While in the past, the HVAC industry was traditionally male-dominated, this image is quickly being shed as more and more women are finding employment in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Feb. 2017) reported that women make up only 1.4 percent of the HVAC workforce, but the nearly 6,000 women nationwide represents a significant leap from years past. Women’s representation is growing in conjunction with the swelling demand for HVAC professionals.
Women are also starting HVAC businesses and securing higher positions in management with a greater degree of responsibility. For example, the Refrigeration School (July 2016) covered a few of the rising industry leaders, including Anderson Plumbing Heating & Air in San Diego, which is helmed by Mary Jean Anderson, as well as Gene Love Plumbing Air Electrical, which is led by Tammy Ferris with more than 30 years of experience. Furthermore, the recent surge of women also inspired the creation of Women in HVACR, an organization that aims to provide education, mentoring, networking opportunities, and other resources for women in this career field.
Ultimately, there are many employment opportunities for women searching for a career in the HVAC industry. By illustration, the BLS (Dec. 2015) projected that there would be an explosion of openings in this industry in the coming decade; specifically, the BLS anticipated a 14 percent increase in HVAC positions nationwide between 2014 and 2024, substantially more robust than the average growth expected across all occupations during that time (6.5 percent). The addition of 39,600 fresh jobs in this industry reflects the continuing demand for climate control professionals. That said, aspiring HVAC professionals—both men and women—must have the requisite education before joining the industry, which can be expensive or even cost-prohibitive for some. Several organizations have stepped up to offer grants and tuition stipends for women in this high-growth industry. Here are 10 standout scholarships for women in HVAC.
Women in HVACR—the aforementioned organization with a myriad networking, education, and other benefits for women working in HVAC—offers three annual $2,000 scholarships as of 2017. Two types of scholarships are available: one is provided for those applying to a technical or trade school, while the other must be applied toward a bachelor’s degree program at a four-year school. For the former, applicants must have at least a 2.0 high school GPA; for the latter, a 3.0 GPA is required. Both of these are open to females who are high school seniors (or older) and interested in working in HVAC, and both require a completed application and 500-word essay answering questions on the organization’s website. Applications must be submitted by June 1st, and scholarships are announced at the end of the month.