HEATING, VENTILATION, AC & REFRIGERATION 
Required Skills/Jobs & Salary Outlook

Students in the HVAC program

Program
Objectives

Curriculum

Faculty

Required Skills/
Jobs & Salary Outlook

Install, service, or repair heating and air conditioning systems in residences or commercial establishments.


Sample of reported job titles

Service Technician, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Service Technician (HVAC Service Technician), Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Technician (HVAC Technician), Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Installer (HVAC Installer), HVAC Specialist (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Specialist), HVAC Technician (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Technician), Air Conditioning Technician (AC Tech), Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Mechanic (HVAC Mechanic), HVAC Installer (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Installer), Mechanic


Tasks

  • Test electrical circuits or components for continuity, using electrical test equipment.
  • Test pipe or tubing joints or connections for leaks, using pressure gauge or soap-and-water solution.
  • Join pipes or tubing to equipment and to fuel, water, or refrigerant source, to form complete circuit.
  • Reassemble and test equipment following repairs.
  • Repair or replace defective equipment, components, or wiring.
  • Lay out and connect electrical wiring between controls and equipment, according to wiring diagrams, using electrician's hand tools.
  • Obtain and maintain required certifications.
  • Install, connect, and adjust thermostats, humidistats and timers, using hand tools.
  • Comply with all applicable standards, policies, and procedures, including safety procedures and the maintenance of a clean work area.
  • Inspect and test systems to verify system compliance with plans and specifications or to detect and locate malfunctions.


Tools used in this occupation

  • Hammers — Claw hammers; Soft face hammers; Tinners hammers
  • Power saws — Circular saws; Jig saws; Power hacksaws; Reciprocating saws
  • Pressure indicators — Differential pressure detectors; Pneumatic air gauges; Refrigerant pressure meters; Water pressure gauges
  • Screwdrivers — Flared tip screwdrivers; Phillips head screwdrivers; Slotted screwdrivers
  • Voltage or current meters — Alternating current AC line splitters; Electrical current meters; Non-contact voltage detectors; Voltmeters


Technology used in this occupation

  • Computer aided design CAD software — HVAC tools software
  • Data base user interface and query software — Data logging software; Database software
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Graphics software
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software — Atlas Construction Business Forms; Microsoft Word


Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.


Skills

  • Installation — Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Abilities

  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.


Work Activities

  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Work Context

  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous equipment?
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
  • Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
  • Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?


Interests

Interest code: RCI

  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.


Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.


Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.


State and National Wages & Employment Trends

Location

Pay
Period

2011

10%

25%

Median

75%

90%

United States

Hourly

$12.89

$16.25

$20.86

$26.98

$33.10

Yearly

$26,800

$33,800

$43,400

$56,100

$68,800

Pennsylvania

Hourly

$13.41

$16.71

$21.09

$26.82

$32.50

Yearly

$27,900

$34,800

$43,900

$55,800

$67,600

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

267,800

358,100

+34%

13,760

Pennsylvania

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

14,550

14,850

+2%

290

1Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.


Note: The data for the State Employment Trends and the National Employment Trends are not directly comparable. The projections period for state data is 2008-2018, while the projections period for national data is 2010-2020.
Information provided by CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration