Working as an HVAC Mechanic in Des Moines
A career in heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC)
can be challenging, but it also offers plenty of rewards for those willing to work hard and deal the potential discomfort of a hot, cold or poorly-ventilated workplace. The job requires mechanics to install, maintain and repair heating, cooling, refrigeration and ventilation systems in a variety of settings, including homes, office buildings and schools.
Job Outlook and Salary for HVAC Mechanics
In the midst of a struggling economy, HVAC profession has been experiencing growth. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of HACR mechanics and installers is projected to grow 21 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, with an anticipated addition of over 55,000 new jobs over the course of the next decade.
Future employment represents just one of several advantages of pursuing work in HVAC. The average salary in this field is quite competitive. In 2012, the BLS reports a median annual wage of $43,640 for HVAC mechanics and installers.
Income can vary greatly from one region to the next, with mechanics often able to secure higher paying jobs by obtaining additional certifications or degrees. The outlook for HVAC mechanics is better in Des Moines than in other cities, thanks in part to an economy that has fared surprisingly well in the aftermath of the recession.
Forbes recently referred to Des Moines as the number one location for business and careers, indicating that, for HVAC professionals, this is an excellent place to seek employment.
The Standard HVAC Career Path
The actual career path an HVAC technician takes will vary depending on the company or companies a person works for. Typically this career path will advance through four different stages of increasing responsibility and therefore increasing pay levels. These stages include:
Most people who graduate with an HVAC degree begin as service technicians, providing repair, installation and maintenance services to residential and commercial customers.
Works overseeing other technicians in the company.
This position oversees the bigger picture for an HVAC company, including managing field managers.
Moving into the business side of a company, working to increase market penetration and increase sales on a company-wide level.
Education and Training for HVAC Mechanics
Aspiring mechanics do not need to have advanced degrees in order to pursue careers in HVAC, but some form of post-secondary education is suggested. Most professionals end up pursuing HVAC certificates
before landing entry level positions.
Apprenticeship serves as a popular point of entry into the field, with many aspiring Des Moines mechanics seeking both education and valuable experience through the UA Local 33's apprenticeship program
Although education requirements for entry into the field of HVAC are minimal, further advancement may hinge upon a mechanic's ability to obtain additional credentials, whether that means earning two or four-year degrees or certificates for in-demand specialties.
The following are a few areas in which extra coursework may help Des Moines mechanics land high-paying work:
- Eco friendly heating and cooling
- Heat pump systems
- Ductwork and piping
- Facilities management
HVAC Mechanic Resources
HVAC Mechanics in the Des Moines area enjoy easy access to a wide array of valuable resources. Those interested in apprenticeships and other forms of training may benefit from UA Local 33 membership. This local union serves plumbers and mechanics throughout the state of Iowa.
Students interested in pursuing HVAC enjoy access to professionals with real-world experience through Vatterott College's Des Moines HVAC program. This diploma program allows students to gain important knowledge and skills in refrigeration, electricity and heating fundamentals.
Although it operates on a national level, the Air Conditioning Contractors Of America (ACCA) serves as an excellent resource for HVAC professionals in Iowa. The organization hosts several educational conferences; chock full of information on the latest developments in this quickly-changing field.
Other valuable resources for Des Moines mechanics:
- Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors of Iowa (PHCC)
- Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa (ABC)
- Mechanical Contractors Association of Iowa
- Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)