The dramatic increase in previously rare weather events has made real that climate change is upon us, and the term “climate emergency” is beginning to be used. Increased temperatures worldwide, rising sea levels, and the melting of glaciers are creating flooding, monster storms, landslides, and more significant than ever forest fires.
Climate change poses a severe threat to the world we live in. A UN report predicts that the average temperature will increase by at least 2 degrees Celsius over the next three decades and that there will be significant increases in heat extremes. While this is a world crisis, it does work to predict a significant expansion in at least one job field: HVAC managers, system designers, installers, and maintenance jobs
The direct impact of a hotter climate will increase the demand for air conditioning and refrigeration services. Even greater demand will be generated by the efforts to mitigate the increase in temperature and the adverse environmental impact of old technology air conditioning. Current air conditioning is used in 90% of American homes and adds more than 100 million tons of carbon dioxide to the environment each year. Replacement of older, energy-inefficient units with new higher efficiency ones, which can save 25 to 50% energy costs, will generate demand for installers and maintenance services. The hotter the world becomes, the greater the need for air conditioning in some cases where it will become essential for survival. The International Energy Agency’s “Future of Cooling” report noted “energy demand from cooling will triple by 2050, representing nearly a quarter of total electricity consumption today.
The search for alternative energy sources creates new technologies to replace inefficient heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment. System designers, installers, and maintenance people will be needed for this massive changeover.
Everything from installing smart technology control devices to using less harmful refrigerants to totally different energy sources such as geothermal energy, solar and solar energy will require substantial numbers of skilled HVAC technicians. A raft of new technologies to increase cooling while reducing toxic emissions is sure to offer continuing opportunities in this field over the following decades.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 70,000 jobs open in refrigeration and HVAC and that the shortage will continue to grow to 115,000 in the next several years. Salaries for HVAC technicians now range from $22/hour starting to $32/hour after ten years.
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that there is currently a shortage of 70,000 jobs in HVAC and Refrigeration, and the shortage will grow to 115,000 over the next few years. The field is projected to grow 15%, more than twice the growth of other job titles. This shortage is even more pronounced as more people retire from the field than entering, creating an even more significant shortage.
A career in HVAC has many attractive elements. Many two-year colleges offer training programs, many in conjunction with union apprenticeships, that lead directly to entry into the field. Many BOCES programs provide a head start on the career with HVAC-focused course sequences for high school and adult education students. Unions and other groups also provide training.
As with many technical fields, certification documents qualifications, and HVAC is no exception. The NITC offers a series of certifications for both journey and master-level HVAC specialists sought after by most employers.
HVAC offers a career with many paths to entry at a lost cost, advancement based on experience, job security, and the opportunity to be part of the effort to create a sustainable environment