, prioritizing the air quality and ventilation of commercial and home buildings has been a CDC recommendation for helping reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. That has resulted in a surge of businesses and homes investing in air purification systems and filtration systems with effective results.
As we eventually reach a place in time where the Coronavirus itself becomes a more and more distant memory, the impact that it had on our outlook on safety and protection will linger. As home and business owners continue to prioritize air purification as a means to not only overcome the Coronavirus but also prevent a similar outbreak from occurring again, purchases of this type of equipment and service are on the rise and expected to reach a market of $28.3 billion by 2027.
Consumers are interested, and will continue to be interested, in investing in this equipment for years to come. As an HVAC technician, installer, or business owner, this means a steady stream of service requests will continue to come our way in both residential and commercial spaces. A market that those in the industry need to be ready to take advantage of.
This emphasis on air purification systems means HVAC professionals everywhere need to emphasize training and education about the various systems available, making sure they and their team of technicians are ready to educate and install these systems to best serve the safety and comfort of their customers. Air purification systems now need to become a core pillar in HVAC training.
Focus on safety practices
Masks, gloves, regular hand washing, social distancing, all of these safety measures have become a part of our daily lives. For those in the home service industry, they have been especially important as our jobs take us into the homes of our customers, some complete strangers, who need to feel safe and protected in your presence.
As more and more get access to the vaccine, these social distancing precautions in public spaces will inevitably begin to lax. However, in the comfort and safety of their own home, many customers may still wish for strangers to continue to practice safety. In order to serve the best interest of the customers we serve, even as the number of vaccinations rises, we recommend continuing to practice social distancing and hygienic practices.
You never know when a customer will feel uneasy about the presence of a stranger in the fallout of this pandemic. HVAC technicians should still continue to carry masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers in their vehicles and be respectful of social distancing for the foreseeable future when dealing with customers directly.
Supply and material shortages
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all businesses, but manufacturers were especially hard hit. Plant shutdowns, lay-offs, and difficulties with trade throughout the pandemic have culminated in a large material shortage for important and once abundant materials important to the HVAC industry like copper and plastics used in the manufacturing of HVAC equipment as well as microchips important in the programming of smart home technology.
While experts are hopeful that this shortage we are experiencing will eventually resolve itself, for the foreseeable future it will cause HVAC business owners and customers alike quite a bit of difficulty to navigate.
Material shortages are resulting in longer lead times in manufacturing and delivery equipment. This means a customer’s order for a new air conditioner will take far longer than usual to be fulfilled. As we head into the hottest months of the year, this is going to be quite frustrating for customers.
As professionals in the industry, it will be our responsibility to educate our customers of this shortage, understand its impact, and help them make the best decisions to help navigate it, like encouraging customers to schedule their pre-seasonal inspections and maintenance earlier than they usually might. Doing so will allow them ample time to identify any issues and get their orders in for parts and replacement early.
From material shortages causing delays in your sales process to an urgency and emphasis by buyers to take advantage of air filtration and ventilation systems, there will be a lot of adjustments that need to be made by HVAC professionals to navigate the post-COVID world. However, all of this just means that well-trained and knowledgeable technicians and installers will be in demand more than ever.
Learn more about our schedule of upcoming classes and start your career today.
Did you see the news about some changes happening here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating? We have recently changed the format of our HVAC classes from a 14-week class format to a new 10-week format.
The adjustment in the length and format of our classes may seem like quite a big change, but ultimately it is a change that we think will be of great benefit to both our students and our school.
We wanted to take a little bit of time to explain exactly what the change from 14-week classes to 10-week will mean and what changes will happen as a result.
Why the change?
Over the years of teaching, Chris Walters, the school’s founder, has continued to fine-tune and perfect the curriculum we conduct for our students. As a result, Chris and our staff have gotten very efficient… not to toot our own horn. With our staff knowing what topics need more emphasis and what topics require less time, many of our recent 14-week classes have started to become trimmed of fluff and finished up ahead of schedule!
So, in order to help our students complete their education and get into the field a whopping four weeks early, we decided to just completely change our schedule since our classes were trending that way anyway.
With a new 10-week format, our students can start finding work and making a living in their new field sooner than ever.
What is different?
While it seems like trimming four weeks off our HVAC classes is a significant cut, we assure you it really isn’t! The 14-week and 10-week classes have the same schedule, cover the same topics, and contain the same information. We have simply just tightened things up.
By maximizing efficiency in the classroom because of the shorter class duration, our new 10-week format allows us to actually spend more time than ever on hands-on training and education. Mastery of heating and cooling equipment servicing can only happen through doing. This approach helps our students get more comfortable with the equipment and techniques and helps better prepare them for entering the workforce.
The other difference created by shortening our class durations is that it allows us to add another class session! We are now able to offer morning, evening, and afternoon classes now instead of just morning and evening, allowing us to admit and train more students throughout the course of the year!
How can I sign up?
Our new 10-week program is offered four times every year with morning, evening, and afternoon options. Right now, the training school is busier than we have ever been, which means available spots are going away fast!
But, the change and newly created afternoon has also created more opportunities for admission! If you are interested in starting a rewarding career in the HVAC industry here in Texas, you’ll find no better curriculum or training staff anywhere else that will prepare you with the knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed.
Check out our schedule of upcoming HVAC classes, learn more about the curriculum, and how to apply to join the school here! If you aren’t sure if HVAC is right for you, you can also ask us about sitting in on a 3-hour class free of charge!
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.