HVAC Job Description: What Does An HVAC Technician Do

HVAC Job Description: What Does An HVAC Technician Do

Kindra K., Marketing Coordinator

HVAC Job Description: How to Hire an HVAC Technician for Your Small Business

As an HVAC technician, you have an important responsibility: to make a client’s home comfortable, whether that means fixing a broken heater during a cold spell or repairing an AC unit in the middle of a heatwave. Great technicians spend their days dedicated to the craft of installing, repairing, and maintaining heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in order to improve the climate and air quality of a home. More importantly, you have the ability to improve a customer’s quality of life and standard of living.

With this in mind, how do you go about hiring another technician for your small business who understands how to deliver outstanding HVAC services? Whether it’s a home heating system or humidity control for a world-renowned hospital, HVAC technicians are relied on for keeping buildings safe and comfortable.  You need to find someone whose work makes you proud and to who you’d give your personal stamp of approval.

In order to add an amazing technician to your team, you’ll need to understand how to write a captivating job description to attract the right people.

Want to know more about what an HVAC job description looks like so you can hire the perfect technician for your company? Use the links below to jump to any questions you have or keep reading for an in-depth look.

What General Skills Should an HVAC Candidate Have?

In 2016, nearly 400,000 qualified HVAC technicians were servicing customers across the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for HVAC technicians will increase by 15% over the next several years—meaning there will be a lot more trained professionals in the market. So what qualities make an amazing HVAC technician stand out above the rest? Let’s take a look at some skills to include within your job description.

The demand for HVAC technicians will increase by 15% over the next several years.

Typical duties you might want to include in an HVAC job description are:

  • Installing, connecting, and adjusting new thermostats in both urban and industrial environments

  • Repairing or replacing defective heaters, air conditioners, and refrigeration systems

  • Performing standard maintenance duties to increase system efficiency such as changing filters, cleaning ducts, or refilling refrigerants

  • Cutting or drilling holes in a building’s structure to better accommodate a HVAC system

  • Testing electrical circuits, carbon monoxide monitors, and smoke detectors to ensure all safety precautions have been taken

  • Examining blueprints to a building when updating or replacing an HVAC system

  • Testing tubes and pipes for leaks and then repairing faulty equipment

  • Installing low-voltage electrical wiring

  • Collaborating with marketing and engineering professionals to create product definitions and instructions that make sense to the everyday consumer

  • Troubleshooting any sort of HVAC problems in regards to temperature control, humidity control, air flow, etc.

  • Mounting new HVAC equipment onto walls, roofs, and floors

  • Responding to after-hours emergencies as needed

  • Using HVAC software to schedule appointments and manage customer payments

  • Consulting clients on how to make their HVAC systems more energy efficient and eco-friendly

  • Working with computerized systems to fix bugs or install software updates

HVAC technician working on wires

An HVAC technician job description should be thorough and it should note your company’s area of emphasis.

While many technicians work with all HVAC systems, your business is likely specialized in a single area. This could include exclusive work with refrigeration systems in the food processing industry, or perhaps thermostats in a home environment. You want to make sure your candidate knows which field they’ll be working in.

What Qualifications Does an HVAC Technician Need to Work for My Company?

The quality of interior air is an important factor for creating a safe and comfortable environment. Whether it’s at home, at work, or in a public building, HVAC technicians play a major role in regulating our indoor spaces so it’s important to hire a qualified professional for your business to carry out these critical tasks.

All HVAC technicians need formal training through post-secondary education at a trade or technical school. As you probably already know, students usually complete an apprenticeship under an experienced technician before fully entering the job market. Once they move into an entry-level position, there are many certifications they can pursue to qualify for specialised work and demonstrate specific skills.

Before choosing a technician for your business, make sure you’re familiar with HVAC technician requirements so you know your systems are in good hands. Requirements change depending on which state you live in, but standard qualifications include:

  • A high school diploma

  • Completion of an accredited HVAC program of 6 months and 2 years, or completion of a 3 to 5 year on-the-job apprenticeship

  • Industry, state, and national certifications and licenses

  • An EPA certification for technicians who work with refrigerators

In order to avoid HVAC invoicing mistakes or faulty repairs, ask your technician to show you which certifications they have completed. Have they worked for another HVAC business? Make sure to ask for references to get a feel for their work ethic.

What Education Details Should I Look for on a Prospective Technician’s Application?

When you’re considering a job candidate, it’s important to look at his or her full educational history. Below are examples of what an ideal HVAC candidate should have listed on their resume.

Primary education:

  • A  high school diploma or GED

  • Aptitude in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields

  • While STEM expertise isn’t necessary, the complex technical training involved in HVAC is made easier with a good grasp on mechanics, physics, and chemistry

Academic training:

  • Prospective technicians can receive a certification, Associate's degree, or Bachelor’s degree to gain necessary training - look for evidence of formal classes on an application

  • Courses range from HVAC technology to industry code standards, and it’s important to have a broad range of knowledge.

