If you are interested in starting a new, 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 the continued growth of the industry 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. It's also important to consider R-22 Freon® coolant, which affects old models. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as 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 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 important, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:
Some are 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 the current shortage in the industry. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, like a higher rate of retirement and competition from other industries. There are also more young people seeking college degrees as opposed to a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC often requires physical exertion, it can still be quite gratifying. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, including tight or messy spaces.
- Work in inclement weather 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. In reality, you need an extensive skill set, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s an excellent first career if you prefer to:
- Minimize student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Demanding Job?
Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a steady supply of work help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Lifting heavy equipment and performing repetitive motions are a couple of ways the HVAC industry can be physically demanding. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be tiring. HVAC work can be very physical, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to stay in good shape.
Are HVAC Careers at Risk Because of a Recession?
While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is especially reliable due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in more places than other industries.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC systems continue to advance, reliable expertise will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or obtain it from renewable sources like 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 become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED in addition to professional training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need 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 varies from program to program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation expands your technical knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.
Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, a proper education means a combination of classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don't involve complex math. While some math is involved, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that HVAC technicians who are familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is little 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 standard 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 are a repair technician, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For projects more relevant to new construction, you will be more likely to keep to a set schedule during normal business hours.
As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Certain jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.
As we mentioned before, you should expect the occasional job in inclement weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. If you work in a customer-facing role, strong customer service skills are always useful.
Do HVAC Careers Offer Good Salaries?? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Since the HVAC industry is growing quickly, your salary will reflect it. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Top earners make between $56,600 and $68,000. Having said that, 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 earn a salary as high as 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 with the Highest Salaries
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 with project management or custom system design experience could earn six figures annually. 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 high demand across the United States, 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 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 is anticipated to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Smyth Air Conditioning
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at today!