If you’re considering a new, successful career, check out a career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the fastest-growing careers you can find, 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 growing so quickly. 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 ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s driven an increase in 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 Does It Mean to Be an HVAC Technician?
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:
Some apprentices even 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 the current shortage in the industry. This shortage is because of several things, 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 should be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, such as tight or messy spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and periodic recertification.
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 Difficult Job?
Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a consistent schedule help HVAC professionals fend off some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Moving heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Accessing and servicing large 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.
Would a Recession Impact HVAC Jobs?
While a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the essential nature of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be required, which means professionals in HVAC can often find work in many different cities.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As climate control technology continues to evolve, technicians and installers will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems use less energy or produce it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Greener HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for certified HVAC technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED on top of specialized training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on additional education or certifications.
You can secure the needed certifications by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician varies from program to program, which is typically six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation further develops your technical knowledge to maximize your capabilities.
Even though basic concepts 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 don’t require things like advanced math skills. While some math is involved, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, used to identify 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 benefit of working in HVAC is almost zero 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. 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
The daily schedule 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 projects more relevant to new construction, 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. Certain jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
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 welcome.
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. Then again, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. Experienced HVAC technicians transitioning to a position in management in a high-paying state could earn a salary as high as six figures.
Aside from launching your own business, there are other paths for career advancement. These include:
- HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
- HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Types of HVAC with the Highest Salaries
It's easy to specialize in something with a career in the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities open doors for niche positions with great salaries. For example, master engineers with project management or custom system design experience could earn six figures annually. 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 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 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 will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with B&D Air Conditioning
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!