If you’re considering a new, 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 careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are increasingly popular. One is federal incentives 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 red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in new construction homes.
A career that's increasingly in demand is 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 possesses the knowledge and skills to service heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most importantly, you’ll learn a great deal about:
Some are HVAC-R technicians, meaning they also have experience with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of shrinking labor force within the industry. 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, including tight or dusty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout peak demand.
A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and continuous recertification.
It’s a great career choice if you want to:
- Minimize student debt.
- Work outdoors instead of in an office.
- Have job security since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
- Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Difficult Job?
Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a stable workload help both installers and technicians reduce some of the most common sources of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Moving 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 work can be very 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 consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, which means professionals in HVAC can often find work across the country.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC equipment becomes more complex, reliable expertise will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems use less energy or produce it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to expand, 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 along with professional training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on additional education or certifications.
You can become certified by taking classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. Your employer might 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, 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 majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on 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 becomes more technologically advanced.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is next to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, enrolling in a technical or trade school usually costs about $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 every year. In 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 depending on where you work. If you are a repair technician, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. If you work in construction/home building or management, you are more likely to have 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. Some jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.
As stated previously, every now and then the job will have to be done 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.
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. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $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 make upward of 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 help unlock paths to specialist careers with 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 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 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 Custom Air Systems Inc
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!