If you are interested in starting a new, successful career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is an excellent place to start, 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 increasingly popular. One involves homeowners using government tax credits to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which affects old models. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as 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 Are HVAC Technicians?

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 important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:

A few become 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 shrinking labor force within the industry. 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 you'll be expected to occasionally:

  • Work in awkward settings, like tight or dirty spaces.
  • Work in high or low temperatures since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout 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 ongoing certification.

It’s an excellent first career if you prefer to:

  • Avoid a lot of student debt.
  • Work outdoors instead of in 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 Difficult Job?

Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. In addition, paid training and a consistent schedule help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Lifting heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be tiring. HVAC projects are often physical, 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 there isn't a job that's immune to a recession, HVAC is particularly resilient due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in more places than other industries.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As HVAC equipment becomes more complex, professional servicing will become even more important. New forms of heating and cooling systems need less energy or obtain it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to expand, 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 along with specialized 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 much time is needed to become an HVAC technician may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which is typically six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this influential 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, professional development means combining 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, the majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that HVAC technicians who are familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be vital as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.

Another benefit of working in HVAC is almost zero student debt.

According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school usually costs about $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 per year. With a more conventional education, 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 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 will be more likely to keep to a set schedule for regular business hours.

As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.

As stated previously, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme 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

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. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. However, 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 could earn a salary as high as six figures.

Along with starting 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

There is a lot of room for specialization in 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 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 needed in cities throughout the country, but particularly 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:

  1. Utah, 31.1%
  2. Colorado, 29.7%
  3. Nevada, 27.9%
  4. Arizona, 21.4%
  5. Iowa, Oregon and Montana, 18.5%
  6. Arkansas, 16.3%
  7. Florida, 16.2%
  8. South Carolina, 16%
  9. Texas, 15.9%
  10. Idaho, 15.7%
  11. Washington, 15.6%
  12. North Carolina, 15.5%
  13. Tennessee, 15.2%
  14. Wyoming, 14.3%
  15. Nebraska, 13.9%
  16. Indiana, 13.8%
  17. North Dakota, 13.8%

Here’s where the highest number of new positions during that time frame are expected to be:

  1. Florida, 5,420
  2. Texas, 5,530
  3. California, 4,100
  4. North Carolina, 2,510
  5. New York, 2,290
  6. Colorado, 2,000
  7. Ohio, 1,550
  8. Pennsylvania, 1,510
  9. Virginia, 1,500
  10. Tennessee, 1,360
  11. Washington, 1,290
  12. Georgia, 1,270
  13. New Jersey, 1,170
  14. Utah, 1,170
  15. South Carolina, 1,1060
  16. Indiana, 940
  17. Maryland, 820
  18. Missouri and Arizona, 810
  19. Michigan, 780

Weather and a healthy economy should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Speedy Air Conditioning

HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere, including in Naples. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 239-244-3439 today!