How to Get Ahead with a HVAC Career
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and refrigeration is an essential service. Would you want to be stuck in an office building without AC on a 90 degree, humid summer day? Or would you want to get a freezer-burned bag of broccoli from your local supermarket because the freezer was broken?
HVAC service technicians are often the hero of the day for many businesses when something goes wrong and there is money on the line when product or productivity is in jeopardy.
For a HVAC technician or refrigeration technician, no two days are alike. One day you could be working on anything from commercial furnaces to fractional hp Traulsens and walk-in freezers, chillers, and boilers, commercial grills, broilers or fryers.
It’s easy to be a superhero. You can develop your super skills to keep HVAC and refrigeration systems working at peak performance and repair them when broken by contacting your nearest HVAC local.
The four HVAC locals in New Jersey work together to offer a comprehensive, industry-leading training program for HVAC and refrigeration technicians.
Completing the 9,000-hour program, which is mostly composed of hand-on training to become a top technician, takes five years. Each year, there are 1,800 hours in the field accompanied by a skilled journeyman, along with some classroom training. The union training program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and curriculum exceeds DOL standards.
The apprentice-journeyman relationship is a unique one. The experienced journeyman is a teacher and mentor to the apprentice, which is an extremely beneficial relationship to build. There are many benefits to having a mentor in addition to absorbing the knowledge they are willingly sharing.
One of the biggest things to take away from a journeyman mentor is a vision for the future. They have been in apprentice shoes and understand it is a difficult place to be, but the union is a brotherhood and each journeyman wants to see the apprentices succeed because they are the next generation of leaders in the industry.
Maybe an apprentice can teach a journeyman a thing or two as well! Maybe a young apprentice is savvy in social media and can offer tips about social sites to help the journeyman or contractor build their HVAC and refrigeration business.
Apprentices and journeymen in the unions are employed by a network of contractors that all pay the same wages and offer the same benefits. If everyone in the union is being paid the same with the same benefits, it encourages technicians to stay in their positions longer, eliminating turnover, creating more stable work environments.
The average union wage is $58.89 among the four New Jersey HVAC unions, which equates to $122,903 annually when calculated with the national standard of 2,087 hours per year for full time workers. This is 60 percent above the national average hourly wage of $23.23 with an average annual wage of $48,320, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. BLS data shows the average annual New Jersey wage to be $58,420 or $28.08 per hour.
One key feature of union wages is the wage you are paid per hour includes benefits. Whereas in the private sector, benefits such as health insurance and retirement are taken out of your take-home pay.
Want to be a superhero and save the day? Join one of your HVAC locals.