HVAC Training for Veterans: Is It a Good Option?

2/17/2023

HVAC systems are everywhere.

They can be found in homes, shopping malls, campuses and almost any other building or property you can think of. This technology is critical, helping us keep cool or warm, protect merchandise and assets, maintain indoor air quality, lower utility costs, and shield ourselves from the effects of harsh weather.

It's no surprise that we always need HVACR technicians, as shown by the following statistics related to HVAC industry demand:

  • $57,300 median annual salary in May 202358
    • Not entry-level salary and is dependent on factors like experience, location, and employer compensation.
  • 37,000+ estimated average annual HVACR technician job openings in the U.S.66
  • Total HVACR technician employment is expected to exceed 437,000 by 203272

If you’re a military veteran at UTI, you have options for tailoring your HVACR training and receiving educational benefits for your service to your country.1

Continue reading to find out more! You'll learn what HVACR is and how to get started with HVACR training for veterans.

What Is HVAC?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It’s often used interchangeably with “HVACR" or "HVAC/R,” but the latter include the refrigeration trade. Technicians in the HVACR industry work on systems like:

  • Air conditioners
  • Ductless air conditioners
  • Heat pumps
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers

Typical HVACR duties include installing, maintaining, inspecting and repairing these systems.

Importance of HVACR Work

People suited for HVACR roles — even entry-level — are those with formal training like the kind Universal Technical Institute offers in its 39-week HVACR program. Trained technicians can maximize the benefits of HVACR systems, such as:

  • Better comfort for occupants, delivering heated or cooled air that protects them from harsh temperatures
  • Better indoor air quality, filtering airborne pollutants like dust, debris and mold and regulating humidity levels
  • Merchandise and asset protection since certain ingredients and materials need to be at correctly cooled temperatures
  • Lower utility expenses since malfunctioning systems use more fuel to function correctly and older models are less energy-efficient
  • Proper inspection and maintenance, which improves durability and overall lifespan of systems, as well as reduces future system malfunctioning
  • Legal compliance to avoid hefty fines or business closure

Clearly, there's a lot more at stake with HVACR systems than deciding how many layers to wear indoors. HVACR performance is also a matter of safety, responsibility and the law. These factors are essential to employers with high standards, which is why they tend to hire HVACR technicians with formally accredited technical training.

Read More: HVACR Career Outlook Information

HVACR Training for Veterans

People who previously served in the military favor technical fields. That’s because the skills these fields require overlap significantly with those needed for military service. HVACR work is no exception.

HVACR technicians must possess strong communication skills, problem-solving abilities and adequate physical strength. This allows them to speak with teammates and customers about the service being performed, solve unexpected problems on the job and be able to physically navigate HVACR systems.

These skills can be honed with the same kind of hands-on training UTI provides, which can help students develop strong technical foundations of HVACR knowledge and kinesthetic skills.

Students must have hands-on learning capability along with math and science aptitude to make the most of this training. Doing so enables them to understand how HVACR systems work, read system blueprints, optimize system performance and accurately diagnose system problems before solving them.

Becoming an HVACR Technician

Employers hire HVACR technicians who have completed a trade program because they are more likely to be prepared for the complexities of HVACR work. A trade program provides a structured environment that is clean, organized, controlled and equipped with industry-standard machinery and equipment. All this assists students in learning practical HVACR skills.

Prior industry experience can also be established through certification, which is best prepared for through structured technical training – such as that provided by our HVACR training program. As a result, employers may prefer to hire certified HVACR technicians over those who lack such credentials. Potential HVACR certifications earned by technicians in the field include:

Resources such as UTI's Career Services team can also inform aspiring technicians about entry-level positions in their desired industry. Our team can even help students with their job search by assisting with job applications, interview techniques, and much more. Graduates can also return years after graduation and use our job search resources to potentially advance their already established careers.

UTI’s NASCAR Technical Institute campus has also been accredited with Military-Friendly status to reflect its commitment, effort and success in providing sustainable and meaningful benefit for the military community.

NASCAR Tech and UTI Austin also offer military student advantages like:

  • VA funding consultation, helping veteran students understand and navigate their VA benefits, including with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications
  • Acceptance of GI Bill® benefits, which can help cover up to 36 months of schooling for veterans21
  • Veteran-exclusive 10% tuition reduction, furthering veterans’ financial assistance10
  • Veteran-specific orientations, allowing you to learn in ways tailored specifically for you

Because we are a GI Bill® Approved Trade School, eligible veteran students can receive up to $1,928 for full-time enrollment. We also couple this status with veteran-directed assistance, which is available on every UTI campus. As a result, our students can apply for GI Bill and VA benefits more easily.

We have many veteran students, and most of our Military Admissions Representatives are U.S. veterans themselves! This can be highly beneficial because military duty is a unique experience. It can be encouraging to be on the same campus with people who understand it as well, especially if you’ve relocated to attend school and aren’t familiar with the area.

Read more: Military & Veterans Services

After Program Completion

Proper HVACR training can help students perform their jobs correctly and safely.

Technicians can progress in their HVACR careers by obtaining more specialized certifications during their careers. Prior fundamentals training is still incredibly beneficial to grasp more complex HVACR trade knowledge and skills.

Read more: How to Become an HVAC Technician

HVAC Military Work

There are also HVACR career prospects particularly well-suited to those with former military training, such as opportunities to return to the military as an HVAC technician. It’s a uniquely suitable role for veterans to fill because applicants with prior military experience are more likely to meet the HVAC military job requirements, which typically include:

  • Basic military training
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Physical training
  • Military life and customs training
  • Weapons training
  • Hands-on instruction

Military HVAC work is not always dangerous. However, there inevitably is an added risk and people without prior military experience may struggle to weather these higher-stakes conditions.

Prior military training usually means you may be better prepared for these elements. You'll also likely have needed problem-solving skills, HVACR technical skills, "coolheadedness" and resilience to handle the work because you followed your military training with HVACR training.

Finish HVACR Training for Veterans in 39 Weeks!

Where there’s heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration, there’s an HVACR technician — or at least, there should be. Develop your skills as an HVACR technician to meet this need! To do that, you must first finish the right training.

Looking for HVACR schools that accept GI Bill and VA benefits? Our HVACR program is offered at several campus locations across the country. Here, we'll help you prepare for hands-on industry work by providing HVACR training for veterans.

Apply to our HVACR school to make the most of your potential!

Campuses that Offer HVACR Technician Training

Program coming to Avondale, Long Beach and Sacramento campuses pending regulatory approval.

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
21 ) GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.
58 ) The Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as HVACR technicians. Estimated annual salary is for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for graduates. UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary. Graduates’ achievements vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as HVACR technicians, such as installation technicians and refrigeration technicians. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary for persons employed as Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $48,940 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2022 data https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageAllIndustries/OEWResult?A=01&GA=000025&OG=499021&Dopt=TEXT). Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled HVACR technicians in North Carolina is $24.33 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wages, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $21.63 and $17.79, respectively.
66 ) For Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an annual average of 37,700 job openings between 2022 and 2032. Job openings include openings due to net employment changes and net replacements. See Table 1.10 Occupational separations and openings, projected 2022-32, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, viewed November 16, 2023. UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
72 ) The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that total national employment for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers will be 438,000 by 2032. See Table 1.2 Employment by detailed occupation, 2022 and projected 2032, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, viewed November 16, 2023. UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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