This map always raises lots of great questions. Many can be answered by explaining the general principles that underly its content and organization. Read on.
Why only 40 Jobs?
There just isn't room to list and describe every HVAC/R job! The enormously complex HVAC/R industry comprises many more occupations than a single web tool can reasonably depict. HVAC/R jobs also vary depending on the size and specialty of a given company. Certain roles and responsibilities might be combined into one job in a smaller company or broken out into several jobs in a larger company. A team of national experts selected forty occupations for the map that are central to the HVAC/R industry.
Where are the job listings?
This tool was not designed as a jobs bank. The map is not tied to any specific employers, and in no way guarantees a career progression. There are numerous Job Boards available on the internet that are bursting with job listings for the HVAC/R industry. Additionally, the US Department of Labor and many states offer online tools that match occupations, skills, and interests with specific training and employment opportunities.
What is considered a “green” job?
There is no universal agreement on what constitutes a green job; it is an ever-evolving concept. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Information Network (O*NET), “a green career can be any occupation that is affected by activities such as conserving energy, developing alternative energy, reducing pollution, or recycling.” Many occupations in the HVAC/R Industry touch one or more of those activities. Some HVAC/R occupations are more obviously “green” than others. For example, the Careers in Climate Control Technology Map has an entire sector dedicated to Automated Controls and this sector's overarching goal is to reduce a building’s energy consumption. Yet even a Residential Service Technician’s position can play a large role in conserving energy through high-quality servicing, keeping older HVAC systems running at peak efficiency.
The HVAC/R experts involved with the development of the Careers in Climate Control Technology Map chose occupations that could be easily recognized as applying “green” practices on a regular basis. An argument can be made that every occupation in the HVAC/R industry applies “green” practices in some form. The name alone, “Careers in Climate Control Technology,” implies a movement towards genuine and substantial efforts of improving our carbon footprint. The HVAC/R industry offers great careers to those seeking to make a positive impact on the environment.
I am a Veteran. Will companies recognize the experience I gained while in the military?
Not only will they recognize it, most companies will cherish it! Employers know that along with technical skills, Veterans have acquired many additional skill-sets while in active military service such as excellent communication skills, flexibility, teamwork, integrity, planning, and problem-solving skills. The Resource page on this website has a link to Match Military Experience to Civilian Jobs to help you find the right HVAC/R education and training, or job.
Are there many HVAC/R jobs currently available?
Yes!!! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the HVAC/R industry is projected to grow 15 percent nationally from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. In California that growth is projected to be even higher at 19.6% for the HVAC/R industry. But don’t rely on the statistics to prove this point, look at any job board and you’ll see countless HVAC/R jobs available!
How precise is the wage data?
The wage data provided in this map is based on California wages, and more specifically the San Francisco Bay area. It is notoriously difficult to secure accurate wage data, especially for a state with the size and diversity of California. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) aggregates some HVAC/R data, but it tends to focus on the state as a whole, not locally, or even regionally. Wages identified under each occupation of the Careers in Climate Control Map show a wide range due to the geographic differences in the cost-of-living in California, as well as the fact that many occupations in the HVAC/R industry provide incentive-based pay programs.
What is the “preferred” education and training level?
There are many education and training pathways into most of the jobs in this map. The job details listed for each job in this map includes the minimum qualifications typically required for the job, as well as the preferred skill-level or credential — what would be most attractive to employers and most conducive to building a skilled workforce for the HVAC/R industry. Education and skill attainment are identified by one or more of the following: Certification, Licensure, Apprentice or Journey-level, High-school diploma (or equivalent) or Post-Secondary credential, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Postgraduate degree.
How long does it take to complete HVAC/R training?
Certificate and Associate’s Degree programs take anywhere from six months to two years to complete and can be found at Community Colleges or Trade and Technical Institutions. Most Apprenticeship programs require four to six years of on-the-job training and classroom instruction to earn a journey-level certificate and are sponsored by a Trade Union or Contractor’s Association.
Are these realistic career pathways?
We purposely called them routes rather than pathways because they offer a birds-eye guide to tendency and potential. Some advancement routes are straight-forward, which many individuals tend to pursue; other advancement routes, especially those transitioning to other sectors, imply enormous advances in skill, credentials, and education. The HVAC/R Experts who provided the advancement routes shown in the Careers in Climate Control Technology map have seen many individuals advance as suggested. It is up to each individual to determine how far they will advance. The good news is the HVAC/R industry provides numerous advancement routes making it an exciting and rewarding career to pursue.
Do I need to be licensed to get a job in the HVAC/R industry?
In most cases, only contractors who start their own residential or commercial HVAC/R business need to be licensed, and the process to become licensed is different for every state. This Career Map is California-specific so the requirements to become a residential or commercial contractor are mentioned within those job details.
Do I have to start in an entry-level job?
Not necessarily. Career routes in the HVAC/R industry don’t always progress from the bottom to the top of the lattice. Individuals who have already acquired related education and skill-sets could enter the HVAC/R industry at mid and advanced levels (e.g., electrician, salesperson, auditor, engineering technician, Veteran).
Additionally, there are a number of groups doing excellent work to build bridges and on-ramps for underrepresented populations, and the Careers in Climate Control Technology map articulates several diverse entry-level jobs to start a career in the HVAC/R industry.
Shouldn't my job be located in a different sector or skill level?
Quite possibly. Even probably. Many of these job titles could appear in more than one sector. Indeed, the very nature and scope of a given job may change depending on firm size and market segment (e.g. residential, commercial, industrial, or utility). In fact, some companies become very specialized within a market segment of the HVAC/R industry allowing for even greater job and skill-level overlap. Moreover, a recently graduated Mechanical Engineering student might be practicing at “entry level” because of limited, if any, HVAC/R experience.
Whatever the designated level of a job title on this map, most occupations include a wide range of skill levels, and could sit higher or lower on the y-axis. As the HVAC/R industry continues to advance with technology, workers in all positions will need to update their skills through continuing education or on-the-job-training. Some of this potential variation is addressed in the full job descriptions.