If you want a fulfilling, successful career, look no further than 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.
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 impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in new construction homes.
You can join this rewarding industry by becoming 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 is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality systems including air filters and air purification systems
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 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 should be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, such as tight or messy spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas 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 a great career choice if you want to:
- Minimize student debt.
- Avoid working at a desk or in 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 Difficult Job?
You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians service complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help address any concerns. In addition, paid training and a steady supply of work help HVAC professionals fend off some of the most common sources of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Carrying heavy items and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Reaching difficult-to-access 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.
Are HVAC Careers at Risk Because of a Recession?
While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the sheer popularity 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 HVAC systems continue to advance, technicians and installers will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or produce it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Greener HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, as will the need for certified HVAC technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED in addition to professional training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.
You can secure the needed certifications by signing up for 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. Your employer might also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation expands your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
While some elements of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, a proper education means blending 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 lies in critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be vital as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.
Another advantage of a career in HVAC is little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school generally costs approximately $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 every year. With a more conventional education, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician
The daily schedule 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 technicians or installers working in construction, you are more likely to have 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. Certain jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
As we mentioned before, you should expect the occasional job in severe weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always a positive.
Can You Make a Good Living in HVAC? 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. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. Having said that, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state may make as much 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 help unlock paths to specialist careers with even higher salaries. For example, master engineers who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems could receive six-figure salaries. 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 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 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 is anticipated to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Point Heating & Cooling
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at [phone] today!