If you’re considering a new, successful career, consider one in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is an excellent place to start, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.
People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are increasingly popular. One is federal incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in new construction homes.
A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Learn more about their skill set, 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 important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
Some apprentices even become HVAC-R technicians, which means they also work with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of the current shortage in the industry. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. It's also more likely for young people to start pursuing 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 quite gratifying. As a technician should be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, including tight or dusty spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout peak demand.
A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s a smart career if you would like to:
- Avoid a lot of student debt.
- Avoid working at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security because the HVAC industry can't be outsourced.
- Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Difficult Job?
Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools can help address any concerns. In addition, paid training and a stable workload help HVAC professionals avoid some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Carrying heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be tiring. HVAC technicians should be physically fit, 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 no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, which means professionals in HVAC can often find work in many different cities.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC systems continue to advance, technicians and installers will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or generate it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for certified HVAC technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED on top of technical training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.
You can become certified by signing up for classes at a community college or trade school. How much time is needed to become an HVAC technician varies from program to program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, a proper education means combining classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don't involve complex math. While you'll need to know some basic math, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be vital as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another key perk of working in HVAC is little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school typically costs around $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 per year. In comparison, 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 based on the project and job site. If you work in repairs, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. If you work in construction/home building or management, you are more likely to have a set schedule during normal business hours.
As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.
As we mentioned before, every now and then the job will have to be done in extreme weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always welcome.
Do HVAC Careers Offer Good Salaries?? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Since the HVAC industry is growing quickly, your salary will reflect it. 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. Having said that, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state may make as much as six figures.
Aside from launching 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 with the Highest Salaries
You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities open doors for niche positions with great salaries. For example, master engineers with experience designing custom equipment or leading projects 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 needed in cities throughout the country, but especially so in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the most HVAC work 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 should spur continued 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 . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at today!