A/C technicians in hot demand on Texas Gulf Coast
Hot temperatures are a way of life on the Texas Gulf Coast. As a result, skilled Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HART) technicians will always be needed. Whether it’s residential, apartments, schools, hospitals, commercial buildings or industrial plants, there is a constant need for a well-trained workforce in the heating, refrigeration and air conditioning industry. Brazosport College offers the training needed to enter this field.
“Brazosport College’s HART program provides students with instructions in basic refrigeration and electrical principles, as well as hands-on training with the different types of AC equipment that will be encountered in the field,” said David Cady, Brazosport College HART Coordinator. “Students learn the proper use of pressure gauges, multi-meters, brazing torches and other related tools. Installation, maintenance and troubleshooting techniques are emphasized during the program.”
Brazosport College offers one- and two-year programs that will prepare students for this new career. Many students choose to complete their entry-level training and then combine work in the field with continued advanced classes at the College.
Brazosport College’s classes offer hands-on, real-world training taught by experienced faculty. Because HART systems are increasingly sophisticated, employers prefer to hire people trained at an accredited community college.
“Having a HART Certificate or an associate degree shows potential employers that our students have the skills and training needed to be good technicians, as well as the perseverance to set and achieve personal goals,” Cady said. “Most students can get the basic certificate and go to work in the field while continuing to take more advanced classes in the evening. Because of our climate and the economic growth in our area, becoming an HVAC tech is a great career choice.”
Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology
Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration technicians install, service or repair heating and air conditioning systems in residences or commercial establishments.
Who is a good fit?
HART technicians have a strong knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repairs and maintenance. Other traits include being skilled in troubleshooting, equipment maintenance and installation.
Training for HART technicians usually range from a two-year Associate Degree to vocational schools or certificates. Brazosport College offers a one-year certificate program, with the courses able to be applied toward a two-year associate degree in Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.
Median pay *
$21.23 hourly; $44,000 annual
Job outlook *
Job opportunities for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians are expected to grow by 9.6 percent over the next four years. Fifteen percent of HART technicians are over the age of 55 and will probably retire soon.
Source: Career Coach (Brazosport.edu/CareerCoach)
* Median wages and job outlook data collected for Heating and Air Conditioning Mechanic and Installer
BC student following in mother’s footsteps
Cindy Palmer is quick to work under the hood of a car or dig into a variety of mechanical or electrical repairs. She has the knowledge to do this because of her mom, Maryann.
“My mother had a big influence on me,” Cindy said. “She raised me to believe that anything a man can do, a woman can do too. There’s nothing that can hold you back. She taught me how to work on my own cars, she taught me everything.
“Besides that, I have always loved fixing things,” she added. “I love to tinker with things.”
Now, Cindy, 38, is turning that curiosity into a potential career in the heating, air conditioning and refrigeration field. And once again, her mother played a pivotal role.
Six years ago, Cindy was hired at the same apartment complex Maryann worked at. While Cindy worked in the cleaning department, she would still assist her mother, who was in maintenance. Through this, she began to learn about heating and air conditioning systems.
Unfortunately, Maryann became seriously ill, leaving the apartment complex shorthanded. Cindy was ready, however, and stepped into her mother’s position.
“After my mom got sick, I got my EPA license so I could work on air conditioners and refrigerators,” she said. “They didn’t have anyone else to do the job so, in a way, this job picked me.”
Since then, Maryann has made a full recovery. At the same time, Cindy has discovered a career she enjoys and is learning as much as possible about the heating and refrigeration industry through classes at Brazosport College.
“Right now, I’m doing the basics and taking everything step by step,” she said of going back to college. “I’m working on an associate degree.
“I love it here,” she added about being back in school. “I love the hands-on learning and the lab work that I get here.”
For Cindy, this is a win-win situation.
“I take whatever I learn here and take it back to work with me,” she said. “My confidence has shot through the roof. Going back to school will open up so many doors for me. If I want to earn more money and have more opportunities, I know this will be a good idea.”