The field of Air Conditioning Technology is constantly advancing and is rapidly growing. The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that the job outlook for Air Conditioning Mechanics and Installers is expected to grow at a rate of 34% over the next twelve years while adding over 90,000 new jobs. This rate of growth is much faster than average and employers are eager to hire high qualified technicians to fill these new jobs.
An AC technician installs, maintains, and repairs residential and commercial air conditioning units while monitoring air quality and energy efficiency. These technicians typically travel to their worksites while working for a company that specializes in air conditioning installation and repair. The specific duties of an air conditioning technician are varied and highly specific to the field. Technicians are expected to understand and follow technical blueprints, install and test wiring and controls, inspect entire units in search of damage or defect, run a series of tests to ensure units are working properly, and replace or repair any damaged or defective components.
Since the job of an air conditioning technician is highly specialized and technical, employers are looking for technicians that meet specific criteria. Employers want to hire technicians who are:
- Well educated A reputable air conditioning technology program will prepare students for both the current field as well as the future of the profession. Completing an educational program will ensure that students have plenty of opportunities for practical learning and the core knowledge to carry out all technician responsibilities.
- Licensed and certified There are a variety of state, local, and federal agencies that provide licensing and certification. Although some of these requirements depend on the area in which you live, certification through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required of every technician in the United States. The EPA has a variety of certifications, both general and equipment specific, that technicians must complete as part of the Clean Air Act of 1994.
- Proficient with technology An air conditioning technician must be technologically proficient on a variety of levels. As air conditioning systems become more advanced they will inevitably contain more computerized components. Technicians also depend on mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones to communicate with their employers, schedule and track jobs, and manage orders and customer data.
- Technically minded The installation and maintenance of air conditioning systems require that technicians are able to read and interpret technical blueprints and manuals. A technician must be able to use these technical resources to identify problems with the air conditioning system. What often appears to be a systemic failure of the entire system can be traced to much smaller, specific defects or damage. A qualified technician will be able to use his technical expertise to identify the core problem.
- Personable Most air conditioning technicians travel to the customer’s home or business to install, maintain, and repair the system. Employers are searching for technicians who are personable, friendly, and will represent the company well. A technician is the face of the company in the work field and employers need to ensure that their business is being well represented.
- Adaptable An air conditioning technician must be able to adapt to a rapidly changing situation and take responsibility for his decisions. Many times, a simple maintenance call can turn into a much larger repair. When this happens it is necessary that the technician be able to explain the situation to the customer and adapt technically to the changing service needs.
- Dependable and honest An air conditioning technician often operates in the field alone and must be trusted with company assets and in customers’ homes. An employer is seeking to hire technicians who are dependable, honest, and maintain a high level of integrity.
- Takes initiative When an air conditioning system is not working properly time is of the essence. Both the customer and the employer want the unit repaired quickly and correctly. This requires a technician take initiative to solve problems, meet the customer’s needs, and work most efficiently.
Which of these eight characteristics do you think is most important in an AC technician?