An HVAC technician checks the temperature gauges on an a/c unit (image source: KOMUnews)
If you’re considering becoming an HVAC technician, one of your first priorities will be to find a thorough and well-respected training program that will help you build a competitive skillset.
You will look into certification requirements, hiring trends, and average starting salaries. And perhaps most importantly, you will research what it takes to be successful as an HVAC technician, and get hired by a great company.
This post will give prospective and current students a clear idea of which skills matter most to HVAC employers. These are the abilities you will start building in pre-apprenticeship training, and should continue developing throughout your entire HVAC career.
1. Thorough Knowledge of HVAC Systems & Methods
Employers want HVAC technicians who are familiar with a wide range of HVAC systems, controls, and installation methods. Even beginners should know the fundamentals of heating and cooling systems, how to thread and install gas piping, how duct systems are organized, and various ventilation methods.
The more technical knowledge an HVAC technician has from the start, the quicker he or she will be able to absorb new skills—an attribute employers consider highly valuable.
2. Natural Customer Service & Sales Skills
Global HVAC provider, Lennox International Inc., recently published a post on which skills matter most for HVAC techs—with “personality” topping the list, just after technical skills.
Lennox says building rapport with bosses and customers is crucial for technicians, both for making sales and for becoming a valued employee. They ask Lennox technicians to follow the company rule of thumb for communication: “when you leave a conversation, other people should feel better about themselves and you.”
HVAC companies want technicians who will take extra time to explain repairs and new products to customers, and answer all of their questions thoroughly—even if those answers seem obvious.
Technicians must be able to make clients (and prospective clients) feel comfortable, and inspire trust. They are the “face” of the company out in the field, where making a good impression is crucial for business success.
3. Knowledge of HVAC Safety Standards and Protocols
Preventative safety skills are key for HVAC technicians, as well as for the people they serve in the community. Employers want techs who understand and apply safety procedures for working at heights, in confined spaces, with scaffolding, etc.
HVAC companies look for candidates who know relevant regulations from the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and environmental refrigerant laws. They know the reputation of the company, and the safety of team members, rests on how well technicians understand and follow industry safety protocols.
4. Problem-Solving & Troubleshooting Skills
HVAC employers need technicians who can quickly size up a malfunctioning system, identity possible problems, brainstorm solutions, and implement troubleshooting steps. Diagnostic and testing skills are essential for delivering timely, safe, and effective client services.
Companies want techs who think on their feet, know a variety of troubleshooting techniques, and are familiar with the latest testing equipment (airflow meters, humidity recorders, voltmeters, gas leak detectors, etc.)
5. Willingness to Continue Learning About HVAC Technologies
The world of HVAC is constantly evolving toward new products and approaches, challenging even veteran technicians to keep up the pace. In particular, the push for greater energy efficiency is driving powerful new HVAC trends, such as:
- phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) in favour of Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants
- the rise of variable speed technologies, such as variable speed fan motors, which improve electrical efficiency, air quality, and humidity control
- the rise of “zero emission building plans” and other green building standards and certifications (which HVAC professionals should know about)
HVAC companies need technicians who are motivated to stay on top of industry trends and seek out professional development training to continuously improve their skills. Companies with cutting edge technicians are best positioned to earn the next generation of HVAC customers.
Interested in learning more about starting your own HVAC career? Looking for trustworthy HVAC training in Ontario?
Consider the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute’s HVAC Training program, available at both the Toronto and Cambridge campuses.
Visit the program page for a complete list of HVAC courses included in training, to learn more about the program, or to chat live with a friendly advisor. We’re here to help!