If you’re considering a new, successful career, consider one 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 careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
There are several reasons why these careers are increasingly popular. One is homeowners taking advantage of government incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. There's also the transition away from R-22 Freon®, which impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in new construction homes.
One of the most in-demand careers is working as 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 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?
There is a high demand for qualified HVAC technicians because of an industry shortage of labor. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, like a higher rate of retirement and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue college degrees rather than a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC often requires physical exertion, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:
- Work in awkward settings, including tight or messy spaces.
- Work in high or low temperatures since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
A stubborn falsehood about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and periodic recertification.
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 knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Become your own boss and own your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Demanding Job?
Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians service complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a steady supply of work help people in the HVAC industry avoid 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. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be strenuous. HVAC technicians should be physically fit, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to stay in good shape.
Would a Recession Impact HVAC Jobs?
While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is particularly resilient due to the essential nature of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, which means apprentices and master technicians alike can often find work in more places than other industries.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC systems continue to advance, technicians and installers will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or generate it from renewable sources such as 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 learn everything you need to become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED along with technical training. Other, more specialty (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 is most often around six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation expands your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, getting the necessary education means a combination of classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don’t require things like advanced math skills. While a little math is needed, the majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be vital as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is next to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, enrolling in a technical or trade school usually costs about $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 every year. With a more conventional education, the standard 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 will be more likely to keep to a set schedule during normal business hours.
As a technician, you'll visit many different homes and businesses to perform repair, maintenance or installation work. Certain jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.
As we mentioned before, every now and then the job will have to be done in severe weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always a positive.
Do HVAC Careers Offer Good Salaries?? 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. Then again, your salary may be dependent on the area's average wages and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state could make upward of 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
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 experience designing custom equipment or leading projects could be eligible for salaries as high as six figures. 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 in demand across the country, 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 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 Alpine Summit Heating & Cooling
HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere, including in Athol. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 208-561-1226 today!