Many of the skilled trades are thought to be more male oriented, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) included. But if you're a woman and want to go into HVAC, don't let that stereotype stop you.
In this career, it's the brains that matter. Training and acquired knowledge are what qualify any technician as good.
Women and HVAC
There is projected to be an increase of 19,000 new HVAC positions between now and 2030 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov).
There’s a lot of room for women in this field, yet most females going into a skilled trade will look into beauty or medical for career options. Tides are shifting, and more women are starting to head into male-dominated fields, HVAC included.
How to Pursue an HVAC Career
Becoming an HVAC tech is the same process regardless of your sex. Women heading into the HVAC trade will go through the same rigorous training as their male classmates. You’ll have to decide whether you want to go through an apprenticeship, or through an HVAC program at a community college or trade school. There isn’t a wrong choice.
To become an HVAC tech, you must:
- Get your high school diploma or GED.
- Enroll in an apprenticeship, community college, or trade school. Apprenticeships take 3-5 years to complete. Associate degrees will take two years if you attend full time. Certificate programs can have you career-ready in as few as six months.
- Be licensed—most states will require it.
- Earn your certification. The EPA requires anyone handling refrigerants to be certified.
Once you have your license and certification, you are able to work as an HVAC technician.
Scholarships For Women Heading Into HVAC
There are many scholarships options available to people going into a trade profession. Most are non-gender related, so anyone is able to apply for them. But, there are a few specific scholarships out there to help women pay for their HVAC education.
- Neighborly: Scholarships are available for women going into any construction-related trade such as HVAC. The funds from the scholarship must be used for an accredited program. It covers tuition, books, and other fees associated with the education.
- The Refrigeration School: This scholarship is only available to women enrolled in The Refrigeration School’s HVAC program. Scholarships are for those who demonstrate they are in need, and will not exceed $3,000.
- Women in HVACR: This organization offers a few different scholarships, each worth $2,000. One is for women going through a trade school, and the other is for those aiming to get a bachelor’s degree. You must be going into HVAC to be eligible.
- Live Your Dream through Soroptimist: These scholarships are awarded to women who are the primary breadwinners. The winner is awarded up to $16,000 to help pay for her education.
- ASHRAE Undergraduate Engineering Scholarships: This scholarship is not specific to females. Awards from $3,000-$10,000 are given out to students studying pre-engineering or engineering fields prepping them for HVAC.
- NAWIC: This scholarship is designated for women who are going into construction trades, including HVAC. The amounts awarded range from $500-$2,500.
As more women enter traditionally male dominated fields, organizations specifically created in support of females are being formed. Joining an organization that empowers and supports women is always highly recommended, no matter what field you’re going into.
Look into organizations such as Women in HVACR. This organization was formed to “mentor and educate women on trends, technology, and opportunity within the HVACR industry.” There is a conference held annually.
Salary And Job Growth For Women In HVAC
The stats for salary and job growth are the same across genders. In some instances, women will find they are being paid a bit more, in fact. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2021 average annual salary for HVAC technicians was $54,690, with the top 10% reporting an average of $78,210. You’ll find higher paying jobs within the wholesale trade industry, as well as educational services. The top paying states for HVAC technicians in 2021 were, Alaska ($70,100), New Jersey ($68,460), New York ($66,180), and Hawaii ($69,100).
If you think being female has held you back from looking into an HVAC career, then it’s time you take a better look at what this industry has to offer. A great job with competitive salary can be yours once you realize there’s no such thing as a man’s career, and HVAC is no exception.
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