If you want a fulfilling, successful career, look no further than 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.
People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are increasingly popular. One is federal incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. It's also important to consider R-22 Freon® coolant, which affects old models. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s increased the availability of new construction homes.
A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Learn the ins and outs of the HVAC technician's daily schedule, 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. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most importantly, you’ll learn a great deal about:
Some apprentices even become HVAC-R technicians, and they are further trained to provide refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
There is a high demand for qualified HVAC technicians because of an industry shortage of labor. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, 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 also be very rewarding. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in awkward settings, including tight or messy spaces.
- Work in high or low temperatures since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In reality, you need an extensive skill set, specialized education and continuous recertification.
It’s a great career choice if you want to:
- Avoid a lot of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Difficult Job?
Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a consistent schedule help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common sources of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Carrying heavy items and performing repetitive motions are a couple of ways the HVAC industry can be physically demanding. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be tiring. HVAC work can be very 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 a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is particularly resilient due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in many different cities.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC equipment becomes more complex, technicians and installers will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or obtain it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED as well as specialized training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on additional education or certifications.
You can secure the needed certifications by signing up for classes at a community college or trade school. How much time is needed to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.
While some elements of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, professional development means blending classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers aren't reliant on things like advanced math. While you'll need to know some basic math, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.
Another advantage of a career in HVAC is next to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, signing up for classes at a technical or trade school usually costs about $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 every year. In comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician
The daily schedule may vary depending on where you work. If you are a repair technician, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. If you work in construction/home building or management, 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 may require more time than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
As we mentioned before, you should expect the occasional job in inclement weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. 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
With the constant growth in HVAC careers, 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, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state could earn a salary as high 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 That Pay the Most
There is a lot of room for specialization in the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities offer access to 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 likely if you have experience 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 even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the most HVAC workers 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 Air Temperature Control
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at today!