Most of us of working age or soon-to-be working age have some anxiety these days about career longevity. Will the career we choose today still be here in a couple of years? We’ve all heard the stories about middle-aged workers, finding themselves obsolete in their industry or profession and having to reinvent themselves for the job market. While no one can guarantee that any profession or trade will not experience upheaval over the long run, one trade where workers are likely to be in demand for years to come is the HVAC industry.
HVAC Industry Training
While HVAC equipment is changing as the need to develop more efficient, less polluting air conditioning and heating systems grows, the demand for well-trained technicians to install and repair this equipment is likely to grow with it. To enter this field, you will need some kind of training. One of the best ways to get that training is through earning an associate’s degree in a vocational program.
And, while making recommendations, what better place to earn a degree or to enter the HVAC work force than bustling Norfolk, VA? But we’ll get back to that in a minute. First let’s look at the benefits of earning a degree in this field.
Benefits of an HVAC Degree
Sure, you’re ready to start work as a technician in HVAC quickly so you can realize your earning potential. But don’t be short-sighted. Patience and focus on learning the basics can pay off.
Some technicians enter the field through an apprenticeship. Those who seek more formal education may pursue a certificate, an associate’s degree, or even a bachelor’s degree (the latter is helpful, particularly if you take some management courses, in running your own business or being a manager for an HVAC firm).
So what can you expect to gain for that extra time you’ll be putting out if you go after a degree? Generally, your understanding of HVAC technologies will be more comprehensive, so that you’ll be better prepared for the wide range of responsibilities you may encounter when you’re in the work force.
You will also be better prepared to obtain certain certifications, such as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE), a prestigious designation that signifies those who earn it have extensive knowledge and quality experience in the field. Certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is another valuable hallmark of a technician’s abilities.
Studying for a degree also helps the HVAC technician develop important soft skills, such as superior written and oral communication — a plus when dealing with the public or if you aspire to become a manager. Further, you will learn organizational skills that will help you meet deadlines, arrive at a job site well prepared for the work at hand, and adapt to new technologies as they come along.
In addition, you’ll be exposed to skilled professionals in the field, who can show you different ways of approaching the work, while you gain hands-on experience in a lab, using the latest equipment.
What’s more, your college program will provide an opportunity to pick up skills in these areas:
- occupational safety
Earning a degree from a community or career college can also help familiarize you with the diverse types of technology that are becoming more common in the HVAC marketplace, such as heat pumps, ductless mini splits, zoning systems, and various types of ventilation systems.
Living, Learning About HVAC, and Working in Norfolk
So back to Norfolk. This area of Virginia is known for its significant military presence but there’s much, much more, including shipbuilding, shipping, maritime and logistics, and cargo ports. Norfolk is also home to companies specializing in biomedical technology, information services, advanced manufacturing and data services.
The climate is temperate, although summers tend to be warm and humid, and cold weather can occur. Housing is considered affordable, while property, state, and local taxes are relatively low. Population growth in the area is modest but stable.
Chilly winters and warm, humid summers mean there’s a need for air conditioning and heating to be in use a good part of the year. That means business is generally good for HVAC companies, in terms of not only residential clients, but also commercial ones, as well as the military.
HVAC technicians’ services are in demand for most of the year here, providing maintenance on and repairing older systems, and installing new ones.
Ready to explore the benefits of earning a degree in HVAC in the Norfolk, VA, area? Call Advanced Technology Institute TODAY for more information about our Associate in Occupational Science HVAC Technology with Service Management Degree, and get started on your future.