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 careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
It's easy to see why these careers are increasingly popular. 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 impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s spurred further growth 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 technicians will earn experience on equipment in both homes and commercial properties. And, most importantly, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:
A few become HVAC-R technicians, meaning they also have experience with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
Qualified HVAC technicians are in high demand because of shrinking labor force within the industry. This shortage is because of several things, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. It's also more likely for young people to start pursuing college degrees as opposed to a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC often requires physical exertion, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, including tight or messy spaces.
- Work in high or low temperatures 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 great career choice if you want to:
- Avoid a lot of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside 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 Demanding Job?
You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help address any concerns. In addition, paid training and a stable workload help people in the HVAC industry fend off some of the most common sources of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Carrying heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be tiring. HVAC projects are often 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 a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be required, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in more places than other industries.
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 consume less energy or produce it from renewable sources such as 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 learn everything you need to become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED along with specialized training. Other, more specialized (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. The time 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 influential accreditation expands your technical knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.
While some elements 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 some math is involved, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that HVAC technicians who are familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another advantage of a career in HVAC is almost zero student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, enrolling in a technical or trade school typically costs around $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 per year. By comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician
Your work 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 for regular business hours.
As a technician, you'll visit many different homes and businesses to perform repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
As we mentioned before, you should be comfortable working outdoors in severe weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For jobs that work with customers or clients, 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 should reflect that. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Top earners make between $56,600 and $68,000. Then again, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. Experienced HVAC technicians transitioning to a position in management in a high-paying state could make upward of 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 That Pay the Most
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 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 in demand across the country, but especially so in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the greatest number of HVAC professionals 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 will further encourage 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 . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at today!