Engineering Career Resources

HVAC Engineer Job Description

HVAC Engineer Job Description

HVAC is a common abbreviation for the field that involves heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. There are a few different areas of focus in this field. However, a HVAC engineer takes the top seat. A career in this area can be very lucrative, but before choosing this focus, it is important to know what a HVAC engineer does and the skills required to succeed. A HVAC engineer is an expert in the design of systems that control temperature and air flow throughout commercial buildings and residences. He is responsible for the design, manufacturing, and testing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. He can be in charge of designing these systems for a new building, or for retrofitting existing buildings.

Skills and qualifications

The majority of organizations will require engineers to hold an undergraduate degree in HVAC engineering or mechanical engineering or in an equivalent area of expertise. Some employers may also require that the candidate earn a graduate-level qualification, while others will also accept on the job experience in place of such a degree. Most employers, however, look for a bachelor's degree and at least several years of relevant work experience.

Candidates looking to pursue a job in this line of work will need to excel at mathematics, science, physics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, electrical engineering, and mechanical studies. Of course, knowledge of basic construction principles is also imperative, as this profession works with contractors in regard to both design and implementation.

HVAC engineers must have strong computer skills and know how to use computer-aided design software. Strong analytical and problem solving skills are essential, as much of their work involves testing systems for load and energy consumption in order to determine additional requirements. HVAC engineers must be good at estimating costs and generally have good business skills. They must be able to communicate effectively to contractors and have strong interpersonal skills.

HVAC engineers who work in the public sector must obtain a professional license.


The daily duties of a HVAC engineer include both hands-on and administrative tasks. After the building's basic layout has been drafted, HVAC engineers employ the use of computer-aided design applications to develop blueprints that will specify the necessary equipment and guide the contractors toward correctly installing all heating and cooling systems within a building. Throughout the construction project, the HVAC engineer may also frequently visit the job site for the purpose of answering questions or to ensure proper installation by HVAC installers. After completion, the engineer may work to help with troubleshooting or evaluating the system to increase maximum performance. A HVAC engineer might find work with a commercial or residential HVAC installation company, general contractor, architectural agency, engineering firm, government entity, large corporation, or as an independent consultant. Individuals who choose this focus are in high demand and typically find work easily, as such systems are needed in new and existing homes and offices everywhere. After gaining a few years of experience in the field, HVAC engineers move on to senior roles or start their own design and manufacturing firms.