If you’re considering a new, successful career, check out a career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC careers are continuing to grow in popularity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts additional industry growth of 13 percent by 2028.
It's easy to see why these careers are continuing to grow. One involves homeowners using government tax credits to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction homes.
A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Find out about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.
What Are HVAC Technicians?
A HVAC technician possesses the knowledge and skills to service heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most importantly, you’ll learn a great deal about:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality systems including air filters and air purification systems
A few become HVAC-R technicians, meaning they also have experience with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of an industry shortage of labor. This shortage is because of several things, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue college degrees instead of a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC often has you on your feet, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in awkward settings, such as tight or messy spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
A stubborn falsehood about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s a smart career if you would like to:
- Avoid large amounts of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
- Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Demanding Job?
You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a stable workload help both installers and technicians reduce some of the most common sources of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Lifting heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be tiring. HVAC projects are often physical, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to remain as healthy as possible.
Are HVAC Careers at Risk Because of a Recession?
While there isn't a job that's immune to a recession, HVAC is especially reliable due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be required, , which means professionals in HVAC can often find work across the country.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC systems continue to advance, reliable expertise will become even more important. New forms of heating and cooling systems use less energy or obtain it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, as will the need for competent HVAC professionals.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED as well as industry training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on additional education or certifications.
Earn certifications by signing up for classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which is typically six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to help you better serve customers.
While some aspects of the job can be learned on your own, professional development means combining classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers aren't reliant on things like advanced math. While a little math is needed, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment becomes capable of even more.
Another key perk of working in HVAC is little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, signing up for classes at a technical or trade school generally costs approximately $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 per year. With a more conventional education, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician
A typical workday may vary on the work site as well as your specific skill set. If you are a repair technician, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For technicians or installers working in construction, you will be more likely to keep to a set schedule during normal business hours.
As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.
Like we mentioned earlier, you should be comfortable working outdoors in inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. If you work in a customer-facing role, strong customer service skills are always a positive.
Can You Make a Good Living in HVAC? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Since the HVAC industry is growing quickly, your salary should reflect that. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. However, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state could earn a salary as high as six figures.
Along with starting your own business, there are several other ways to advance your career. These include:
- HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
- HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Types of HVAC That Pay More
There is a lot of room for specialization in the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities help unlock paths to specialist careers with even higher salaries. For example, master engineers with project management or custom system design experience could earn six figures annually. Larger salaries are also more common when working with advanced equipment like commercial HVAC systems, geothermal heat pumps or radiant in-floor heating.
What States Need HVAC Workers the Most
HVAC technicians are in demand across the country, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the greatest number of HVAC professionals and are experiencing enormous growth in the construction industry. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, education and healthcare facilities.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility projects.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure upgrades.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure updates.
- Illinois: Companies relocating to the Chicago area.
Where HVAC Technicians Will Be in High Demand in the Future
Projections Central, who develops long-term occupational projections, expects these states to have the greatest demand for technicians by 2028:
- Utah, 31.1%
- Colorado, 29.7%
- Nevada, 27.9%
- Arizona, 21.4%
- Iowa, Oregon and Montana, 18.5%
- Arkansas, 16.3%
- Florida, 16.2%
- South Carolina, 16%
- Texas, 15.9%
- Idaho, 15.7%
- Washington, 15.6%
- North Carolina, 15.5%
- Tennessee, 15.2%
- Wyoming, 14.3%
- Nebraska, 13.9%
- Indiana, 13.8%
- North Dakota, 13.8%
Here’s where the highest number of new positions during that time frame are expected to be:
- Florida, 5,420
- Texas, 5,530
- California, 4,100
- North Carolina, 2,510
- New York, 2,290
- Colorado, 2,000
- Ohio, 1,550
- Pennsylvania, 1,510
- Virginia, 1,500
- Tennessee, 1,360
- Washington, 1,290
- Georgia, 1,270
- New Jersey, 1,170
- Utah, 1,170
- South Carolina, 1,1060
- Indiana, 940
- Maryland, 820
- Missouri and Arizona, 810
- Michigan, 780
Weather and a healthy economy is anticipated to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Miller Climate Control LLC
HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere, including in Georgetown/[targetlocation]. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 512-937-2001 today!