Explore the Different HVAC Careers


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Most people don’t think about HVAC until the air conditioning unit on their home stops working, but there is so much more to the HVAC field than just keeping homes a comfortable temperature. Yes, there is a great demand for technicians who know how to fix residential and commercial air conditioning units, but trained HVAC professionals also install entirely new systems, help make systems run more efficiently by installing green equipment, maintain and repair refrigeration equipment and even work on air conditioning systems within vehicles. HVAC professionals may work on construction sites and rooftops or do repairs and maintenance for businesses or homeowners.


With the right training, the opportunities within the HVAC field are varied and exciting. Each provides a unique challenge. For anyone who enjoys solving complex problems, HVAC is a great trade to learn.


Interested in becoming an HVAC Technician? Consider enrolling in UEI College's HVAC Program.

HVAC Technician vs HVAC Installer: What Are the Differences?

HVAC Technician and HVAC Installer are two titles that get confused often. The roles are very similar.


The major difference between HVAC Technicians and HVAC Installers is that HVAC Installers work primarily with brand-new equipment, hooking it up to power sources and ensuring it is running efficiently. HVAC Technicians focus more on troubleshooting issues and performing basic maintenance like changing and cleaning filters.


Both are important positions in the field and a good training program will give you the fundamental skills and knowledge to do both roles.

What is an HVAC Technician?

An HVAC Technician repairs or maintains air conditioning and heating units. A technician may:


  • Travel to homes and businesses to inspect and diagnose system issues
  • Provide excellent customer service by discussing issues and possible solutions with customers
  • Inspect equipment for any wear and tear
  • Replace worn-out or broken parts
  • Troubleshoot mechanical or electrical issues
  • Clean filters and perform other maintenance as needed
  • Test system efficiency
  • Check system warranty information


HVAC Technicians do whatever it takes to get a worn-out system running again. This may mean replacing parts, tubes, or wires or installing an entirely new system altogether. HVAC technicians must know how to diagnose an issue and prevent it. This takes a great deal of training and trial and error.

What is an HVAC Installer?

An HVAC Installer is someone who specializes in installing entirely new HVAC systems. HVAC Installers may work in newly-constructed buildings, or they may install new equipment to replace older equipment in homes and businesses. They work with both residential and commercial equipment. Their job duties include:


  • Reading blueprints to understand designs
  • Understanding all the latest technology and safety measures
  • Using power tools to install new systems
  • Testing equipment to ensure it is installed properly
  • Safely dispose of older equipment and chemicals


The duties of HVAC Technicians and HVAC Installers often overlap. Both have the training to maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, and both also have the skills and knowledge to install new parts or systems, but specializing in one area over the other allows HVAC professionals to become experts in their role and complete it at a quicker pace.

What Are the Different HVAC Careers?

There are several different HVAC careers. In the HVAC industry, you may see these titles:


Air Conditioning Technician

This is the most popular position in the HVAC industry and the one most people are familiar with. Air Conditioning Technicians respond to service calls from homeowners or businesses whose air conditioning unit needs maintenance or repairs. These technicians need to understand how the system works, the power sources it is connected to, and different ways to troubleshoot issues.


Sales Associate

Sales associates are the ones to meet with customers to discuss their needs and options. They may specialize in certain products or equipment. This position does require a good knowledge of how the system functions to give the best recommendation to the customer.


HVAC Engineer

Engineers are the professionals who design the equipment and systems used in the HVAC industry. They ensure the equipment they are designing handles humidity, air pressure, and natural elements and works through out the building to circulate air with efficiency.


HVAC Installer

HVAC installers work primarily with new equipment, setting up new systems or units in homes and businesses. They may also work on buildings that are still under construction. They are responsible for ensuring the system is set up safely and also for teaching the owners of the system how to extend its life with regular maintenance.


Refrigeration Technician

Refrigeration technicians specialize in repairing and maintaining refrigerators, freezers, and ice machines. The equipment they are working on may be commercial or residential, and this position may require squeezing into small spaces to inspect equipment. Technicians in this position also deal with dangerous chemicals often and need special training to handle that.


Service Manager

Service managers work more behind the scenes of a heating and air company. They are the ones responsible for taking calls, creating a service schedule for technicians, and ensuring the work is carried out, and the customers are happy. They may be the ones to take complaints from customers and address these concerns with technicians. They may also be responsible for training new technicians.


Solar Technician

Solar technology is becoming increasingly popular as a source of electricity, and one of the largest uses of electricity in a home is the air conditioning unit. Many HVAC technicians find it’s a very natural transition from working on complex HVAC equipment to working on complex solar equipment.



No matter the role you see yourself in, a good training program will give you the fundamentals to get started in most areas of HVAC. Further training, certifications, and experience are what will allow you to specialize in installations, repairs, solar energy, or more. No matter the path that attracts you, the first step is just getting some basic training through an accredited HVAC training program.

What is an HVAC Mechanic?

An HVAC mechanic specializes in troubleshooting problems and making repairs to air conditioning, heating, and ventilation equipment. Their role is very similar to an HVAC technician, but a mechanic has the training and skills to handle more complex issues. HVAC mechanics have more training or experience that helps them understand the deeper mechanics of the systems they are working with.

What is a Refrigeration Mechanic?

A refrigeration mechanic repairs and maintains refrigerators, freezers, and ice machines. They may repair small household appliances but are more commonly called on to repair commercial equipment in restaurants and grocery stores. Their duties may include:


  • Diagnose issues with refrigerators, freezers, or ice machines
  • Replace tubes, wires, switches, pipes, and motors as needed
  • Ensure proper connection to plumbing and electricity
  • Safely dispose of or change out chemicals
  • Perform tests to ensure the equipment is functioning properly


If you are interested in an HVAC career but unsure about which path to take, don’t worry! The easiest way to get into the HVAC field is by completing an HVAC training course. An HVAC Program will prepare you for various entry-level HVAC Technician Positions.


You may decide during your program that one path seems more appealing. If that’s the case, you may want to get further certifications in that area or look for an entry-level position that will provide the best opportunity for advancement and further training. Many companies specialize in one component over another. Speaking with a manager at that business can give you a better idea of the training and experience they look for during the hiring process.


As you go through an HVAC training program like the one at UEI College with skillful instructors, you can also lean on their experience and hear from someone who has worked in the field what each area is like. Their advice may help you narrow down which position is of most interest to you and will set you up for a long and fulfilling entry-level career in HVAC.

Enroll in UEI College's HVAC Program

The HVAC Training program at UEI College is focused on real-world experience that will prepare you for an entry-level position in less than 10 months.


Our hands-on training allows students to gain a deeper understanding of HVAC equipment and learn from experienced instructors what it is like to work in the field.


With flexible course schedules, experienced instructors, and ongoing enrollment, there’s no reason to wait to begin your new career in HVAC.


Enroll in UEI College's HVAC Program!