Will there be enough HVACR techs for government facilities in the future?
The HVACR Workforce Development Foundation and the Burning Glass Technologies research firm predict that 115,000 heating ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians will be needed by 2022 in the U.S. Those technicians will fill job vacancies due to projected growth in the industry as well as retirements. The foundation site adds that “only 21,000 students graduated from post-secondary HVACR programs in 2015.” Read my analysis on the coming shortage of HVACR techs in the U.S. here.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also predicts that sizable numbers of HVACR mechanics and installers will need to be recruited and hired in the future. BLS projects the total HVACR workforce will reach 323,500 by 2022.
Kari Arfstrom (photo at right), executive director of the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation, says governments have a great need for HVACR personnel in their facilities. “Just think of every building owned by federal agencies, as well as state and local governments. They all have to have HVAC engineers and technicians and mechanics to keep the buildings’ mechanical systems working smoothly. And then you add in government-operated hospitals and schools and military facilities—the number of government facilities is huge.”
The U.S. will employ almost 339,000 HVAC mechanics/installers in 2020, up from about 318,000 in 2015 predicts Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), a CareerBuilder company. The Moscow, Idaho-based labor market data research firm calculates a 7 percent increase in the U.S. HVACR workforce from 2015 to 2020.
More importantly, EMSI calculates that 12.4 percent of the HVACR workforce, or about 39,326 workers, are nearing retirement age (ages 55-64).
In the government workforce, EMSI is projecting that state and local agencies will boost their staffs of HVACR mechanics and installers by 3 percent between 2015 and 2020. By 2020, federal, state and local governments will employ 20,384 HVACR personnel, predicts EMSI.
One organization that is working to bring qualified technician candidates into the HVACR workforce is North American Technician Excellence (NATE). It is the nation’s largest non-profit certification organization for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. The group is based in Arlington, Va.
Beginning in 2016, NATE will introduce a new certificate-level exam that covers basic HVACR knowledge and safety, the first of its kind offered by NATE. This job-ready certificate program (with NATE-provided training guides) will allow contractors to better review candidates to assess whether they are ready to enter the HVACR technician workforce.
NATE will also make this exam more convenient by offering it as an online, un-proctored exam that candidates and employees can take anywhere, even at home, for greater accessibility.