If you’re considering 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 the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.
People interested in HVAC quickly discover 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 impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction homes.
You can join this rewarding industry by becoming 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 importantly, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
A few become HVAC-R technicians, which means they also work with refrigeration.
Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?
Qualified HVAC technicians are in high demand because of the current shortage in the industry. This shortage is because of several things, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue college degrees instead of 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 should be able to:
- Work in unpleasant settings, including tight or messy spaces.
- Work in inclement weather since HVAC equipment is generally found 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 continuous recertification.
It’s a great career choice if you want to:
- Minimize student debt.
- Work outdoors instead of in an office.
- Have job security since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
- Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Difficult Job?
Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. In addition, 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?
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 projects are often physical, 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 there isn't a job that's immune to a recession, HVAC is particularly resilient 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, technicians and installers 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. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, as will the need for competent HVAC professionals.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED along with specialized training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.
Earn 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. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, professional development means combining 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, 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 becomes more technologically advanced.
Another benefit of working in HVAC is little 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 annually. In comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician
Your work 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 are more likely to have a set schedule for regular business hours.
As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.
As stated previously, every now and then the job will have to be done in extreme weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. If you work in a customer-facing role, 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 should reflect that. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Top earners make between $56,600 and $68,000. However, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state could make upward of six figures.
Aside from launching 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 More
It's easy to specialize in something with a career in 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 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 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 should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in . To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at today!