If you’re considering a new, successful career, consider one in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is an excellent place to start, 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 continuing to grow. 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 impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s increased the availability of 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 Is an HVAC Technician?
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 learn a great deal about:
Some apprentices even become HVAC-R technicians, which means they also work with 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 discrepancy is the result of several factors, including an aging workforce and competition from other industries. It's also more likely for young people to start pursuing college degrees as opposed to 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 unpleasant settings, such as tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, 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 Demanding Job?
Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians service complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. In addition, paid training and a consistent schedule help HVAC professionals reduce some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Lifting heavy equipment and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Getting to specialized types of 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.
Is HVAC a Recession-Proof Job?
While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the widespread use 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, reliable expertise will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems use less energy or produce it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Greener HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, 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 in addition to industry training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.
You can become certified by taking classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician varies from program to program, which is most often around six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to help you better serve customers.
While some elements 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 aren't reliant on things like advanced 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 having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another key perk of working in HVAC is next to no 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 every year. In 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 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 technicians or installers working in construction, you may have more of 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. Certain jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
As we mentioned before, you should be comfortable working outdoors in severe weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. If you work in a customer-facing role, strong customer service skills are always useful.
Is a Career in HVAC Profitable? 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. 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.
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
You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities offer access to even higher salaries. For example, master engineers with project management or custom system design experience could receive six-figure salaries. 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 even more so in 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 should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Bishop’s HVAC
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at today!