HVAC is an abbreviation for "heating, ventilation and air conditioning." An HVAC supervisor is a senior technician who manages a team of technicians who work on heating and cooling systems. In most cases, this is a working manager position. This means that the supervisor performs installation and repair duties in addition to management and administrative duties.
An HVAC supervisor might be involved in many types of jobs. He might work at a residential, commercial or industrial site with a team of installers or repair technicians. His team might consist of a single additional individual or several people of varying skill levels, depending on the size and nature of the job. He might also travel between several jobs, supervising the work of several crews at different sites.
This type of supervisor might also visit a proposed job to evaluate a problem. Diagnosing an issue and providing an estimate for repair or installation is a responsibility that is often assumed by an HVAC supervisor. This might be a simple process of evaluating the coolant levels in a residential air conditioning unit, or it might be the more complex process of making systems recommendations for a new commercial building.
In most cases, an HVAC supervisor has the final responsibility for all jobs under his supervision. If one of his team members makes a mistake, it is his job to catch it and get it fixed. He is also responsible for ensuring that all codes and regulations are met, and that all employees are doing their jobs properly.
Managerial functions can include hiring and firing employees and conducting performance reviews. Often, an HVAC supervisor is responsible for training new employees as well. He might also provide continuing education training by attending classes on new products and technologies, then returning with the knowledge to train the rest of the staff. In some cases, he may be the only one of a crew with certain certifications, so there may be specific jobs that only he can do.
Paperwork and other administrative functions often fall to the HVAC supervisor as well. This can include completing estimate forms, filing reports and even invoicing. It can also mean verifying time cards and other types of human resources documentation.
Few individuals become supervisors immediately upon beginning their careers. HVAC supervisors usually have several years of experience and have proven themselves capable of doing quality work and of leading a team effectively. These professionals often have college educations and a history of attending industry training classes. The supervisor pay rate is generally higher than that of a technician, partly because of this advanced knowledge and experience, but also because of the increased responsibility that comes with the role.