According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics out of 367,900 Americans in the HVAC industry, only 1.4% were women. This tells us that the HVAC and trades industries have lots of potential room to expand and diversify their workforces.
While the HVAC industry has been predominantly male-led, this doesn’t mean that women need to be left out of the mix. Now is a great time for women to enter the trades! The industry is growing, along with the need for more professionals. Trades fields offer rewarding, high-paying careers for everyone who takes on the challenge.
Regardless, entering an industry that has been historically made up of men can be intimidating and at times challenging for women, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to succeed and lead in the trades.
Trades careers are a wonderful opportunity for women to show how just how valuable their skillsets are. Women who enter the trades workforce will be able to inspire younger generations, encouraging them to engage with work that keeps our society functioning.
Challenge the Stereotype
As mentioned before, the HVAC industry has been male-led for decades now. Employers and even clients might believe the stereotype that a good HVAC technician is a man. But if history has taught us anything, it’s to keep an open mind and judge people based on merit, not what they look like!
Any job in the trades tends to be thought of as physically grueling and demanding, immediately making it stereotypically “manlier”. However, the truth is that jobs in the trades are just like any other job in any other industry. They require professionals that are competent in both the hard and soft skills required to get the job done well every time.
While a day in a trades job might be physically demanding, it also requires great communication, problem-solving skills, attention to detail, etc. We can all agree that these traits are all things that both men and women are more than capable of developing and excelling at.
If you’re a woman entering professional trades, make sure that you are aware of your capabilities, and highlight them during the hiring process.
Whether you excel in the physical requirements, the softs skills, or both, make sure that your future employer knows that they are not only hiring a woman in HVAC but they are hiring a well-rounded HVAC technician. After all, they just want someone they can count on to get the job done. Show them that, and you’ll be all set.
Networking and Community
Just like in any other job, it is important to network and builds relationships in your industry. You must surround yourself with fellow professionals that are interested in seeing newcomers succeed in the industry.
A great way to build your network is to participate in trade shows, certification programs, and even volunteer to shadow other professionals in the field.
This will help you not only demonstrate that you have taken time to follow your passion but will also show that you continuously look for opportunities to educate and better yourself in the HVAC community.
Women should engage in the HVAC community using these avenues even before they start training or applying for jobs! The sooner you enter the conversation, the faster you’ll learn and the more polished your skills and network will be.
A great resource for women interested in entering the trades is Women in HVACR. They hold an annual conference that is specifically designed to cultivate relationships, connect women, and grow careers. Start your search at these large-scale industry events as soon as you can!
How to Become an HVAC Professional
One of the best ways to start building your HVAC career is by attending an HVAC school.
HVAC trade schools will be able to provide you with the training, education, and skills development you need to set yourself apart in the job search. When you graduate, you’ll be certified and ready to start working.
A great HVAC trade school won’t just teach you the technical skills you need to get a certification; they’ll help you develop your “soft skills” like communication, quick thinking, and overall professionalism.
Even better, a trade school can help you start to build your network before you even graduate. If your school partners with local businesses and employers, you’ll be in contact with community professionals who will be ready and eager to take you under their wing.
Try to find a school that prioritizes real-world work conditions and experiences. The more exposure to realistic scenarios you have, the better off you will be in the job search and your career.
Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating
Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating in Texas, we invite everyone to learn from our director, industry veteran Chris Walters.
If you’re a woman in the Houston area looking to begin a career in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry, be sure to connect with us to learn more about planning your HVAC career!
When you attend the Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating, you’ll receive your certification and all the skills training you need to start your career in just 10 weeks! You’ll hit the ground running, powered by technical know-how, professional development, and industry connections.
If you have any questions regarding the HVAC industry and the education you will receive here, check out some of our frequently asked questions.
This article originally appeared on The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating and has been updated.