If you are interested in starting a new, successful career, consider one in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC careers are continuing to grow in popularity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are increasingly popular. 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 increased the availability of 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 Is an HVAC Technician?
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:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality equipment like air filters and air purification systems
Some are HVAC-R technicians, which means they also work with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of the current shortage in the industry. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. There are also more young people seeking college degrees instead of a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC often requires physical exertion, it can still be quite gratifying. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, like tight or messy spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.
A stubborn falsehood about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s a great career choice if you want to:
- Avoid a lot of student debt.
- Avoid working at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Demanding Job?
You can't fully escape stress when on the job. 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. 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 both common during HVAC work. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be exhausting. HVAC technicians should be physically fit, 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 a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is particularly resilient due to the essential nature 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 climate control technology continues to evolve, reliable expertise will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or produce it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Greener HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED as well as industry 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 long it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation further develops your technical knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.
While some aspects of the job can be learned on your own, a proper education means blending 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 bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, used to identify problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.
Another advantage of a career 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 annually. In comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Day in the Life of 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. If you work in construction/home building or management, 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. Certain jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
Like we mentioned earlier, you should be comfortable working outdoors in inclement 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
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. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. Having said that, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state may make as much as six figures.
In addition to owning your own business, there are several other ways to advance your career. These include:
- HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
- HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Types of HVAC That Pay the Most
It's easy to specialize in something with a career 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 earn six figures annually. 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 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:
- 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 will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Bell Air Conditioning Inc
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Temple/Belton/[targetlocation]. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 254-307-9572 today!