If you are interested in starting a new, successful career, consider one in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the fastest-growing careers you can find, 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 involves homeowners using government tax credits to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, 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.
A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Find out about what they do, 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. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most important, 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. It's also more likely for young people to start pursuing 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 still be a fulfilling career. As a technician should be able to:
- Work in unpleasant settings, including tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in high or low temperatures since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In reality, you need an extensive skill set, specialized education and periodic recertification.
It’s a smart career if you would like to:
- Avoid a lot of 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?
You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate 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 triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Moving heavy items and performing repetitive motions are a couple of ways the HVAC industry can be physically demanding. Reaching difficult-to-access equipment can be tiring. HVAC technicians should be physically fit, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to remain as healthy as possible.
Are HVAC Careers at Risk Because of a Recession?
While there isn't a job that's immune to a recession, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, which means apprentices and master technicians alike 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. The newest models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or produce it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Greener 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 along with technical training. Other, more specific (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 relies on the program, which is most often around six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.
While some elements of an HVAC career could 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 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 vital as equipment becomes capable of even more.
Another advantage of a career in HVAC is little to no 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. By comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician
A typical workday may vary on the work site as well as your specific skill set. 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 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 you can go on may vary.
Like we mentioned earlier, you should expect the occasional job 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.
Is a Career in HVAC Profitable? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Because HVAC is a fast-growing industry, 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. 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 may make as much as 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 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 with project management or custom system design experience 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 needed in cities throughout the country, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the most HVAC work 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 H & H Service Company
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Mechanicsburg. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 717-220-4502 today!