In the United States the high school curriculum is geared toward college-bound students. 1 However, this model does not work for all students. Some students might be more inclined to go into the trades and taking classes with the goal of going to a vocational school after graduation, would go a long way to develop skills they will need.
Not only is vocational school the personal preference of many students, but the demand for skilled workers also is on the rise as Baby Boomers retire. 2 HVAC is an especially promising field as a potential skilled trades field. Here are a few of classes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests taking. 3
HVAC technicians must feel comfortable taking measurements, calculating heating and cooling loads, gauging proper space requirements, and handling other simple calculations.
Refrigeration relies on the laws of thermodynamics, pressure and temperature relationships, and the refrigeration cycle. High school students can benefit from taking chemistry classes to expand their knowledge on this subject and prepare for a career as an HVAC technician.
Knowledge of electricity and electrical components is integral to a career as an HVAC technician. To help prepare you to learn more about electrical distribution systems, motors, voltage circuits, wiring diagrams and other electricity topics.
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Skills Required to Be an HVAC Tech
In additional to technical skills like basic understanding of math and science, here are some of the qualities and skills HVAC employers look for:
- Customer service skills: HVAC techs work directly with customers in their homes and businesses, so they must be friendly, polite and respectful as they attempt to diagnose the customer’s complaints and explain the problem and solution.
- Attention to detail: Maintaining careful records of the homes and businesses they visit and work they perform is an important part of an HVAC tech’s job.
- Time management skills: HVAC technicians learn how to estimate how long different types of tasks take to ensure all maintenance calls, repairs and corresponding paperwork fit in the workday.
- Mechanical skills: If you hope to be an HVAC technician, you should be good with your hands and feel comfortable assembling, disassembling and troubleshooting HVAC components.
- Physical strength: Not only do HVAC techs spend long hours standing and walking, but they must also be able to lift and carry heavy objects, often without help. 3
- Computer skills: Knowledge of personal computers to schedule appointments is vital, as is knowledge of the computer systems found in HVAC equipment.
It’s never too early to start thinking about your future and planning what you want your career to look like. Sign up for the right classes now while you’re still in high school to give you a head start once you enroll in a HVAC training program.
1 – http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/05/02/the-return-of-vocational-high-schools-more-options-or-the-kiss-of-death
2 – http://www.npr.org/2015/02/02/383335110/economists-say-millennials-should-consider-careers-in-trades
3 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-4