HVAC Control Systems Engineer: Job Duties and Requirements

Mar 28, 2019

Learn more about what HVAC control systems engineers do. See what the education and licensing requirements are for employment. Get career outlook and earning information to decide if this career is right for you.

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Career Definition for an HVAC Systems Control Engineer

HVAC control systems engineers work exclusively on a building's heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration control systems. HVAC control systems are usually computerized and networked throughout a facility into a central command point. The HVAC control systems engineer designs, implements, modifies and maintains the control system. He or she may work directly with customers to develop new or replacement HVAC control systems, troubleshoot problems, advise on repairs, or train customers on how to use their HVAC system controls. HVAC control systems engineers find employment with HVAC service contractors, design or consulting companies, or directly with company or institutional facilities offices.

Education Bachelor's degree typically required
License Required by some states or localities
Job Skills Computer skills, CAD software, management, communication
Median Salary (2017)* $85,880 for mechanical engineers
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 9% for mechanical engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Most HVAC control systems engineer career opportunities require a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering, HVAC technology, or mechanical engineering and extensive work experience or a related master's degree and some work experience. HVAC control systems engineers usually complete academic coursework in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, advanced math, CAD, and physics.

Licensing Requirements

Some states or localities require HVAC control systems engineers to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary.

Skills Required

HVAC control systems engineers should possess strong computer skills for networking control systems. They also need to be familiar with the use of CAD software packages and have project management and communication skills.

Career and Economic Outlook

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers reports that a large percentage of its members are nearing retirement age, and so job prospects for HVAC professionals, including HVAC control systems engineers, are expected to be good. Although salary data specifically for HVAC control systems engineers isn't available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that mechanical engineers in general earned a median annual salary of $85,880 as of May 2017. The agency also reported that mechanical engineers in general, including HVAC control systems engineers, could expect employment growth of 9% from 2016-2026.

Alternate Career Options

Listed below are some other career options for potential engineers:

Architectural and Engineering Manager

An architectural and engineering manager - who has at least a professional degree in architecture or a bachelor's degree in an engineering field - leads, coordinates, and oversees research, administrative, and development activities and operations for architectural and engineering firms. Someone in this job also typically has several years of work experience as an architect or engineer. Some managers have a master's degree in technology management, engineering management or business administration, in addition to the professional licensing required for employment as an architect or engineer.

The BLS predicts that jobs in this field will increase 6% from 2016-2026, with some variation depending on the field of employment, such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering or manufacturing. The BLS also reports that the median pay for this occupation was $137,720 in 2017, and pay varied by industry; those who worked in scientific research and development earned a median salary of $159,400, for example, and those who worked in government earned $128,450.

Sales Engineer

A sales engineer usually has a bachelor's degree in engineering or extensive relevant work experience and strong interpersonal skills. These professionals sell sophisticated science and technology products and services to businesses. Sales engineers help customers decide what products or services best fit their needs and also explain those products and services clearly; they may handle market research responsibilities, too. On-the-job and continued training is common in this occupation.

The BLS predicts that jobs in this field will increase 7% from 2016-2026, which is about average across all occupations during that decade. The median salary for this job was $98,720 in 2017, per the BLS, and pay varied by field. Sales engineers in computer systems design and related services earned a median salary of $108,230, while those who worked in manufacturing earned $88,920.

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