If you’re considering a new, successful career, consider one in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC careers are continuing to grow in popularity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.
There are several reasons why these careers are growing so quickly. One is homeowners taking advantage of government incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. It’s also important to consider R-22 Freon® coolant, which impacts older equipment. 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 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 should be able to repair, install and maintain 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:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality equipment like air filters and air purification systems
A few become HVAC-R technicians, which means they also work with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
Qualified HVAC technicians are in high demand because of the current shortage in 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 instead of 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 should be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, like tight or messy spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.
A stubborn falsehood about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and ongoing certification.
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 because the HVAC industry can’t be outsourced.
- Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Difficult 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. Sufficient 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?
Moving heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Reaching difficult-to-access 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 no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, 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, , which means apprentices and master technicians alike can often find work in many different cities.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC systems continue to advance, technicians and installers will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or produce it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for competent HVAC professionals.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED on top of specialized training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers require 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 may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which is most often around six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation further develops your technical knowledge to maximize your capabilities.
While some elements of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, professional development means combining classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don’t involve complex math. While you’ll need to know some basic math, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that HVAC techncians who are familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.
Another key perk of working 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. By comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician
A typical workday 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 projects more relevant to new construction, you are more likely to have 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. Complex jobs may need more time and resources 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 inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always welcome.
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. However, your salary may be dependent on the area’s average wages and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state may make as much as six figures.
Along with starting 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
It’s easy to specialize in something with a career in the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities offer access to even higher salaries. For example, master engineers who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems 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 in high demand across the United States, but even more so in 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:
- 1.Utah, 31.1%
- 2. Colorado, 29.7%
- 3. Nevada, 27.9%
- 4. Arizona, 21.4%
- 5. Iowa, Oregon and Montana, 18.5%
- 6. Arkansas, 16.3%
- 7. Florida, 16.2%
- 8. South Carolina, 16%
- 9. Texas, 15.9%
- 10. Idaho, 15.7%
- 11. Washington, 15.6%
- 12. North Carolina, 15.5%
- 13. Tennessee, 15.2%
- 14. Wyoming, 14.3%
- 15. Nebraska, 13.9%
- 16. Indiana, 13.8%
- 17. North Dakota, 13.8%
Here’s where the highest number of new positions during that time frame are expected to be:
- 1. Florida, 5,420
- 2. Texas, 5,530
- 3. California, 4,100
- 4. North Carolina, 2,510
- 5. New York, 2,290
- 6. Colorado, 2,000
- 7. Ohio, 1,550
- 8. Pennsylvania, 1,510
- 9. Virginia, 1,500
- 10. Tennessee, 1,360
- 11. Washington, 1,290
- 12. Georgia, 1,270
- 13. New Jersey, 1,170
- 14. Utah, 1,170
- 15. South Carolina, 1,1060
- 16. Indiana, 940
- 17. Maryland, 820
- 18. Missouri and Arizona, 810
- 19. Michigan, 780
Weather and a healthy economy is anticipated to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Air Houston Mechanical LLC
HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at (832) 957-9332 today!