HVAC engineers use math and science to plan and design the systems that HVAC technicians install and repair. Just like techs, engineers have to learn all the intricate details of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.
How To Become An Engineer
To be an HVAC engineer, get a bachelor's degree, usually in mechanical engineering. You’ll study subjects including math, science, and computer skills—and you will need to enjoy these topics to succeed in the field. You'll also study the many different types of HVAC structures and technologies. You’ll walk away knowing what each building needs, and how to deal with any exceptions or odd situations that come up.
In addition to your degree, you will need to do continuing education and get certified. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) provides several training courses in HVAC design and operations that you will want to take. You'll likely need an ASHRAE certification if you go into something specialized—such as performance management—or if you plan to work in healthcare facilities only.
Developing Other Skills
Book knowledge is a necessity, but don’t forget to work on life skills while you learn HVAC facts. Creativity will help you out as you plan and design: Every system layout will present different challenges, and you need to come up with the most efficient solution. One misplaced wire, pipe, or vent could compromise the efficiency of the unit, the safety of the facility, or even the entire structure.
Grow your management and decision-making skills. You will be looked up to as an HVAC professional and expert, and you will want to feel confident with your choices. Practice delegation now, and polish your leadership skills.
Choosing Your Specialty
There is a wide range of opportunities in the HVAC industry, and you can choose to focus your work on residential or commercial jobs. It’s good to try out both, and you may have to start with residential work to gain experience before running a large-scale commercial project.
Is This The Job For You?
HVAC engineers make comfortable salaries, and you’ll get to solve problems and create better solutions at work every day. Get connected with an HVAC school/program near you—fill out our form to get started today.