If you want a fulfilling, successful career, check out a career 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 careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
It's easy to see why these careers are increasingly popular. One is federal 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 ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s increased the availability of new construction homes.
One of the most in-demand careers is working as an HVAC technician. Learn more about their skill set, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.
What Are HVAC Technicians?
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 receive a comprehensive education about:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality systems including air filters and air purification systems
A few become HVAC-R technicians, and they are further trained to provide refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of an industry shortage of labor. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue college degrees as opposed to a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically demanding, it can still be quite gratifying. As a technician should be able to:
- Work in unpleasant settings, like tight or dusty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout 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 great career choice if you want to:
- Avoid large amounts 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 Stressful Job?
Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help address any concerns. In addition, paid training and a steady supply of work help people in the HVAC industry fend off some of the most common reasons for work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Carrying heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Reaching difficult-to-access 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 there isn't a job that's immune to a recession, 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 needed, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work across the country.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As climate control technology continues to evolve, technicians and installers will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or produce it from renewable sources like 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 along with industry training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on additional education or certifications.
You can become certified by enrolling in 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 employer may also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation expands your technical knowledge to maximize your capabilities.
While some elements 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 a little math is needed, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in 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 becomes capable of even more.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is almost zero student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, enrolling in a technical or trade school generally costs approximately $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 annually. In comparison, 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 depending on where you work. If you primarily offer repair services, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. If you work in construction/home building or management, you may have more of 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. Some jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
As stated previously, you should expect the occasional job in inclement weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. 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
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. 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. Some HVAC techs working 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 with the Highest Salaries
There is a lot of room for specialization in the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities open doors for niche positions with great salaries. For example, master engineers who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems 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 particularly 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 should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Dial One Mears Air Conditioning & Heating Inc
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Phoenix/[targetlocation]. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 602-832-7808 today!