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.
There are several reasons why these careers are growing so quickly. One is federal 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.
A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Learn more about their skill set, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.
What Does It Mean to Be 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:
- 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?
There is a high demand for qualified HVAC technicians because of an industry shortage of labor. This shortage is because of several things, 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 can be physically demanding, it can still be quite gratifying. As a technician should be able to:
- Work in awkward settings, like tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions 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 a lot of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Become your own boss and own your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Stressful 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. What’s more, paid training and a stable workload 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 objects and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Reaching difficult-to-access equipment can be exhausting. HVAC technicians should be physically fit, 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 consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns 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 many different cities.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As climate control technology continues to evolve, reliable expertise will become even more important. New forms of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or produce it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable 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 on top of professional training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on 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 may fluctuate depending on the specific 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 further develops your technical knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.
While some aspects of the job can be learned on your own, professional development means blending classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don’t require things like advanced math skills. While you'll need to know some basic math, the majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, used to identify problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is almost zero 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 annually. By comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician
Your work schedule 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. For projects more relevant to new construction, you may have more of 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. Complex jobs might take longer 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 inclement 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 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. Then again, your salary may be dependent on the area's average wages 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 ways to advance your career. These include:
- HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
- HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Types of HVAC That Pay the Most
You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities open doors for niche positions with great salaries. For example, master engineers with experience designing custom equipment or leading projects 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 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 Temperature Doctors Heating & Cooling, Inc
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Rockford/[targetlocation]. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at (815)914-6197 today!