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 additional industry growth of 13 percent by 2028.
There are several reasons why these careers are increasingly popular. One involves homeowners using government tax credits to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. There's also the transition away from R-22 Freon®, which impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s driven an increase 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 Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician should be able to repair, install and maintain heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most importantly, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:
Some apprentices even become HVAC-R technicians, and they are further trained to provide 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, 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 often has you on your feet, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, like tight or messy spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since equipment is often 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 continuous recertification.
It’s an excellent first career if you prefer to:
- Avoid large amounts of student debt.
- Avoid working at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
- Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Demanding Job?
Any job can be stressful. 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. What’s more, paid training and a steady supply of work help both installers and technicians reduce some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Lifting heavy items and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be strenuous. 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 no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is especially reliable due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be required, which means professionals in HVAC 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 use less energy or obtain it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, 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 professional training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.
You can become certified by signing up for 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 most often around six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation builds on your existing industry 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 combining classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don't involve complex math. While a little math is needed, the majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on critical thinking, used to 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 capable of even more.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is next to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school usually costs about $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 every year. With a more conventional education, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician
Your work 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. For technicians or installers working in construction, you may have more of a set schedule during normal business hours.
As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.
As we mentioned before, you should be comfortable working outdoors in inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For jobs that work with customers or clients, strong customer service skills are always useful.
Can You Make a Good Living in HVAC? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Since the HVAC industry is growing quickly, 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. Having said that, 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 several other career opportunities. 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 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 needed in cities throughout the country, but particularly in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the most HVAC workers 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 Herman Allen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at today!