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 careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
It's easy to see 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 affects old models. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s driven an increase 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 Are HVAC Technicians?
A HVAC technician is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most important, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality products such as 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?
Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of an industry shortage of labor. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. It's also more likely for young people to start pursuing college degrees rather than 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, such as tight or dusty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout peak demand.
A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s a smart career if you would like to:
- Avoid a lot 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 Difficult Job?
Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a steady supply of work help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Lifting heavy items and performing repetitive motions are a couple of ways the HVAC industry can be physically demanding. 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.
Would a Recession Impact HVAC Jobs?
While a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the essential nature of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, , 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 equipment becomes more complex, 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. 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 on top of specialized training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.
You can become certified by signing up for classes at a community college or trade school. How much time is needed to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation further develops your technical knowledge to maximize your capabilities.
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 aren't reliant on things like advanced math. While some math is involved, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on critical thinking, used to identify problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment becomes capable of even more.
Another advantage of a career in HVAC is next to no 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 per year. With a more conventional education, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Day in the Life of 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 are more likely to have 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. Complex jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.
As we mentioned before, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For jobs that work with customers or clients, strong customer service skills are always useful.
Do HVAC Careers Offer Good Salaries?? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
With the constant growth in HVAC careers, 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. Then again, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state could earn a salary as high as six figures.
Aside from launching 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
You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities help unlock paths to specialist careers with even higher salaries. For example, master engineers who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems 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 demand across the country, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the most HVAC workers 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 should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with B & B Heating & Cooling
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Florissant/[targetlocation]. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 314-325-7552 today!