What Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers Do
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers—often called heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration(HVACR) technicians—work on heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems that control the temperature and air quality in buildings.
HVACR technicians work mostly in homes, schools, hospitals, office buildings, or factories. Their worksites may be very hot or cold because the heating and cooling systems they must repair may not be working properly and because some parts of these systems are located outdoors. Working in cramped spaces and during irregular hours is common.
How to Become a Heating, Air Conditioning, or Refrigeration Mechanic and Installer
Because HVACR systems have become increasingly complex, employers generally prefer applicants with postsecondary education or those who have completed an apprenticeship. Some states and localities require technicians to be licensed.
Employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Candidates familiar with computers and electronics and those with good troubleshooting skills will have the best job opportunities as employers continue to have difficulty finding qualified technicians to install, maintain, and repair complex new systems.
Job Trends for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
This occupation supported 267,600 jobs in 2012 and 292,000 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 9.1%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 20.9% in 2022 to 323,500 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 278,700, compared with an observed value of 292,000, 4.8% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 14.8% in 2024 to 331,600 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 334,600 jobs for 2024, 0.9% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.