If you are interested in starting 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.
People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are increasingly popular. One is homeowners taking advantage of government incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction homes.
A career that's increasingly in demand is 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. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. 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?
Qualified HVAC technicians are in high demand because of shrinking labor force within the industry. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, such as more retirements 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 still be quite gratifying. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, such as tight or dusty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas 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 continuous recertification.
It’s an excellent first career if you prefer to:
- Avoid large amounts of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security since HVAC positions 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 work on complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools can help address any concerns. Additionally, paid training and a consistent schedule help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common sources of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Carrying heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Reaching difficult-to-access 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 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 required, which means professionals in HVAC can often find work across the country.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As climate control technology continues to evolve, professional servicing will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or generate it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Greener HVAC equipment will continue to expand, as will the need for certified HVAC technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED in addition to specialized training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.
You can secure the needed 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 generally lasts between six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation builds on your existing industry 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 involve complex math. While a little math is needed, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes 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 especially useful as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.
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 typically costs around $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 annually. By comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician
A typical workday may vary based on the project and job site. If you primarily offer repair services, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For technicians or installers working in construction, you will be more likely to keep to a set schedule for regular business hours.
As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Certain jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
Like we mentioned earlier, you should expect the occasional job in inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. If you work in a customer-facing role, 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
Since the HVAC industry is growing quickly, your salary should reflect that. 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, total compensation can depend on where you live 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.
Aside from launching 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 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 in demand across the country, but particularly in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the most HVAC workers 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 is anticipated to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Northglenn Heating & Air Conditioning
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Northglenn. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 303-452-4146 today!