Career Detail

Heating & Air Conditioning Mechanics and Instalers
“Bringing the Heat”
Heating and air-conditioning mechanics maintain and repair systems that control the temperature, humidity, and the total air quality in residential, commercial, industrial, and other buildings.
The Job
Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are adept at using a variety of tools, including hammers, wrenches, metal snips, electric drills, pipe cutters and benders, measurement gauges, and acetylene torches, to work with refrigerant lines and air ducts. They use voltmeters, thermometers, pressure gauges, manometers, and other testing devices to check airflow, refrigerant pressure, electrical circuits, burners, and other components. Because heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems often are referred to as HVACR systems, these workers also may be called HVACR technicians. The majority of mechanics and installers work at least a 40-hour week. During peak seasons, they often work overtime or irregular hours. Maintenance workers, including those who provide maintenance services under contract, often work evening or weekend shifts and are on call.
Work Environment
Work in homes, retail establishments, hospitals, office buildings, and factories. May be assigned to specific job sites at the beginning of each day or may be dispatched to a variety of locations.
College Majors
Apprentice Program
Minimum Qualifications
Employers prefer to hire those who have completed technical school training or an apprenticeship. Some still learn the trade on the job. Apprenticeship programs normally last 3 to 5 years.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Ability to learn on the job, efficient in tool usage
Quick Facts
  • Employers prefer to hire those who have completed technical school training or a formal apprenticeship.
  • Job prospects are expected to be excellent.
  • Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are required to be licensed by some States and localities. Requirements for licensure vary greatly, but all States or localities t
Compensation and Outlook
Median hourly wages of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers were $19.08 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $14.94 and $24.84 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.19, and the top 10 percent earned more than $30.59.
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