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.
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 impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as 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 Are HVAC Technicians?
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 importantly, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:
Some are 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. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. There are also more young people seeking college degrees instead of a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically demanding, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, such as tight or dusty spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and continuous recertification.
It’s a smart career if you would like to:
- Minimize student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security since HVAC positions 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 work on complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a consistent schedule help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Carrying heavy equipment and performing repetitive motions are a couple of ways the HVAC industry can be physically demanding. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be tiring. HVAC projects are often physical, 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 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 climate control technology continues to evolve, professional servicing will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or generate it from renewable sources including solar and wind. 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 industry training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.
You can become certified by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. The time it takes to become an HVAC technician may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which is typically six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to help you better serve customers.
While some aspects of the job can 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 aren't reliant on things like advanced math. While you'll need to know some basic math, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.
Another benefit of working 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. In comparison, 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 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. 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. Complex jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.
As stated previously, you should expect the occasional job in extreme weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For jobs that work with customers or clients, strong customer service skills are always useful.
Is a Career in HVAC Profitable? 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. Higher earners usually make around $56,600 and $68,000. Then again, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state could earn a salary as high as 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
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 be eligible for salaries as high as six figures. 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 even more so in 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 AW Heating & Air Conditioning
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!