The Need for HVAC Installers and Technicians
In many ways, HVAC is in the same boat as every other industrial sector. Like other trades, the world of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) is facing a shortage of skilled workers.
HVAC installers and technicians are crucial to new construction, to maintaining the systems in our homes, offices and schools, and to keeping our HVAC equipment up and running during the especially hot summer months we’ve been facing across the country.
Having an updated, high-tech training center in your facility is a great way to attract and enroll new students to your HVAC program. And with some of the strategies we recommend below, you’ll be able to deploy a more engaging, consistent and interactive skills-based training than ever before!
Where Traditional HVAC Training Falls Short
HVAC programs have been training up excellent installers and technicians for decades upon decades. There’s no doubt about that. But as long as HVAC technology continues to advance, as energy and power shortages remain a concern, and as a skilled workforce remains difficult to find, technical programs will need to adapt their teaching methods to enroll and train up more HVAC installers and technicians than ever before.
Traditionally, HVAC students the hands-on portion of their training by working with actual residential or industrial HVAC systems that the school has purchased or received as a donation. It’s worked so far, but we think there’s a better way.
We agree that students should be working on the same brands and technologies they’ll see in the workforce. But since those systems were built for end users, there are some complications when putting them in the classroom:
- They are space- and budget-inefficient: They’re large, difficult to move and expensive (if purchased outright). They’re designed to be installed and stay put, so it’s inconvenient in a classroom setting where space needs to be flexible.
- No visibility into the inside of the system: With a real HVAC system, students get no visibility into what’s going on the inside when it’s live. Understanding those inner workings is a critical base of knowledge for HVAC installers and technicians. You could cut panels off (we don’t recommend that) or build your own cutaways, but then you need twice as many sets of equipment. There’s really no high-quality way to provide that inside view with end-use systems.
- Lack of consistency/repeatability: In an ideal classroom, every student gets access to the same equipment to perform hands-on skills. In situations where a lab is filled with an array of equipment from a variety of brands and models, every student is going to get a different experience at a different time, making it difficult for the instructor to facilitate and grade. And because they’re not designed for the kinds of repetitive use and fault insertion required for training, the HVAC equipment is more prone to early failure.
- Difficult to teach troubleshooting: With standard HVAC systems, an instructor can manually create mechanical or electrical faults, but it really can’t be done on a consistent, repeatable and standardized basis to give each student the same experience. Plus, you won’t be able to pull data to measure a student’s ability to troubleshoot. Because troubleshooting is an essential skill for technicians, you need to be able to control the faults, measure data, and repeat without compromising the system.
Next-level HVAC Training
Fortunately, Amatrol has developed a solution to all of the above concerns through their HVAC training systems.
Amatrol designs and manufactures hands-on training systems and curriculum for every topic in industrial technology. Technical college, CTE and skilled trades programs utilize Amatrol systems and eLearning because they perfectly blend industry relevance with education-focused design. In other words, these trainers are built with every standard industrial brand and component students will see in the workforce, but the systems are specifically designed for training and education.
Let’s consider how Amatrol’s HVAC training systems address the concerns we discussed earlier:
- Designed for easy lab access: Every trainer is built with all the components a student could need for a specific set of skills, fits through a standard doorway, and is built on castors for easy mobility. This allows for flexible classroom setup with multiple trainers and programs using the space at once.
- Visibility is built in: These HVAC training systems are also designed to include transparent housings, pipes, and ducting with LED illumination that allows learners to see inside the system. Also, instructors should consider DAC Worldwide HVAC cutaways as a perfect additional resource for the program (cutaways for HVAC components include compressors, valves, and much, much more).
- Seamless, consistent transition from knowledge to skills: Amatrol’s HVAC training systems use authentic industrial components, but they’re also designed to give students the most well-rounded foundation in HVAC installation and troubleshooting skills that students can then apply to any brand or model they encounter in the workforce. By using systems designed for consistent repeatability and focused on skills training, each student will have the same opportunities and experiences as their peers. And by teaching with Amatrol’s curriculum, the theoretical knowledge will smoothly transfer to the hands-on skills.
- Designed for repeatable, measurable troubleshooting: This may be the best part: Amatrol’s FaultPro software. Using FaultPro, electronic and mechanical faults can be inserted into the system, and students have to troubleshooot. FaultPro’s computer-based faults automatically track progress, enabling learners to gain troubleshooting skills in a self-paced environment that ensures that faults are inserted safely, protecting both learners and equipment. And instructors get clear insights into the progress of each student.
Interested in learning more about HVAC training systems from Amatrol? Take a look at their lineup of HVAC-R specific products below.
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