There are places that get nice, even temperatures all year round where the HVAC systems are a second thought, and then there are places like Norfolk, VA. Norfolk, along with other areas of Hampton Roads, enjoy nice temperate springs and falls but come summer and winter, things can get extreme.
In a recent July 2016 report, a Virginia news team reported that the summers here have become hotter and more humid over the last 35 years and that scientists expect an even greater uptick in both columns in the coming years. To contrast these hot and muggy summers, Virginia winters can get downright ugly with last year, Virginia declaring a “state of emergency” when a massive winter storm rumbled through Norfolk.
What Can Be Done About Virginia Weather?
Now, while it is (currently) impossible to change the weather, what is possible is controlling our interior environments through the use of HVAC. Norfolk and other coastal areas of Virginia are prone to both extreme temperature fluctuations in winter and summer and unpredictable, nasty weather that includes the risk of hurricanes.
Because of this, HVAC companies play an important role. This makes becoming an HVAC technician a great choice for those who are interested in helping people stay comfortable and who enjoy the variety of working with a variety of systems.
The Importance of Getting a Formal Education in HVAC Systems
While it is possible for someone interested in an HVAC career to learn the basics of repair and installation on the job, most will find getting a formal education in HVAC systems to be the better choice. This is not to say you need an extensive four-year college degree to excel in this industry.
Quite the opposite as most esteemed HVAC/R courses are designed to get applicants into the workforce as quickly as possible but with all of the skills, training, and education necessary to get the job done right. Many programs could be taken at an accelerated pace and might provide you with the entry-level skills and higher to get started immediately as a technician.
What is it Like to Work as an HVAC Apprentice?
Those who opt instead to start as an apprentice often encounter two problems. First, it can be difficult to find an HVAC company who will hire a newcomer without experience and do so at a fair wage. Second, even those who are able to find gainful employment without prior experience will often find that over the course of their employment, their employers will request them to go and take HVAC-specific courses to supplement their on-the-job training. This is because systems are continuing to evolve and change and so it is important for everyone in the industry to stay abreast of those changes.
In addition, those who start out as apprentices are generally given the more menial work and are only graduated as they prove their skills and training. In contrast, with a formal education in HVAC, graduates have proven they understand system basics and know how to perform maintenance and installation tasks on their own.
In this digital age, it has become increasingly important for HVAC and other contractors to have a thorough understanding of every aspect of their job as customers have become increasingly more educated and are more likely to ask detailed questions and expect higher service standards. There are also more advanced and complex products entering the market, including solar power and other renewable energy-based equipment, that require technicians to be at the top of their game.
Networking is another key benefit of a formal education in HVAC/R. During the course of their training, students will meet with other people operating in the same area and can form lasting relationships during externships. Through colleagues and professors, graduates will enjoy a much greater network once they are ready to enter the greater workforce.
Don’t Delay, Start Looking Into an HVAC Career Today
Here in Norfolk, VA, the HVAC/R industry is a four-season job and there is no better time than the present to get started. Whether you are a high school student interested in an HVAC career as your first move upon graduation or you’re past thirty and looking to get started in a second, more promising career, a formal education in HVAC/R might just be the perfect choice for you. In any case, the key is to not delay and instead get started on learning more about this career and whether or not it is the right pick for you.
At Advanced Technology Institute, students can enroll in an Associates in Occupational Sciences degree program in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. This program’s coursework includes not only the basics of HVAC installation and maintenance, but also provides students with a strong foundation in business operations with courses in business management, inventory management, and customer relations. Contact ATI today to learn more about this degree program and how you can get started!