Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning mechanics, or HVAC mechanics, install, maintain, and repair heating ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems within buildings. Their job involves connecting systems to fuel and water supply lines and air ducts as well as inspecting and replacing worn or broken parts within these systems. They are required to read blueprints, design specifications and work orders, as well as monitor energy usage and make recommendations on how to improve efficiency if appropriate. The majority of HVAC mechanics work indoors, in occasionally uncomfortable or tight spaces. They can work in homes, schools, business, or factories, or anywhere else where heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or refrigeration systems are found. There is a higher rate of workplace injury than average for HVAC mechanics due to working with potentially dangerous materials and equipment. Appropriate safety equipment and procedures are vitally important to prevent electrical shock, burns, frostbite, and muscle strains. The position generally requires some kind of post-secondary certification or completion of an apprenticeship program. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires any HVAC mechanic working with refrigerants to be formally certified in their proper handling.
Because HVAC mechanics are required to maintain, repair, and operate machinery, equipment, and complex mechanical systems, the Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude (WTMA) is recommended to assess an applicant’s overall mechanical aptitude. The Workplace Productivity Profile (WPP) is also a recommended assessment for HVAC mechanics since they can work in customer’s homes. The WPP is a behavioral risk assessment that looks at a candidate’s reliability, work ethic, and attitudes towards theft as well their attitude towards following rules and procedures, including safety protocols.
When hiring for HVAC mechanics that work directly with customers, it may also be appropriate to administer a personality assessment. The Customer Service Aptitude Profile (CSAP) looks at personality traits like cooperativeness, patience, and diplomacy that are crucial for positions related to customer service. (Read our whitepaper to learn how testing can help close the skills gap by identifying potential.)
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Median wage in U.S.:
Expected growth rate 2014-2024:
Number employed (2014): 292,000
Education level of HVAC Mechanics: