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HVAC&R: A clear path to career success

Special Advertorial Career and Education Section

By Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology | 3/9/2016, 11:48 a.m.
Eric Voshell of Marlborough recalls years of finding sporadic work as a roofer while struggling to support a growing family. ...
Eric Voshell completed the HVAC&R certificate program at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Photo: Courtesy Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology

Eric Voshell of Marlborough recalls years of finding sporadic work as a roofer while struggling to support a growing family. When he learned about Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, the HVAC&R Certificate piqued his interest.

Growing up in Marlborough, Voshell remembered his friend’s father who ran a successful HVAC&R business. “I knew there was money there,” Voshell said. “I was ready for a life. I needed a career.”

Eric Voshell is now working on his gas-fitter’s licensure. His goal is to become a service manager.

Eric Voshell is now working on his gas-fitter’s licensure. His goal is to become a service manager.

On the web

To learn more, visit www.bfit.edu/hvac

Voshell quickly enrolled in BFIT’s 1-year certificate program in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC&R). During his studies, he worked part-time at a mechanical contractor. In just two months, he moved into the HVAC&R field as an installer for Falite Bros in Wakefield. Just six months later, he landed a Service Technician position at BTU Control.

The HVAC&R Certificate program at BFIT provides a foundation to quickly enter this growing industry. There are endless career options you can explore in this field. Voshell passed the state Refrigeration Technician License allowing him to work on any piece of refrigeration equipment in the field.

“Out of the 50 questions on the exam, I learned 40 of them right from class,” Voshell. “The program prepares you to get started in your career right away.”

Did you know?

Today’s HVAC&R Technician needs to be EPA certified. BFIT’s HVAC&R program provides test preparation for the EPA certification.

At a glance

HVAC&R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration)

  • HVAC technician jobs are projected to grow 21% in the next 10 years, significantly above the average 11% overall job growth rate.
  • Average HVAC Technician salaries for job postings in Boston are 26% higher than average HVAC Technician salaries for job postings nationwide.
  • In Massachusetts, the mean annual wage for HVAC techs is $55,840 a year or $26.85 per hour.
  • The mean annual wage in the U.S. for HVAC techs is $46,880 a year or $22.50 per hour.
  • There are approximately 260,000 jobs in the U.S. in this field.

Sources: Indeed.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Today, he’s working on a Gas Fitter license. After two more years and some additional classes, he will be eligible for the state Refrigeration Contractor License. His goal is to become a service manager.

“At the beginning, I worked all the time. I had to pay my dues,” Voshell said. “Now I can go to my kid’s gymnastics events or dance recitals. My wife and I have the time and the money to go on vacation.”

Voshell went from struggling to make ends meet to securing a lucrative career in a high-demand industry. “I figured I’d eventually be making good money down the line,” Voshell said. “But I didn’t think it would come this quickly. The earning potential is definitely there. Without the certificate, it would not have been possible.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the HVAC field will experience 14 percent growth — much faster than average — from 2014-2024. The HVAC&R Department Chair, Kevin Bell, reminds students that the jobs are out there, but it takes hard work and a willingness to learn to be successful. He also makes it clear that having basic skills and knowledge from a formal certificate program gives you an advantage in the job market. “The certificate program covers the basic information you need to know to start in the industry,” Bell said. “Having that certificate will give you an edge. Once you’re hired, you have to get involved. You have to keep learning.”