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Many skilled individuals are involved in the design, sale, installation, and repair of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units. HVAC workers are essential in providing comfortable, temperature-controlled atmospheres in private residencies as well as offices, schools, hospitals, warehouses, and other large structures where people live and work. People who are interested in HVAC employment might pursue careers as engineers, fabricators, technicians, or salespeople. Depending on the nature of HVAC employment, individuals are usually required to pursue some form of higher education and complete formal training programs.
Research and development departments of HVAC manufacturing plants hire skilled engineers to create, test, and build new units. Engineers use their advanced knowledge of math and physics to design systems that are efficient, cost effective, environmentally friendly, and simple to use and maintain. They commonly employ computer-aided drafting software and various other programs to help them design blueprints and perform hypothetical tests on units. Many engineers work with a team of assemblers to build and test prototypes. To obtain HVAC employment as an engineer, an individual is usually required to obtain a bachelor's degree or higher in mechanical engineering and complete formal, on-the-job training from established professionals.
Assemblers and fabricators manufacture the component parts of HVAC systems. Workers use a number of hand, power, and computer-controlled tools to cut, bend, weld, and shape pieces. Specialty workers often manipulate robotic equipment to assemble final products. Some systems, however, are shipped to retail stores or end users only partially assembled; the pieces arrive in boxes with special instructions on how to construct units. Assemblers and fabricators can gain HVAC employment by obtaining certification from accredited vocational schools or participating in formal apprenticeships.
When a home or business owner wants to purchase a new HVAC system, he or she usually consults knowledgeable salespeople at distribution plants, HVAC shops, or specialty hardware stores. Salesmen and women receive detailed instruction from trainers on the different types of HVAC systems and the best options for various facilities. Some salespeople and consultants visit customers' homes or businesses to help them determine what type of system to purchase and how much it will cost.
Many skilled journeymen find HVAC employment as technicians, who are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing systems. Professionals follow blueprints and instructions to ensure that new systems are installed properly and safely. They usually possess detailed knowledge on how to troubleshoot faulty motors, gauges, and pressurized pumps. HVAC technicians are usually required to complete vocational training and lengthy apprenticeships to master the difficult trade. In addition, many states and countries require new technicians to pass extensive licensing examinations before working independently.