Continuing education has always been an essential component of maintaining an excellent team of HVAC technicians. Ongoing HVAC training helps technicians stay up to date on the latest technology, keeps their skills sharp, reduces on the job mistakes, improves job satisfaction, and boosts retention rates.
Today, continuing education is more crucial than ever. HVAC businesses and manufacturers are continually seeking to improve efficiency and reduce energy usage, increasing the need for technicians to learn how to install, maintain, and repair more complex systems. Training and mastering these new systems is essential to business success, however, rapidly changing technology is proving difficult to keep up with. How can HVAC companies provide the best possible training on advancing systems, for the lowest possible cost and serve more clients, faster?
Fortunately, new trends in HVAC continuing education now allow you to offer even better training, with more flexibility, at an even lower cost.
1. The Need for More Training
As efficiency in HVAC systems improves, the amount of technology involved in each system increases. While veteran techs typically spent years working on systems that didn’t change much from model to model, nowadays, advances are happening faster than ever. HVAC training needs to keep up.
Experienced techs need new training to tackle the complexities of modern systems, while new technicians need more training than ever before to even get started. Company owners are left trying to figure out how to increase the level of training for both these newer and older techs, while often working with a shrinking training budget.
2. The Need to On-board New Technicians Faster
Many HVAC firms are facing a critical skills gap on their teams, as a mass of experienced techs are reaching retirement age. This means that managers need to get new technicians field-ready, faster. Counting on veteran employees to help train and mentor new hires is becoming harder to scale. It would take new technicians years to gain the same level of experience to match those they are replacing.
So, continuing education needs to pick up that slack to help build competency with newer techs. If it is not possible to close the skills gap fast enough, many HVAC companies will face the possibility of needing to turn down new customers. Businesses must figure out a way to implement a more streamlined and scaleable approach for quickly and effectively training new HVAC techs to replace those who are retiring.
3. From the Classroom to the Screen
For years, a large portion of continuing education has taken place in the classroom. It may have never been a particularly efficient means of HVAC training, but it was a recognized standard of learning. The new breed of HVAC techs is made up of digital natives. They were born into a world where content is consumed on a screen. Rather than slow-paced, scheduled, classroom lectures, they are much more motivated to learn on-demand, at their own pace, in a way that allows them to balance their work and personal schedules.
Online HVAC learning opportunities can provide continuing education at a lower cost, and offer increased flexibility to learners. It enables technicians to have access to a digital catalog of HVAC training courses taught by top industry experts. Everything from foundational concepts, like applied science, all the way to advanced troubleshooting scenarios on the latest industry equipment is available at their fingertips. Moreover, In a digital world, offerings continue to grow all the time. This ensures that your techs will always have access to the very latest HVAC know-how.
4. From the Field to Virtual Reality
The most exciting trend in HVAC learning is most definitely virtual reality. Imagine having your own HVAC equipment simulators that offer immersive learning opportunities, proven to help students learn faster and retain more information. Interplay Learning’s virtual reality and 3D simulations are the most effective way for techs to gain HVAC skills, knowledge, and experience. By enabling your HVAC technicians to be immersed in a world of common HVAC troubleshooting scenarios, the technology will help them master skills more efficiently.
No doubt you have heard the old saying that “practice makes perfect”, —one of the beauties of leveraging VR-based HVAC training is that it allows HVAC technicians to physically repeat tasks until they have reached certain levels of proficiency. This ingrains the HVAC troubleshooting tasks into their muscle memory so they can repeat what they learned in VR, out in the field. Thanks to the recent drop in cost of VR hardware, this is the ‘it” method of learning that every HVAC business should keep their eyes on.
Not ready for VR? Starting with 3D simulations and video based courses is a great way forward. These training opportunities can be experienced anytime, anywhere, saving the additional expense of getting everyone together in one time and place. This flexibility of learning can mean less downtime for the business.
5. Faster, Smarter, Cheaper
As you can see, some of the trends in HVAC technician training and continuing education create new challenges for HVAC business owners. Fortunately, there are solutions for those new challenges, creating an opportunity to build an even better, more efficient, and profitable HVAC team.
Want to learn more about HVAC continuing education and how you can implement virtual reality, 3D simulation training, or video based courses or into your current HVAC training program? Schedule a demo with one of our sales reps.