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What is HVAC? Career and Job Opportunities in HVAC [Updated Guide]

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Admin

HVAC is an indoor and vehicular environmental comfort technology. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. The HVAC full form is Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. We have discussed here what is HVAC, the types of HVAC systems, and what are the career and job opportunities for engineers.


Think about it; every building needs some form of Heating, air conditioning, or both. With the advancement in technology, controlling the climate of buildings has become a fascinating industry.

Computers and electronics are being integrated into every new or retrofitted HVAC/R system. As a result, those working in the field can use the latest sophisticated analytic and diagnostic testing and troubleshooting equipment. Green building techniques have infiltrated every facet of the HVAC/R industry and the installation and operation of today’s building automation systems require a highly skilled workforce.

What Is An HVAC System?

HVAC system design is a sub-discipline of mechanical engineering based on thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer principles.

HVAC meaning is Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are referred to different structures, equipment, and technology used to enhance comfort indoors, including in residences, offices, halls, and transport systems, by maintaining an optimum temperature.

“Refrigeration” is sometimes added to the field’s abbreviation, as HVAC&R or HVACR or “ventilation” is dropped, as in HACR (as in the designation of HACR-rated circuit breakers).

HVAC is an integral part of residential structures such as single-family homes, apartment buildings, hotels, and senior living facilities, medium to large industrial and office buildings such as skyscrapers and hospitals, vehicles such as cars, electric vehicles, trains, airplanes, ships, and submarines, and in marine environments, where safe and healthy building conditions are regulated concerning temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors.

Ventilating or ventilation (the “V” in HVAC) is the process of exchanging or replacing air in any space to provide high indoor air quality, which involves temperature control, oxygen replenishment, and removal of moisture, odors, smoke, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, and other gases.

The V in HVAC, or ventilation, replaces or exchanges air within a space. This provides a better quality of air indoors and involves removing moisture, smoke, odors, heat, dust, airborne bacteria, carbon dioxide, and other gases and temperature control and oxygen replenishment.


In addition, ventilation removes unpleasant smells and excessive moisture, introduces outside air, keeps interior building air circulating, and prevents stagnation of the interior air.

Ventilation often refers to the intentional delivery of the outside air to the building’s indoor environment. It is one of the most important factors for maintaining acceptable indoor air quality in buildings. Methods for ventilating a building are divided into mechanical/forced and natural types.

The HVAC market can be divided into Heating, ventilation, and cooling based on equipment. The equipment segment can be further divided into types like:


  • Heat Pumps
    • Air-to-air
    • Air-to-water
    • Water-to-water
  • Furnaces
    • Oil
    • Gas
    • Electric
  • Unitary Heaters


  • Air-Handling Units
  • Air Filters and Purifiers
  • Ventilation Fans
    • Crossflow Fans
    • Axial Fans
    • Centrifugal Fans
    • Domestic Fans
    • Range Hood Fans
  • Dehumidifiers and Humidifiers
  • Others


  • Unitary Air Conditioners
    • Split
    • Packaged
  • VRF Systems
  • Chillers
  • Room Air Conditioners
  • Coolers
  • Cooling Towers
    • Evaporative
    • Dry cooling
    • Hybrid

Based on Service

    • Upgradation/replacement
    • Maintenance and repair
    • Installation
    • Consulting

Based on End-User

  • Commercial
    • Office and building
    • Hospitality
    • Transportation
    • Supermarket/hypermarket
    • Healthcare
    • Government
  • Industrial
    • Food and beverage
    • Oil and gas
    • Automotive
    • Energy and utilities
  • Residential

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Difference Between HVAC And Air Conditioning

HVAC refers to Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, whereas AC commonly relates to air conditioning. AC is generally used when referring to systems designed to cool the air in your home. HVAC can include heat pumps and gas furnaces, and air conditioning units.


Air conditioning is the last portion of what HVAC stands for, but they are often used interchangeably about any heating or cooling device in a home. 

How does HVAC System work?

Each component in your home may be separate, such as a radiant system combined with window air conditioning units. However, it is more common for integrated systems such as central heating and AC systems that use a single blower to circulate air via internal ducts in a home or with a ductless system for different rooms or zones in the house.

Image Source: http://twentyonecelsius.com.au/

The purpose of an HVAC system is more than just warming or cooling a space. Instead, it improves indoor air quality and provides comfort for everyone inside a building. While there are several different types of HVAC systems, they all begin with the same essentials.

First, there is a source of fresh air intake from the outside or from within the home. This process is called ventilation, and it happens in two different ways. Natural ventilation is present in most homes and refers to how air typically moves in and out through windows, doors, vents, and other openings. This air exchange is necessary to replenish oxygen and remove odors, carbon dioxide, and excessive moisture.

