AUSTIN, Texas — Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that demand for heating, ventilation and air conditioning techs could increase by 15% through the year 2026.
That's the reason leaders at Austin Community College are promoting HVAC certification programs. Many times, students who are part of the program will come in with prior experience.
“I work in a commercial building already, so my maintenance supervisor actually is the one who actually led me to this program,” said Cesar Fuentes.
Fuentes says he wants to build on the knowledge he already has and eventually move on to better paying opportunities.
“My goal for attending this type of course would be to simply to gain a little bit more knowledge than what I already do to help me better on in my future," he said.
Educators say companies across the area are struggling to meet the demand for HVAC technicians. It's why they work directly with local employers—like those at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport—to learn about their needs, and even bring them into the classroom to network with students.
“We engage with so many companies. We have more than 80 companies in four different sectors of the industry and we receive feedback from them, understanding what they need. So we tweak our syllabus a little bit to provide what they need,” said Luis Castillo, the ACC program coordinator.
For students like Fuentes there’s an added benefit in working in this trade: getting to be on the front lines of Austin’s growth.
“Austin is booming. Austin is growing so these people come out here and look for the HVAC techs because it's something that we will always need. And the cool thing is that you know it gives us the opportunity to serve our community and serve Austin as it grows,” he said.
Educators are also quick to point out the trade is one that won’t go away anytime soon.
“Job security is number one. These will never disappear because summertime will be always here," said Castillo.