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 the continued growth of the industry 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. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in 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 Does It Mean to Be an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most technicians will earn experience on equipment in both homes and commercial properties. And, most importantly, you’ll learn a great deal about:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality equipment like air filters and air purification systems
Some apprentices even become 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 the current shortage in the industry. This shortage is because of several things, like a higher rate of retirement and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue college degrees rather than a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC often has you on your feet, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:
- Work in unpleasant settings, like tight or messy spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.
A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and continuous recertification.
It’s a smart career if you would like to:
- Avoid large amounts of student debt.
- Work outdoors instead of in 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 Difficult Job?
Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a consistent schedule help both installers and technicians 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 both common during HVAC work. 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 stay in good shape.
Is HVAC a Recession-Proof Job?
While a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is particularly resilient due to the essential nature of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, , which means apprentices and master technicians alike can often find work in more places than other industries.
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 consume less energy or generate it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to expand, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.
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 specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.
Earn certifications by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. The time it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which is typically six months to two years. An employer may 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.
Even though basic concepts 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 don’t require things like advanced math skills. While you'll need to know some basic math, the bulk 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 becomes capable of even more.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is next to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, signing up for classes at a technical or trade school generally costs approximately $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
Your work schedule may vary based on the project and job site. If you are a repair technician, 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, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Certain jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.
As we mentioned before, every now and then the job will have to be done 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
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. However, 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.
In addition to owning 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 open doors for niche positions with great salaries. For example, master engineers with project management or custom system design experience could be eligible for salaries as high as six figures. 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 particularly in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the most HVAC work 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 Speedy Air Conditioning
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Naples/[targetlocation]. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 239-244-3439 today!