For all of those who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military, the process of transitioning back to civilian life can be a major question mark. Armed service provides a lot of structure and purpose. It lets you help others in a physical, hands-on way. So where do you take all that energy and drive once you step out of the uniform?
One particular career that veterans are finding to be a good fit is becoming a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technician.
HVAC techs are trained to work on the complex systems of heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation that are a part of almost every commercial or residential project constructed. They do everything from the initial installation, inspections and testing, maintenance and troubleshooting, and repair and replacement of malfunctioning parts. HVAC techs can even specialize in certain types of systems or get certified to work on the latest products, like solar panels.
And while everyone is different when it comes to what they’re looking for in a new career, we’ve got 7 standout reasons why HVAC is a good fit for veterans.
You’ll have job stability and security.
Because HVAC systems are used absolutely everywhere, there’s a need for HVAC technicians absolutely everywhere, too. In California alone, there are over 32,000 HVAC workers, and the Employment Development Department projects that thousands of more jobs will be added to this field by 2028. Getting HVAC training ensures that you’re stepping into a secure field, where you won’t have to worry so much about bouncing from job to job, hoping there will be an opportunity available for you.
You can potentially minimize your student debt.
Unlike taking on the monetary burden of a four-year degree from a traditional university, HVAC training is an opportunity to minimize your debt load. Career colleges and technical schools can get you trained and job-ready in a much shorter timeframe. At ATA College, for example, we have an HVAC Technician program that can be completed in as little as 10 months and heavily prioritizes hands-on learning and practical experience.
Your skills are easy to transfer across the country.
We mentioned above that HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, and that means you’ll have skills that serve as a safety net, whether you stay in California or move somewhere out of state. A good, accredited HVAC training program, like at ATA, will offer certification prep classes so that you’re ready to sit for the certificates and licensures you’ll need when you step into the job market.
You’ll be able to help and serve people.
They don’t call it military service for no reason. As a member of the armed forces, you were willing to dedicate yourself to protecting and helping other people. As an HVAC technician, you can continue that purpose in a slightly different arena by helping ensure that the vital heating and cooling systems that we rely so heavily on stay safe and functional.
You can continue to build your hands-on skills.
Post-service, where you’re constantly being challenged physically and mentally, it might be tough to consider shifting to a stationary job, like in an office. As an HVAC technician, you’ll be able to stay moving, even as you build on the hands-on skills you already gained in the military. HVAC work is often physical both in big ways — moving parts and equipment — and in small ways — making small repairs that require dexterity. It also provides mental challenges as well, when it comes to troubleshooting and diagnosing issues.
You can work independently, even as you’re part of a team.
In general, HVAC businesses are structured like this: there’s a team of skilled technicians who are sent out on individual calls or jobs. So while you have the backing and camaraderie of a whole group of professionals just like you, you also have the freedom and independence to run your jobs as you see fit.
You’ll be able to take advantage of an industry full of innovation.
One of the great parts of the HVAC field is that it’s always innovating, and right now, in particular, is a dynamic one. As heating and cooling systems shift with the changeover to carbon-neutral energy sources and look to become more sustainable, there is a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of this new technology. Training to become an HVAC technician in 2022 gives you the advantage to incorporate these innovations into your skillset from the jump. And even better, there will be more opportunities for continuous learning in the near future, which means you’ll be able to grow your career.
What should you look for in an HVAC training program?
If we’ve sold you on the idea of an HVAC career with the above, the next question you have might be: how do I get started?
Enrolling in an HVAC training program is the best place for you to start, but make sure you choose a school that really gets you and what you need not just as a student, but as a veteran. They should be accredited and focus on hands-on training as a central aspect of their curriculum, and they should be aligned with veterans organizations so that you can maximize your financial benefits.
ATA College is approved by the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE) to enroll veterans and other eligible persons who qualify for VA Benefits, including the GI Bill®, Chapter 30/Montgomery, Chapter 31/VA Vocational Rehab, Chapter 33/Post 9/11, and Chapter 35/DEA/Survivor & Dependents.
If you’re interested in finding out more about ATA College and our HVAC Technician program, you can schedule a tour or contact us today and one of our admissions representatives would be happy to answer your questions. Or to get started on your enrollment right away, apply today.
‘‘GI Bill®’’ is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).