The purpose of this degree is to prepare students to repair and maintain heating, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment in commercial and industrial high-rise environments.
This program is intended to lead to employment. A student who is considering transferring to a four-year college or university to obtain a bachelor's degree using the courses from this program should make an appointment with an academic advisor to review the options.
Nature of Work—Heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems consist of many mechanical, electrical and electronic components such as motors, compressors, pumps, fans, ducts, pipes, thermostats, and switches. For example, in central forced-air heating systems, a furnace heats air that is distributed throughout the building via a system of metal or fiberglass ducts. Technicians must be able to maintain, diagnose and correct problems throughout the entire system. To do this, they adjust system controls to recommended settings and test the performance of the entire system using special tools and test equipment.
Related Job Titles—Heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers work with sheet metal and piping, and repair machinery such as electrical motors, compressors and burners. Other workers who have similar skills include boilermakers, home appliance repairers, electricians, sheet metal works, pipe layers, plumbers, pipe fitters, and steam fitters.
Employment Outlook—Job prospects for heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are expected to be excellent, particularly for those with training from an accredited technical school or with formal apprenticeship training, and especially in the fastest growing areas of the country. A growing number of retirements of highly skilled technicians are expected to generate many job openings. In addition, employment of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to increase faster than average for all occupations through the year 2018. As the population and stock of buildings grows, so does the demand for residential, commercial and industrial climate-control systems. The increased complexity of heating, venting, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, increases the possibility that equipment may malfunction, which also will create the need for service. Those who specialize in installation work may experience periods of unemployment when the level of new construction activity declines, but maintenance and repair work usually remains relatively stable. Individuals and businesses depend on their climate-control systems to keep them in good working order, regardless of economic conditions.
Earnings—Median earnings in 2010 for HAC
stationary engineers were $25.07 per hour and $52,140 in annual salary. About 15
percent of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers
are members of a union. The unions to which the greatest numbers of mechanics
and installers belong are the Street Metal Workers International Association,
and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and
Pipe Fitting of the United States and Canada.
For job and internship listings as well as job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in the Student Services Center, S202, (708) 974-5737, morainevalley.edu/jpc.
The median salary in Chicago for HVAC mechanic III
is $57,014 Salaries range between $45,693 to $70,733.