Mechanical ventilation uses an automated system–the V in HVAC–to move air in and out. In the past, there was plenty of natural ventilation in most homes from gaps and cracks in the construction along with opening and closing of doors.

However, modern construction creates far more tightly sealed homes, so ventilation becomes an increasingly important component in home HVAC systems. First, the atmosphere is drawn through filters to remove dirt, dust, allergens, and other particles. Once the air is brought in, it is drawn into an air handling unit, where the work begins.

Next up is comfort. Air is either sent to be heated or sent to be cooled and have excess humidity removed. Once the air is clean, fresh, and comfortable, it is directed into the home. This means moving through a network of ducts and registers to different rooms for central systems. For other systems, this usually means being directed right into space.

Types of HVAC systems

There are three main types of HVAC systems:

  • Split and window AC,
  • Packaged heating and air conditioning systems, and
  • Central AC systems.

Split and window air conditioning systems

Split ACs are used in larger areas than window ACs. The split AC focuses on splitting the cold from the hot side of the system. The cold side has the cold coil and the expansion valve.

This is usually placed inside a furnace or any other air handler. The handler blows air over the coil, and the cooled air is distributed to various rooms in the building through the air ducts.

‍Window air conditioners work by fans blowing air through the coils, improving how they separate the heat and cold. As a result, heat gets lost in the outside air and is replaced with cool air for the room.

‍Packaged heating and air conditioning systems

Hence, this system is the total package; they possess heating and cooling equipment in a single unit. Users can place them in mechanical rooms, rooftops, or a grade close to the conditioning space.


The package AC has all the components in one unit, unlike split systems in which the cold and hot units are separate. These elements have a centrifugal fan or blower that helps distribute the air throughout the aspects of the structure.

Central air conditioning

Most of the air conditioners in residential buildings are in the form of split systems. The compressor and condenser are combined as a single condensing unit mounted outdoors. Two flexible refrigerant lines connect the components, one for gas and one for liquid. When the furnace is electric, a blower is included in the system. The evaporator, a finned coil, is mounted in a section of ductwork within the furnace blower.

The compressor uses electricity to pump the refrigerant across the system collecting indoor heat and removing it from home. The heat dissipates outdoors by the coil in the condensing unit.

‍Warm air indoors gets blown through the indoor coil (cold) to remove moisture and heat. The heat in the air transfers to the coil, and thus the air cools.

The water vapor condenses on the coil and collects inside a drain pan. Then, it goes outside through the condensate drain. After flowing to the evaporator coil, the heat pumps outdoors while the now cooled air inside the room circulates through the fan on the air handler. Thus, the indoor temperature is maintained.

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The market size of the HVAC systems

The global HVAC market attained a value of USD 241 billion in 2020, driven by rising construction activities. Furthermore, aided by the rising demand for energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, the market is expected to witness further growth in 2021-2026, growing at a CAGR of 4%. As a result, the HVAC market will reach USD 301 billion by 2026.

The market can be segmented into new constructions and retrofits based on implementation type. HVAC finds its end-uses in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. The major regional markets for HVAC include North America, Europe, the Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Top global payers in the HVAC systems market

Some prominent players in the global HVAC systems market include:

  • Carrier Corporation
  • Daikin Industries, Ltd.
  • Emerson Electric Co.
  • Hitachi Ltd.
  • Johnson Controls International plc
  • Lennox International, Inc.
  • Trane Technologies
  • LG Electronics, Inc.
  • Lennox International, Inc.
  • Carrier Global Corporation
  • Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
  • Haier Group
  • Daikin Industries, Ltd
  • Emerson Electric Co.
  • Honeywell International Inc.
  • Johnson Controls, Inc
  • Others

Major Players Covered in India HVAC Market Report Are:

  • Johnson Controls International PLC
  • Daikin Industries Ltd.
  • Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
  • LG Electronics Inc.
  • Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
  • Blue Star Limited
  • Danfoss A/S
  • Voltas Limited
  • Whirlpool Corporation
  • Havells India Limited
  • Qingdao Haier Co. Ltd.
  • Carrier Corporation
  • Panasonic Corporation
  • Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
  • Fujitsu General Limited
  • Zamil Air Conditioners India Private Limited

Career and Job Opportunity

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the HVAC/R industry is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The diversity of job opportunities and the advancement of building automation systems (BAS) makes the HVAC/R industry an attractive and rewarding career.

Building automation is the automatic centralized control of a building’s Heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting, and other systems through a building management system or building automation system.

Careers offered in the segments are;

  • Design & Manufacturing
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Operations & Maintenance:
  • Service & Repair
  • Consulting, Project Management & Contracting: 
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Automated Controls
  • Design & engineering
  • Residential
  • Commercial

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What are the job opportunities?

Careers in Climate Control Technology are also known under the abbreviation HVAC/R, which stands for Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration. Occupations involve designing, selling, installing, servicing, and repairing HVAC/R systems in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.

