Jobs in commercial HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) are in high demand, as construction begins to recover from the great recession. These high-paying skilled positions are a perfect fit for some people, while others may not be able to accept some of the requirements necessary to perform this work.
You may begin as a helper and learn the HVAC trade as you work, attending apprenticeship school in the evenings. After four years as an apprentice, you will be certified as a journeyman, and paid the wages for that certification. Many commercial HVAC contractors offer tuition reimbursement to encourage apprentices to finish the entire program and to remain employed with their company after training.
Working with your hands and your head
Some people are better suited to work behind a desk, or in a management capacity. Although that type of work is commonly viewed as superior to physical work, there are different kinds of physical work as well as different types of people. Skilled workmanship is vastly different than working as an unskilled laborer. Commercial HVAC contractors must be knowledgeable about all aspects of keeping a large building warm, cooled, or ventilated, and have the physical capacity to bring their knowledge into fruition.
Some individuals prefer the freedom of the open air, and would feel claustrophobic working in a cubicle or attending endless meetings. HVAC contractors don't remain in one place for many years, but travel from one project to the next, and can see the results of their labors in the buildings that they have helped to construct.
The hardships of working as a commercial HVAC contractor
Individuals who perform commercial HVAC work are well paid because it can be difficult work. Examples of these difficulties include
- Heavy lifting. Commercial HVAC work requires everything to be larger and heavier than residential work, because the equipment must serve large commercial buildings. Ducts and equipments are sometimes so large that they must be lifted by cranes to be placed on roofs for installation.
- Climbing ladders. Ducts and other HVAC equipment are usually located at ceiling level ,so commercial HVAC workers must often work from ladders. This may take a toll on your knees over a period of years.
- Cold and hot weather. Because HVAC workers are either installing or repairing heating or cooling equipment, there is no heat or air conditioning even in closed buildings. New construction requires them to work in buildings without walls, often several stories above the ground, in winter wind. Replacing equipment in closed buildings in the summer requires working near ceilings, where a room is hottest with no air conditioning.
Determining whether a job with a commercial HVAC contractor, such as McFoy Refrigeration, Inc., is right for you is an individual decision, based on your level of tolerance for occasional physical discomfort, and your overall outlook on this type of work. It can be a stable and rewarding career for the right type of person.Share