If you are interested in starting a new, successful career, check out a career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is an excellent place to start, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts additional industry growth of 13 percent by 2028.
It's easy to see why these careers are continuing to grow. 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 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 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. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most importantly, 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?
Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after 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. 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 you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, including tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and continuous recertification.
It’s a smart career if you would like to:
- Minimize 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 handle complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. In addition, paid training and a steady supply of work help both installers and technicians fend off some of the most common triggers 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 exhausting. 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 a recession can affect any industry, 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 many different cities.
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 consume less energy or produce it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to expand, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To start a career as 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 typically need additional education or certifications.
You can secure the needed certifications 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. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading 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, professional development 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 some math is involved, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on critical thinking, for identifying 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 capable of even more.
Another advantage of a career in HVAC is next 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. In comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician
The daily schedule 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. 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 respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs may require more time 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 difficult-to-reach places. For jobs that work with customers or clients, 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
Because HVAC is a fast-growing industry, 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. Then again, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. Experienced HVAC technicians transitioning to a position 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 That Pay More
You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities help unlock paths to specialist careers with 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 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 will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Enertek Air Conditioning & Heating
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!