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.
It's easy to see why these careers are continuing to grow. One is homeowners taking advantage of government incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, 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.
You can join this rewarding industry by becoming an HVAC technician. Learn more about their skill set, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician possesses the knowledge and skills to service heating and cooling systems. Most technicians will earn experience on equipment in both homes and commercial properties. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
Some are HVAC-R technicians, meaning they also have experience with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
There is a high demand for qualified HVAC technicians because of shrinking labor force within the industry. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, like a higher rate of retirement 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 you'll be expected to occasionally:
- Work in awkward settings, like tight or messy spaces.
- Work in high or low temperatures since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.
A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s an excellent first career if you prefer to:
- Avoid a lot of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
- Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Stressful Job?
Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a consistent schedule help people in the HVAC industry reduce some of the most common sources of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Moving heavy equipment 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.
Would a Recession Impact HVAC Jobs?
While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is particularly resilient 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 across the country.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As climate control technology continues to evolve, professional servicing will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems use less energy or obtain it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to expand, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED as well as professional 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 long it takes to become an HVAC technician may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which is typically six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to maximize your capabilities.
Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, getting the necessary education 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 having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.
Another advantage of a career in HVAC is little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school generally costs approximately $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 per year. By comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician
The daily schedule may vary on the work site as well as your specific skill set. If you work in repairs, 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 for regular business hours.
As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.
As stated previously, every now and then the job will have to be done in extreme weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For roles assisting customers, 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
Because HVAC is a fast-growing industry, your salary will reflect it. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Higher earners usually make around $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 could earn a salary as high as six figures.
In addition to owning 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
You can specialize for new opportunities within 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 receive six-figure salaries. Larger salaries are also common when you work 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 high demand across the United States, but particularly in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the most HVAC work and are experiencing major construction growth. 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 Comfort Concepts Heating & Air Conditioning
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!