If you’re considering 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 the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.

People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are growing so quickly. One involves homeowners using government tax credits 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 driven an increase in new construction homes.

A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Find out about what they do, 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 should be able to repair, install and maintain heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most importantly, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:

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. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue college degrees instead of a licensed trade like HVAC.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

While HVAC can be physically demanding, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:

  • Work in awkward settings, like tight or dusty spaces.
  • Work in high or low temperatures since equipment is often outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout peak demand.

A stubborn falsehood 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.
  • Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Stressful Job?

Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. In addition, paid training and a consistent schedule help people in the HVAC industry reduce some of the most common sources of work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Lifting heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be strenuous. 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 no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, 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 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 need 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 start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED along with professional training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.

Earn certifications by taking 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 most often around six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to help you better serve customers.

While some aspects of the job can be learned on your own, a proper 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, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be vital as equipment becomes capable of even more.

Another key perk 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. By comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

Your work schedule may vary depending on where you work. If you primarily offer repair services, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. If you work in construction/home building or management, you are more likely to have 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, you should be comfortable working outdoors in severe weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always useful.

Can You Make a Good Living in HVAC? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers

Since the HVAC industry is growing quickly, your salary will reflect it. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Higher earners usually make around $56,600 and $68,000. Having said that, 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.

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 That Pay the Most

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 project management or custom system design experience could receive six-figure salaries. 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 in high demand across the United States, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the greatest number of HVAC professionals 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:

  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 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. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 239-244-3439 today!