The future is looking very bright for those pursuing a career in the HVAC/R field as technicians, installers and electromagnetic engineers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, estimates industry growth of 15 percent through 2026. By all accounts, it appears jobs will be there for well-trained graduates of HVAC/R training programs.
However, the numbers are not all so rosy when it comes to gender diversity in the mechanical trades workforce. In fact, women only make up an estimated 1.2 percent of the industry workforce and only around seven percent of HVAC installation and repair companies are owned by women.
By comparison, women are spending around the same amount or more on schooling for careers with a lower starting salary. For example, 93 percent of dental assistants are women and earn at least $10,000 less per year than HVAC technicians.
Attracting Women to a Fulfilling Career in HVAC/R
There’s simply no excuse for the industry to be around 98 percent dominated by men. That’s why more trade schools and industry professionals are working to bring more women into the field. Increasing gender diversity in the field is a key goal for schools .
The Refrigeration School, and others like it throughout the country, are offering scholarships for women interested in the skilled trades and launching promotions campaigns to make more women aware of opportunities in the skilled trades.
Making the Case for Women in HVAC
Career stability and higher earning potential than women-dominated industries are only the beginning. Women pursuing a career in HVAC can expect a faster-track to the job market and more affordable schooling.
Hands-on and career focused: Educational programs provide hands-on, career focused training unlike traditional four-year institutions. Earning a diploma or certificate to become an HVAC/R technician typically takes between six months to one year to complete.
Growing job market: The need for technicians is growing across the country. The rate of growth is classified by the BLS as “much faster than average.” This means HVAC technicians can expect plenty of job openings, especially in the Southwest and warmer climates.
Affordable education: As noted in the resource below, four years at a public university costs about $112,000. A comparable education at a private college can run as much as $236,000! Trade school, on the other hand can be completed for around $16,600.
The Next generation of Leadership in HVAC/R
Entering a male-dominate field can have its challenges, but many women are finding success and enjoyment in the field. It’s time for more women to break into this rewarding field. From entry-level HVAC technicians to the corporate level, there is a huge need for female leadership.
Industry leaders say the reason women represent such a small portion of the workforce is because the industry needs to do a better job of reaching out and highlighting the opportunities available.
There’s lots of potential and opportunity for women looking to enter the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration field. They will play a crucial role in building the industry, bringing new ideas and increasing gender diversity in an overwhelmingly male-dominate profession. Check out the infographic below as well provided to us by the RSI, The Refrigeration School.