How to become a central heating & gas engineer
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If you’re meticulous, work well under pressure and have great problem solving skills, you could make a great heating or gas engineer...
Working with gas and heating is a rewarding career where you can expect to be in constant demand - there is currently a skills shortage in the gas and heating industry, meaning engineers have never been so needed. With lots of engineers approaching retirement age, that demand is only predicted to increase in the near future.
With evolving technologies and the growing importance of green solutions, there’s also lots to learn and specialise in.
So what does a career as a gas or heating engineer look like?
A day in the life of a heating or gas engineer
As a gas or heating engineer, most of the jobs you will encounter will be relatively short fixes, that can be done in a couple of hours. You could be finding faults, replacing parts, or servicing boilers to make sure they’re all working correctly.
This means you'll probably be visiting multiple homes everyday, so organisation is key. It’s not uncommon to visit five or six customers in one day, sometimes even more, so good planning, timekeeping and communication is vital.
Because you’ll be working with sensitive appliances and utilities, rigor and thoroughness are expected of you. You’ll need to have routines in place to ensure your and the customer’s safety are maintained at all times.
Some bigger jobs will take longer to complete, for example a boiler installation might take a day or two. You’ll sometimes need to use your skills of deduction to find a fault, and be a little creative to come up with a solution to the problem.
Heating and gas engineer Training and experience
Gas and central heating are one of the most expensive trades to learn. As opposed to other trades, it is a legal requirement to be Gas Safe registered, which shows you're qualified to work on gas supplies.
While it is possible to learn it in college in two to four years, there are now some shorter alternatives you can find, but the important part is getting qualifications that are recognised by Gas Safe. Once your qualifications are accepted, you’ll have to pay a subscription to stay on the register.
Your qualifications need to be renewed every five years, and you are expected to keep on top of it. When you begin, you will be on probation and you can expect Gas Safe inspectors to show up on site, as they will come to check your work every so often.
If you are not fully signed off, you can still get a lot of on site experience as long as you are with a competent installer who can then sign off your work.
As you build your experience, you may also want to become an accredited installer of particular brands of boiler, meaning you’ll be listed on the manufacturer’s site and recommended when customers buy directly from them.
Heating and gas engineer salaries
As with most trades, you can work for a company or go at it on your own.
The average salary for a self-employed heating and gas engineer ranges from £30,000 for new starters, to £60,000 or more for senior engineers who are self-empolyed with a well-established flow of customers.
If you don’t want to deal with the admin of being self-employed or running your own business, you may prefer to work for a larger company. British Gas is pretty much always looking to onboard new engineers, and within a few years you can earn over £50,000 a year working for them.