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With January comes cold weather in the Chicago area. This year the cold has been extreme with several days of sub-zero temperatures across the region. This has made trained and certified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) mechanics and installers some of the most important people in many communities. Fortunately, Waubonsee Community College provides opportunities for people to get that training and certification.

Waubonsee Students Learn an Essential Weather-Related Trade

Photo of HVAC students
Students in Waubonsee’s HVAC Program get hands-on experience in all aspects of the industry.

With January comes cold weather in the Chicago area. This year the cold has been extreme with several days of sub-zero temperatures across the region. This has made trained and certified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) mechanics and installers some of the most important people in many communities. Fortunately, Waubonsee Community College provides opportunities for people to get that training and certification.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of HVAC mechanics and installers is projected to grow by 15 percent by 2026. This is driven by new commercial and residential construction, as well as by the demand to upgrade or replace older systems that are not energy efficient. Also, the median annual wages of HVAC mechanics and installers is more than $45,000 while the median wage of all occupations measured by the BLS is just over $37,000.

These high employment and salary numbers—along with the low-temperature numbers—makes Waubonsee’s HVAC program appealing to many people. The program offers a comprehensive curriculum that prepares students for jobs in both residential and commercial structures.  

Rodolfo Maldonado, of Aurora, enrolled in Waubonsee’s HVAC Program in the spring 2017 semester. At the age of 56, married and the father of three grown kids, Maldonado is a nontraditional student. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1980-1990 and then graduated from Waubonsee with a degree in automotive technology in 1993. Even with this experience and education, he sees the value of more education.     

“If you’re trying to move forward in a career, keep taking classes. Keep adding skills,” he said.

Maldonado is a lifetime learner and he appreciates what he gets at Waubonsee.

“I like the community college experience.”

Part of that experience is interacting with students of different ages and from all walks of life. He knows that, even while he’s learning, he has things to offer other students.

“As you apply yourself, you can walk away with anything,” he tells fellow students in his classes.

Maldonado continues to apply himself for many different reasons. Certainly for the education and experience, but there are other, more personal reasons, too.

“I impress my wife from time to time.” 

And he keeps people warm in the winter.

Waubonsee Community College’s HVAC Program is accredited by HVAC Excellence. HVAC Excellence is an independent third party that reviewed Waubonsee’s HVAC Program and validated its compliance with established standards of excellence. These standards exist to ensure that students receive the training required to be successful in the industry.

photo of HVAC student