Although education beyond high school is not technically required for an HVAC career, the BLS (2019) notes that the increasing complexity of HVAC systems means that most employers prefer that HVAC technicians have some form of postsecondary training.

As per the US Bureau of labor statistics, employment of Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Commercial and residential building construction is expected to drive employment growth, and job opportunities for HVACR technicians are expected to be good. A similar trend would be expected in the Indian context.

Students can build HVAC careers by graduating from certificates, diplomas, or vocational programs, often the fastest track to work. However, those looking to gain a wider breadth of training before work or those interested in eventual project management should consider earning a bachelor of engineering in HVAC.

Apprenticeships under a licensed HVAC professional, which last anywhere from two to six years, allow for future HVAC techs to learn skills on the job under an experienced HVAC professional.

Job profiles in the HVAC segment

Discover various high-growth HVAC career paths below

  • AC Technician
  • Automotive HVAC Technician
  • HVAC Engineer
  • HVAC Installer
  • HVAC Mechanic
  • HVAC Refrigeration Technician
  • Solar Technician
  • Wind Turbine technician

Kindly check the HVAC Technician sample job description

Salary Details

The average salary for an Entry-level HVAC Engineer in the US is $68,558

The average salary for an Entry-level HVAC Engineer in India is ₹280,000

(Source: https://www.payscale.com/)


Exploring HVAC career paths offers a glimpse into a field ripe with opportunities for growth and specialization. Individuals pursuing HVAC careers can look forward to engaging in a variety of roles, from installation and maintenance to design and sales, each providing a unique set of challenges and rewards. The HVAC career salary is another attractive aspect of this profession, with competitive compensation reflecting the skill level and experience required for success in this industry. For those considering alternative jobs for HVAC technicians, opportunities abound in areas such as refrigeration, energy management, and building automation systems, showcasing the versatile skill set acquired through HVAC training.

HVAC position titles vary widely, encompassing roles such as service technician, system designer, project manager, and sales consultant, among others. This diversity allows professionals within the HVAC careers to find niches that align with their interests and expertise. Jobs similar to HVAC include roles in electrical and plumbing sectors, where the technical skills and problem-solving abilities developed in HVAC work are highly valued.

When weighing the hvac career pros and cons, potential entrants into this field should consider the physical demands and need for continuous learning against the job security and potential for advancement. These factors contribute to making HVAC a compelling career choice for those interested in a dynamic and rewarding field. Discussions on platforms like HVAC career path Reddit further illuminate the real-world experiences of professionals in the field, offering insights into the day-to-day realities and long-term prospects of careers in HVAC.

In summary, HVAC offers a robust career path with a promising salary outlook and the flexibility to transition into various related roles. The industry’s breadth and depth mean that dedicated professionals can find fulfilling, long-term careers within this essential and ever-evolving field.

The HVAC industry is growing at a good pace globally as there are many untapped potentials and a vast market. As a result, we expect many more career opportunities for students coming out of the colleges in the times to come.

This sector is also witnessing new technology interruptions that are changing the whole landscape of HVAC. While the industry typically takes in mechanical engineers, the modern HVAC systems need engineers from all engineering streams like electrical, electronics, instrumentation, etc. Hence, there are many opportunities for young engineering graduates in this industry.

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What Does an HVAC Professional Do?

An HVAC professional is responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. They ensure these systems operate efficiently and effectively to provide comfortable indoor environments in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.

Which HVAC Position Offers the Highest Salary?

HVAC project managers and engineers typically receive the highest salaries within the industry, owing to their advanced training, expertise in designing HVAC systems, and responsibility for overseeing projects from conception through completion.

What is the Career Scope for an HVAC Technician?

The career scope for an HVAC technician is broad and promising, with opportunities ranging from field service and maintenance to system design and project management. Technicians can also specialize in areas like refrigeration, commercial HVAC systems, or green energy solutions.

Is There a Demand for HVAC Professionals in Canada?

Yes, there is a significant demand for HVAC professionals in Canada, driven by the country’s diverse climate conditions, ongoing construction projects, and the need for energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions in both the residential and commercial sectors.

What Are the Career and Job Opportunities in HVAC?

Career and job opportunities in HVAC are varied and include roles such as HVAC technician, system designer, project manager, sales consultant, and service manager. The sector offers growth potential through specialization and certification in areas like energy management and green building technologies.

How Can One Advance in Their HVAC Career?

Advancing in an HVAC career often involves gaining experience, pursuing further education and certifications, and specializing in a particular area of the field. Leadership roles may also require skills in project management and customer service.

What Skills are Essential for Success in HVAC?

Essential skills for success in HVAC include technical proficiency, problem-solving, customer service, and the ability to work under pressure. Familiarity with green technologies and energy efficiency standards is also increasingly important.

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