Working World

March 2017

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10 March, 2017 l Working World l O ne of the biggest needs in indus- try today is in finding skilled-trade workers that can-do jobs related to heating and air conditioning, electri- cians, plumbers, elevator repairmen and more. If you're not interested in white collar work, being a tradesman can be a fulfilling profession. Most of the jobs we'll go over here do not require a four-year degree, but they do require serious training and usually some years of apprenticeship. HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING MECHANICS According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for someone in this area is around $43,640 per year, or more than $20 per hour, as of 2016. Working in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) involves different types of education depending on the company you want to work for and the state that you work in. Many require a two-year post-secondary degree and some apprenticeship work, but in some states, you need to become licensed. The good thing about this career is that it has a competitive pay, and the job outlook is 21% growth, which is well above average. If you decide that a skilled trade is not for you, it's never too late to go back to college. HVACR technicians install, maintain, and repair heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems. Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers— often called HVACR technicians—work on heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems that control the temperature and air quality in buildings. Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers typically do the following: • Use blueprints or design specifications to install or repair HVACR systems • Connect systems to fuel and water supply lines, air ducts, and other components • Install electrical wiring and controls and test for their proper operation • Inspect and maintain customers' HVACR systems • Test individual components to determine necessary repairs • Repair or replace worn or defective parts • Determine HVACR systems' energy use and make recommendations to improve their efficiency Although HVACR technicians are trained to install, maintain, and repair heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems, many focus their work on installation, maintenance, or repair. Some technicians specialize in one or more specific aspects of HVACR, such as radiant heating systems, solar panels, testing and balancing, or commercial refrigeration. When installing or repairing air conditioning and refrigeration systems, technicians must follow government regulations regarding the conservation, recovery, and recycling of refrigerants. The regulations include those concerning the proper handling and disposal of fluids and pressurized gases. Some HVACR technicians sell service contracts to their clients, providing periodic maintenance of heating and cooling systems. The service usually includes inspecting the system, cleaning ducts, replacing filters, and checking refrigerant levels. HVACR technicians use many different hand tools when installing systems. Technicians also use more sophisticated tools, such as carbon monoxide testers, voltmeters, combustion analyzers, and acetylene torches, to test or install system components. ELECTRICIAN Becoming an electrician is a little bit more intensive than working with HVACR, but the pay is higher to make up for it. The BLS reports that as of 2016, the median wage was nearly $50,000 per year, which works out to about $24 per hour. To learn this trade, you can start at a technical school and then move into an apprenticeship program, or get directly into a formal apprenticeship program for on-the-job training. In most states you need to be licensed to work as an electrician, so that is part of the process. Though the job growth expected for electricians isn't as high as for those in the HVACR industry, it's still higher than average, sitting at 20%. Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories. Electricians typically do the following: • Read blueprints or technical diagrams • Install and maintain wiring, control, and lighting systems • Inspect electrical components, such as transformers and circuit breakers • Identify electrical problems using a variety of testing devices FEATURED ARTICLE Hottest Trades in 2017 continued on page 12

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