Heating and ventilation engineer


Career outlook for heating and ventilation engineer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would install and service heating and air conditioning systems. You’d help people and organisations save energy by making the systems as efficient as possible.

You’d work on systems in large buildings like office blocks, factories, schools and hospitals. You would make sure that systems work as efficiently as possible to reduce fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions and help people to save energy. This means you'd also work with renewable energy systems that use wind, tidal, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydrogen power. 

There are a variety of roles you could specialise in. You might work as a:

  • Heating installer - fit heating equipment and pipework systems in buildings like office blocks, hospitals and schools
  • Ductwork installer - put in ductwork and ventilation systems in large buildings like sports stadia, airport terminals and shopping centres
  • Service engineer - plan and carry out regular maintenance and repairs on all systems to make sure they are working safely and efficiently
  • Commissioning engineer - test and check systems to make sure they meet their original design specification and do what the customer needs
  • Control engineers y- design and install the control panels that operate and adjust heating systems
  • Domestic heating installer - fit central heating systems in homes and make sure they work properly

You might also work with renewable energy heating systems like ground source heat pumps, which take the heat from underground and pump it to the surface into buildings to supply warm air.

You’d need to be able to read and carefully follow technical plans and diagrams.

You’d need to be comfortable working in confined spaces and have a good head for heights. You might need to work outdoors in all sorts of weather.

A safe and methodical approach is important.

Working conditions


You would normally work up to 40 hours week, but if you have a particular project deadline you might sometimes have to work extra hours. This could include working evenings and weekends to get the job finished on time.


You would work in all types of buildings like offices, shopping centres and schools. You might be also work on construction sites, which could be dusty and cold. You may sometimes work in cramped and uncomfortable spaces in order to get access to heating systems and equipment.


You would travel from one job to the next in your local or regional area but if you work for a big national company, you may have to work away from home at certain times, anywhere in the country. You're likely to need a driving licence.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Problem solving
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking initiative
  • Making decisions
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


The main route in is through a Modern Apprenticeship leading to a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (SVQ Level 2/3), a National Certificate (SCQF Level 7), a National Qualification (SCQF Level 7), a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) in areas such as:

  • Heating and Ventilation Studies
  • Plumbing and Heating
  • Access to Building Services Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Heating and Ventilating.

Entry requirements for a Modern Apprenticeship vary but employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5. You usually need to pass an aptitude test to enter this apprenticeship. 

You can enter some National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF levels 2-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses and employers)
  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects (required by many courses and employers)
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

You will also need

  • Normal colour vision for some tasks/roles
  • To be physically fit
  • A good head for heights 

If your job involves working or training on a construction site you will need to hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.

A driving licence is required for some jobs. 

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate understanding of the industry and practical skills such as Skills for Work Construction Engineering (SCFQ level 3).

Once in a job, if you work on oil-fired equipment you may find it useful to follow the Oil Firing Technical Association for the Petroleum Industry's (OFTEC) training and registration scheme.