For veterans preparing to transition to civilian life, often one of the most difficult hurdles they must overcome is finding gainful employment. Yet, military veterans generally bring a number of strong skill sets to the civilian workforce. Within the HVAC industry, many companies have begun to notice the benefits of hiring veterans. The organizations that specifically target these veterans note the advantages of building a strong employee roster full of workers who bring high degrees of professionalism and an outstanding work ethic. Veterans considering entering the field should consider the following factors when making their decision.
How veteran skills translate to the HVAC industry
A number of HVAC companies who seek veterans as a part of their hiring process note that military members tend to already have significant training in areas related to mechanics. They also bring a considerable amount of discipline and strong attention to detail, and they know how to be well organized. Many employees in the HVAC industry work independently, either supervising a specific building or making house calls to different clients. Having the organization and self-discipline to work well in this environment is very beneficial, and veterans tend to be strong in this area.
According to the organization Jobs for Veterans2, some of veteran’s top skills are related to management, leadership, computers, and electronic troubleshooting. The HVAC industry often relies heavily upon computerized controls and wiring, so experience in these areas may make it easier for veterans to adapt to this type of work and succeed. Military veterans also tend to be experienced leaders and accustomed to teamwork. They understand the importance of confidence in the field and bringing the entire team to success, and how that hinges on everyone completing their assigned role. HVAC employees must be able to work in teams with other HVAC professionals, as well as other tradesmen when working on buildings, so these traits can help ensure all projects are completed smoothly and efficiently.
Some veterans are also looking to enter the field after already working as mechanics of various sorts within the service. Electricians, mechanics, and machinists have skills that translate well to the HVAC field. Those entering the HVAC field with these specific skills tend to have at least a basic understanding of the industry. These skills are helpful in completing the necessary HVAC training to transition smoothly into a career.
Becoming an HVAC technician
Those interested in pursuing a career within the HVAC industry will generally have to go through some vocational training to prepare themselves for the field. This can be done through a vocational school program that provides students with classroom learning and hands-on practice. The Refrigeration School in particular works to make it easy for military veterans to gain experience and practical knowledge in the HVAC field by offering special tuition and other benefits. RSI understands the skills veterans bring to the field and strives to help them be successful in the industry.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1, once HVAC coursework and training are completed, students can take a number of different licensing exams such as:
- The Industry Competency Exam from North American Technician Excellence
- Secondary Employment Ready Exam, Secondary Heat exam, and Heat Plus exam from HVAC Excellence
- A secondary exam from the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute
- Exams for two levels of certification from the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
For veterans looking to find suitable occupations following their discharge from the military, the HVAC industry is a solid choice. With the opportunity for hands-on work, the potential to transfer a considerable amount of military training, and strong job potential, an HVAC career could be a great fit for many veterans.