Student Testimonial: Trevor Neuman
Like the air people breathe, heating, ventilation and air conditioning often can’t be seen, yet play a vital role in daily life for billions of people globally.
HVAC can make uninhabitable places habitable, uncomfortable places comfortable and turn empty spaces into sustainable, eco-friendly homes and businesses.
“(HVAC) is a great field to get into, and the pay is outstanding,” said Trevor Neuman of Bancroft, who recently graduated from the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program at Iowa Lakes Community College. “And it’s a field where no one can take your job away. It’s in such high demand—it can never be outsourced.”
The HVAC program helps prepare students for careers in HVAC technology, training them in electronics and blueprint reading, installing, maintaining, diagnosing and repairing problems with HVAC equipment and systems. As the industry shifts to emphasize energy efficiency and sustainability while maintaining its high standards for client and worker safety, so do HVAC technicians.
And the demand for HVAC technicians is high.
“I actually had a job after my first year,” Neuman said.
After graduating from high school, Neuman worked as a welder for two years, before he took a tour of Iowa Lakes and decided to head back to school in the HVAC program. While still in school, he got a job with Midwestern Mechanical in Spencer, a big contractor for HVAC work in northwest Iowa.
“Most people look at it as going and flipping a switch and it works,” Neuman said of HVAC systems.
But when HVAC systems don’t work — when the air conditioning breaks down on a hot summer’s day, or the heating system breaks in the middle of winter — a knowledgeable HVAC technician is needed, and can even potentially save lives.
In less urgent circumstances, the HVAC technician’s job is to ensure customer satisfaction through keeping their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems working, producing an environment tuned to human comfort levels, Neuman explained. And HVAC expertise is needed for homes, businesses, farms and even the semi trucks that deliver frozen foods to grocery stores.
At the same time, Neuman said, there aren’t enough people in the HVAC trade, so there’s a great need for more workers.
A common misconception about the job is that it’s mostly plumbing, but HVAC doesn’t necessarily include plumbing. Neuman happens to do both as part of his work with Midwestern Mechanical.
“It can be for anyone, men and women,” Neuman said. “If you’re good with your hands and a good thinker, if you don’t mind working hard. In summer, it’s going to be hot and in winter, (cold). You’ll be working outside.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC mechanics and installers were paid a median salary of $45,910 per year, or $22.07 per hour in 2016, and jobs are expected to grow at about 14 percent — twice the average of 7 percent.
Click here for more information about the HVAC program at Iowa Lakes.