If you’re considering a new, 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.
People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are growing so quickly. 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 older equipment. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction homes.
You can join this rewarding industry by becoming an HVAC technician. Learn more about their skill set, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician should be able to repair, install and maintain heating and cooling systems. Most technicians will earn experience on equipment in both homes and commercial properties. And, most important, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:
Some apprentices even become HVAC-R technicians, meaning they also have experience with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
There is a high demand for qualified HVAC technicians 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. 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 you'll be expected to occasionally:
- Work in unpleasant settings, like tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and periodic recertification.
It’s a great career choice if you want to:
- Avoid large amounts of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security because the HVAC industry 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 must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a steady supply of work help people in the HVAC industry avoid some of the most common reasons for work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Moving heavy equipment and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be strenuous. HVAC technicians should be physically fit, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to stay in good shape.
Are HVAC Careers at Risk Because of a Recession?
While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is particularly resilient due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, which means apprentices and master technicians alike can often find work in many different cities.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC systems continue to advance, professional servicing will become even more important. Newer 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 grow in popularity, 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 on top of technical training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.
Earn certifications by taking classes at a community college or trade school. The time it takes to become an HVAC technician may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which is typically six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation expands your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
While some aspects of the job can be learned on your own, getting the necessary education means blending classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don't involve complex math. While you'll need to know some basic math, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes 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 especially useful as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is almost zero student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, enrolling in a technical or trade school generally costs approximately $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 annually. With a more conventional education, 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 work in repairs, 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, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.
Like we mentioned earlier, you should expect the occasional job 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, your salary may be dependent on the area's average wages and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state could earn a salary as high as six figures.
Along with starting 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 with project management or custom system design experience could earn six figures annually. Larger salaries are also common when you work 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 will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Mayeuxs AC & Heating
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at today!