If you want a fulfilling, successful career, check out a career 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. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, 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 Does It Mean to Be an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician should be able to repair, install and maintain heating and cooling systems. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most importantly, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
Some are 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 shrinking labor force within the industry. This shortage is because of several things, like a higher rate of retirement 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 often has you on your feet, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in unpleasant settings, such as tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since HVAC equipment is generally found 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 an excellent first career if you prefer to:
- Avoid a lot of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside 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 Difficult Job?
Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a steady supply of work help HVAC professionals reduce some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Moving heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Reaching difficult-to-access equipment can be tiring. HVAC work can be very 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 a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is especially reliable due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be required, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in more places than other industries.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC equipment becomes more complex, technicians and installers will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or produce it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, as will the need for certified HVAC technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED in addition to specialized training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.
You can secure the needed certifications by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician varies from program to program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.
While some elements of an HVAC career could 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 a little math is needed, the majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes 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 grows in complexity and functionality.
Another key perk of working in HVAC is almost zero 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 every year. With a more conventional education, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician
The daily schedule may vary based on the project and job site. If you work in repairs, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For projects more relevant to new 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 might take longer than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.
As we mentioned before, every now and then the job will have to be done in inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For jobs that work with customers or clients, 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 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, 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 may make as much as six figures.
In addition to owning 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
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 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 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 Central Air LLC
HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Brookfield. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 203-357-5913 today!