  • Make sure the technician took classes at an accredited institution

On-the-job training:

  • If the technician didn’t complete a formal education, look for proof of a 3 to 5 year paid apprenticeship

  • Ensure that on-the-job training was carried out by an experienced HVAC technician, if possible get the mentor’s phone number for a reference

  • Look for required 2,000 hours of hands-on training and 144 hours of technical education

  • Some common apprenticeships you might see listed on a resume are managed by:

    • Air Conditioning Contractors of America, Inc.

    • Associated Builders and Contractors

    • US Department of Labor Apprenticeship USA Program

Professional certifications:

  • This step varies by state, and different industries have different requirements for professional certifications.

  • Popular certifications are offered by:

    • North American Technician Excellence

    • Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association

    • HVAC Excellence

    • Environmental Protection Agency

Soft skills: In addition to the above qualifications, there are several “soft” skills an HVAC technician should possess to be successful in the workplace. These include:

  • Listening: A technician needs to be able to accurately diagnose a problem when a customer requests your services, and careful listening is the first step.

  • Good communication: Make sure technicians you hire have great communication skills. Much of an HVAC technician’s job involves following up with customers before and after completing the service to keep them in the loop. This involves speaking to them in person, over the phone, and by email.

  • Time management: Tardy technicians rarely receive repeat clients.

Critical thinking: HVAC systems can often be a puzzle to figure out, so a prospective HVAC technician must be competent at finding creative solutions to difficult problems.

Standard qualifications for an HVAC technician

How Do I Vet a Prospective HVAC Technician?

For home and business owners, the same HVAC problems seem to crop up again and again. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems you might want to ask a prospective technician. These questions help assess a technician’s problem-solving abilities and give you a sense of how they would operate out in the field.

Q: What devices would you check for a heating issue?

A: If a customer has noticed their indoor temperature getting chilly even when the heater is on, there could be many root causes. Problems with the pilot light, igniters, and various electrical components may be the reason for the lack of heat. A technician should be able to walk you through the process for how they would diagnose an issue.

HVAC tech with gloves working on thermostat

Q: How would you assess and fix uneven cooling?

A: If certain rooms are significantly colder than other rooms, there’s likely a problem with the sealing of pipes and ducts throughout the building. This is a serious problem because it’s wasting excessive amounts of energy without actually regulating the interior temperature. The technician should inspect all the ducts, pinpoint leaks, and clean out any debris that could be impacting the air flow.

Q: How would you determine poor air flow problems? What questions would you ask a customer? What are some possible repairs?

A: Does the house feel stuffy or smell dusty while your HVAC system is running? That could signal that you have dirty filters. Not only do these prevent the correct temperature from being pumped through the building, but it can also damage the performance of a HVAC unit over time. An HVAC technician can help clean clogged filters and determine whether any other parts need to be replaced. Make sure your candidate can describe these steps.

Q: How do you know whether an AC unit is properly sized?

A: Contrary to the idea that “bigger is better,” AC units that are too large for the space can trap humidity in the building. Because they cycle on and off too frequently, the humidity is never fully removed from the room. A technician should check the design of the building to ensure the customer has a unit that’s performing at optimal efficiency rather than just trying to upsell customers.

What Situation-Based Questions Should I Ask When Interviewing?

Aside from the necessary education and skills to enter the workforce, there are several other factors to consider before deciding whether or not you’re going to hire a prospect. In order to get a good read on your potential worker, ask applicants situational questions to get a sense of their work ethic and character.

Working in uncomfortable situations:

Q: Are you comfortable being around chemicals, working in confined spaces, or standing on a ladder to make necessary repairs?

  • Since a technician is the person called in to fix any malfunctions, it’s likely the applicant will often work in overly hot or overly cold conditions. Even if temperatures don’t reach an extreme, many HVAC systems require work to be done in cramped and awkward spaces.

  • Make sure the prospect isn’t claustrophobic or scared of heights because a job may involve climbing into a tight vent or making repairs to a unit on the outside of a tall building.

  • Also, keep in mind there are a few possible dangers of working with HVAC materials. Harmful refrigerants, electric shocks, and carbon monoxide poisoning are all dangers and risks a technician must be aware of.

Possibility of working odd hours:

Q:  Are you willing to go above and beyond to provide service, even if that means being on-call?

  • Broken HVAC systems have potentially catastrophic effects on both businesses and residential homes, which is why clients typically want to have repairs done as soon as possible. When an emergency strikes late at night or on a weekend, a technician may have to work outside of normal 9 to 5 hours.

Physical fitness:

Q: Are you capable of lifting 50 pounds, pushing heavy equipment, carrying ladders, and operating large vehicles?

  • A technician doesn’t need to be an Olympic athlete to work as a qualified HVAC technician. However, the job can be physically demanding at times, so it’s something to keep in mind as you hire.

Good customer service:

  • Q: Is customer service important to you? How will you respond to picky customers?

