Air conditioning and heating systems bring comfort to building occupants and residents. When they stop working, health hazards may arise for especially vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with existing health problems. The following air conditioning technician job description explains the responsibilities, skills, education and work experience needed to serve customers.
What Does an Air Conditioning Technician Do?
Air conditioning technicians possess the task of installing efficiently-run heating and air conditioning systems and servicing them when needed or schedule. Fulfilling the duties means assuming the roles of advisor to property owners, mechanics and customer service representative.
Air Conditioning Technician Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities
- Read and study blueprints, plans and manufacturer specifications
- Install units, thermostats and components according to plans, specifications and installation agreement
- Test unit after installation to ensure proper operation
- Inform owner or unit user of warranty information, recommended care of unit and operating instructions
- Service and maintain unit according to contract with owner and agreed upon schedule
- Diagnose sources or reasons for unit malfunction and recommend solution to customer
- Repair unit or arrange for and replace malfunctioned unit according to customer’s consent and requests
- Fix or replace thermostat, Freon and other parts or suppliers
- Respond to emergency calls for service
- Remove old parts, wires or components and trash from work area
- Dispose of Freon or other air conditioning refrigerants or parts according to environmental and other applicable laws, regulations and local ordinances
Air Conditioning Technician Required/Essential Skills
Customer Service. Technicians face upset or panicked customers due to unrepaired problems or broken units, especially during hot weather. Skills in courtesy and patience are necessary to retain the business of the technician’s company, the dealer and the manufacturer. In certain respects, air conditioning technicians represent the brand upon which they work.
Customer service also requires technicians to present detailed and accurate work orders and invoices showing the customer the work performed and for which the customer is charged.
Math. Skills in calculation allow technicians to know the energy and load requirements for cooling a particular space. Customers may also ask technicians about how a particular unit or temperature affects usage and, therefore, utility bills.
Mechanical. Air conditioning technicians must master how units and systems operate. This includes knowing what activates fans, defrosting units and climate control functions. Handling wires, turning bolts and screws, wrapping pipes and pulling wires are among other mechanical skills of a technician.
Physical. Air condition units are heavy. Technicians must be able to lift them, even with assistance from partner. Having stamina and good condition allows technicians to withstand heat and humid conditions when units need repair in the summer.
As air conditioning may be part of a unit with heating elements, technicians may be called upon to repair units even in the colder months when heat is necessary. Repairs and installation involve lengthy standing, bending and squatting.
Problem-Solving. Part of solving problems with a unit or system involves the ability to troubleshoot. Air condition technicians must employ their knowledge of the system and its operation to determine the source of the problem and then offer alternatives for solutions.
Reading. Air conditioning technicians must be able to read plans, drawings and manuals to be able to install the system and initiate its proper operation. Reading skills allow technicians to answer customer inquiries about use of the system.
Becoming a Air Conditioning Technician
To achieve an air conditioning technician career requires education and extensive understudy training. Depending on the state or local jurisdiction, an air conditioning technician must be licensed.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates certification by an appropriate agency or board to work on refrigerant systems and units. Many organizations certify air conditioning technicians.
Education and Training
Most air conditioning technicians earn an associate’s degree or a post-secondary certificate in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Programs can run six months to two years.
Much of the training and initial experience comes via apprenticeships. In these programs, an aspiring technician works under the tutelage and supervision of a licensed or certified technician. Apprentices serve three to five years in the role and must, on an annual basis, log 2,000 hours in on-the-job work and 144 hours in classroom or similar instruction.
The apprenticeship program teaches trainees about the operation of units, safety measures in handling units and reading blueprints and surveys.
Experience is also need to qualify for certification exams. Technicians with two years or less experience and certain coursework can take entry-level certification examinations. For those who have at least one year of work in installation and two years in repair may achieve certification in particular types of HVAC units through that experience and passing exams.
The experience required for specific employment depends upon the employer and the scope of the employer’s business. A longer work history may be required for technicians who work on more complicated or expansive systems, such as those found in industrial, office or retail buildings.
Air conditioning technicians work full-time. Due to seasonally-high demands, especially in hot or cold conditions, or emergencies, HVAC technicians perform duties on evenings and weekends.
Self-employed technicians generally have more flexibility in their hours of work. Some, especially solo practitioners, might not work evenings.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of “Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers” should rise by 14 percent by 2024. In 2014, the occupation numbered 292,000 and is projected to have 331,600 by 2024.
Demand for heating and air conditioning technicians turns in part on the prevalence of building projects in an area. Construction of homes, offices and facilities such as arenas, medical centers and stores, will require installation of new units. The need for replacements also comes from the aging of units, as most have a useful life of ten to 15 years. Repair services fulfill not only the need for comfort but also health of residents and occupants of buildings.
Regulations also afford another source of demand for technicians. Environmental regulations may call for the phase out of types of refrigerant or cooling systems, which will affect especially properties with older units. Air conditioning technicians who are trained and experienced in working with newer, more environmental-friendly units will have stronger prospects at employment or sustaining their business.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in May 2014, ten percent of “Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers” were self-employed.
Becoming an air conditioning technician requires significant education and training. Environmental laws and concerns have fueled new types of systems, which increases the knowledge and skills these mechanics must possess. Those who develop expertise in new, as well as current, technologies and systems can take fuller advantage of their certifications, training and experience to land jobs with companies or contracts as independent technicians.