hvac business owner

6 Tips for Career Growth in 2019 for HVAC Technicians

hvac business owner

The middle of the year can be a good time to check in with annual career goals or set some if you haven’t already. This is especially important for HVAC technicians because the equipment continues to evolve and become more complex to meet environmental and efficiency standards.[1]

With more than six months left in 2019, there’s still time to work on making yourself a smarter, more skilled and connected HVAC tech by 2020. Check out some of the tips below for career growth in the HVAC industry.

6 Tips for HVAC Career Growth in 2019

1. Set Goals

Knowing where you want to go professionally can help you get there, sometimes even more quickly. Setting career goals can be a great way to map out this year, next and even the following five or ten. The practice can give you direction and motivation.

Break down big career goals like owning an HVAC business into smaller goals like these:

  • Completing HVAC training
  • Earning certification
  • Taking business classes

Not only will this allow you to enjoy the satisfaction of all of these smaller wins toward your ultimate goal, but it can also keep you motivated. Having a set of career milestones you want to hit can keep you accountable and on track.[2]

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Lastly, write your goals down and check in with them regularly. A study by Dr. Gail Matthews of Dominican University in California found that participants who regularly wrote down their goals were more likely to achieve them. Those who wrote action commitments and shared them with a friend each week were the most successful at accomplishing their goals.

2. Join a Professional HVAC Organization

Compared to most other technical fields, the HVAC industry has a considerable number of professional organizations. Whether you’re still in an HVAC program or already working in the industry, joining the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) or one of the many other groups can be to your advantage.

These organizations typically keep members informed about the most current technical information, codes and standards and industry trends. Much of this information comes in the form of publications, which can make an excellent addition to your technical library.[3]

3. Continue Your HVAC Education

Working in the HVAC industry is an ongoing learning process due to changing environmental regulations and innovations in the equipment. HVAC technicians can keep their skills up to date by continuing their education.

HVAC trade associations like the American Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) offer ongoing business and technical classes. Subjects generally covered in such classes include:

  • Equipment trends
  • Codes and standards
  • Federal, state and local regulations
  • Business best practices[4]

4. Earn Industry Certifications

Industry certifications can validate your skills and knowledge to potential employers. Some certifications are mandatory, and others, while not required, are sought after by employers.

For example, all technicians working with refrigerants must have EPA certification. But there are also many industry certifications that can support career advancement: North American Technical Excellence (NATE), HVAC Excellence and the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute.[5]

5. Attend Conferences for HVAC Professionals

HVAC school gives you plenty of opportunities to connect with other aspiring technicians, but how do you meet likeminded professionals after you’ve graduated? HVAC conferences can be a great place to network and check out the latest developments in the field.

Major HVAC conferences and trade shows include ASHRAE, HARDI, AHR Expo, IE3 Show and HVAC Excellence.[6]

6. Sharpen Soft Skills

In addition to having the technical knowhow to troubleshoot equipment problems, you’ll also need some soft skills. This is especially important for residential HVAC technicians who make service calls to people’s homes. Many customers aren’t familiar with the technical ins and outs of their equipment, so they may describe the problem in simple terms.

HVAC techs need to be patient and communicate effectively by breaking down complex issues into language their customers can understand.[7] Consider taking communication classes to sharpen these soft skills if necessary.

Professional Growth in 2019 and Beyond

How can you keep up with a constantly evolving industry like HVAC? Joining professional organizations, taking continuing education classes, earning industry certifications and attending conferences can all help keep your technical knowledge and skills current. When combined with professional goal setting and soft skills training or practice, these activities can also support career growth in 2019 and long after.

If you aren’t tech savvy, you may also want to consider strengthening your computer skills, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates candidates with knowledge of tablet computers may have the best job prospects.

Additional Sources