    • To be a great HVAC technician, a technician can’t just be good at fixing air conditioners—talking with clients is a big part of the job as well. A great team member will have patience with difficult customers, listen carefully to their concerns, and always show respect for their home. A technician with good customer skills could help you with word-of-mouth referrals and gain your more clients.

HVAC technician job descriptions vary on a wide scale across many different industries. Keep that in mind as you search for technicians with niche HVAC experience, such as:

  • Aerospace products and parts manufacturing

  • Colleges, universities, and other places of higher education

  • Industrial and commercial machinery or equipment repairs

  • Wired telecommunications carriers

  • Natural gas distribution and management

  • Hardware wholesale merchants

  • Household goods maintenance and repair

  • Building equipment contractors

When Would I Need an Additional HVAC Technician for My Business?

Your business can’t be run without great people.  If your small business is growing, your staffing needs may change.  Not sure if now is the time to add more technicians to your team? Keep the following considerations in mind.

When to hire more technicians:

  1. You’re spending too much time on non-critical business tasks: Is your work-life balance suffering because you’re consistently working around the clock to meet your customer’s needs? When you get home from work, do you find yourself finishing up extra to-do list items that didn’t get finished during the day? Are you stuck in an endless loop of administrative obligations instead of being out in the field or delegating jobs to tasks? If you’ve answered “yes” to most of these questions, it’s a good idea to look into getting extra help.

  2. The customer experience is not up to par: Are you getting negative reviews due to long wait times? Even if you and your staff work overtime to make customers happy, things can still easily slip through the cracks. Maybe customer inquiries have gone unanswered and you’re losing valuable prospective clients. If you’ve noticed an uptick of customer complaints, it might be time to expand your team to better serve customers and respond to negative reviews. Happy customers mean repeat customers, after all.

  3. Your staff is burned out: Everyone has tough weeks at work where the list of tasks seem never-ending. But have you noticed your employees are having issues keeping up with their jobs? Do you notice a lack of enthusiasm and drive among dedicated employees? Is your technicians’ attention to detail suffering? Are people calling out sick more often? Don’t ignore these red flags, these are signs that your employees are burned out. Adding more employees can help spread out the workload more efficiently and provide your customers with better service.

  4. Keep the bottom line in mind: When you’re trying to determine the right number of employees to add to your business, don’t forget about your overall budget. Only hire as many people as you truly need so you won’t dig into your own profits if you don’t see an increase in sales.

Reliable technicians are priceless. HVAC systems involve complex wiring and potential safety hazards, so if you do decide to hire a new team member, go slow and make sure you offer a job to the best possible candidate.

How Can I Add an HVAC Technician to my Business?

Is it time to start attracting talented technicians? A few years ago, there were over 332,900 qualified HVAC techs in the United States alone—and according to the Bureau of Statistics, that number is only going up. Take a look at this sample HVAC job description and use it as a template to encourage the best of the best to join your team.

In 2016, over 332,900 qualified HVAC technicians were servicing customers across the United States.

Our HVAC Job Description

Who We Are: Use this section to describe your company and why a potential employee should be eager to work for you.

Example: Do you want to be part of a team that helps each other grow? Do you like flexible work schedules? How about access to top-notch specialization certification programs on the company’s dime? Then look no further. We’re the #1 rated HVAC service team in the area and we’re dedicated to serving the community with integrity and efficiency. If you want to feel appreciated on the job and find a position where you have room to grow, we’d love to hear from you.

Why We Need You: Use this section to persuade a potential employee to choose you over other companies.

Example: Because we provide state-of-the-art services to all our customers, we need employees who are the cream of the crop. If you want to have a career instead of just a job, it’s time to send your resume over to us. We offer competitive salaries, generous paid time off, medical insurance, a matching 401(k) policy, and a crew of smiling faces to greet you at work every morning.

Qualifications: Use this section to outline the primary requirements for the HVAC technician you want to hire.

Example:  In order to be part of our team, we need you to have:

  • 3+ years of experience with residential HVAC troubleshooting, service, and maintenance   

  • A valid driver’s license and clean driving record

  • An EPA certification   

  • A willingness to put in late hours and weekends when you perform on-call duties

  • A hunger for learning more specialized techniques through certification courses and seminars

  • The ability to pass a pre-employment background check and drug screen

  • Great customer service both on the phone and in person      

Application Requirements: Use this section to ask for any specific documents to prove the candidate is qualified.    

Example: To apply, please send over your resume and cover letter. In the cover letter, please answer the following questions in individual paragraphs:

  • What area of the HVAC industry are you the most interested in?

  • Describe a particularly challenging assignment and how you fixed it.

  • How has your prior experience prepared you to work for us?

While the type of HVAC technician job description will vary depending on the position, this template will generate qualified leads so you can attract the most experienced and enthusiastic professionals to your business.

Once you’ve completed your job listing, be sure to post it on trusted sites that can help you attract the right applicants. Sites like Monster.com, Indeed, LinkedIn, and even Craigslist are a good place to start.

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