Women have long held jobs in more traditional roles such as teaching, childcare, and medical assistants, 1 but times are changing and more women are making their way into nontraditional jobs such as HVAC. Women are still in the minority in the skilled trades, but more women are entering the traditionally male-dominated field.
State of the Industry for Women
While women own some 9.4 million businesses in the United States, the number of women working in the trades is still low, with 7% of construction businesses owned by women and women making up only 1.2% of HVAC technicians. 2 Part of this is because in industries normally considered male-dominated, many women aren’t necessarily encouraged to enter or advance in them. 3 The HVAC industry is experiencing an employee shortage, so women interested in a stable and rewarding job may wish to consider a career in refrigeration technologies. Industry schools and businesses are working hard to get the word out to women that there are good-paying jobs in an industry that is growing and needs qualified workers with HVAC training.
Women Taking the Lead in HVAC
With fewer women in HVAC, you might be surprised to learn that women are actually industry leaders. For example, the owner of Anderson Plumbing Heating & Air is Mary Jean Anderson who has been in trades for 36 years. She added HVAC to her plumbing company in 2007 and made it into a $5 million dollar company, with her entire business worth $11 million. Other women leaders like Tammy Ferris, the owner of Gene Love Plumbing Air Electrical, has been in the trades and HVAC for more than 30 years and is well known as a mentor and leader in HVAC. Danetta Drew is the general manager of Dean’s Shop Heating & Air and has been promoted to manager two years ago in the family run business. She is in the process of becoming the owner of the business and constantly looks to grow her business. 4
Career Opportunities for Women in HVAC
According to U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers earn a median wage of $45,110 per year, as of May 2015. Those in the top 10% earn $71,690 per year. 5 Since HVAC technician jobs are experiencing a high growth rate, it would be reasonable to expect there to be job opportunities available for quite some time with a fair amount of job security. Moreover, some of HVAC technicians end up owning their own HVAC company. Lastly, opening up the industry to more will help fill the expected work gap in the skilled trades.
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In short, the HVAC industry presents a great opportunity for women looking for rewarding and steady hands-on work. If you are a woman interested in the skilled trades, don’t be discouraged by stereotypes. You can start your vocational career today.
1 – https://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/TraditionalOccupations.pdf
2 – http://www.achrnews.com/articles/131311-women-flourish-in-hvac-industry-positions
3 – http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-women-in-trades-0417-biz-20150420-story.html
4 – http://www.explorethetrades.org/women-in-trades/
5 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-5