If you’re wanting to find a new, high-paying 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 estimates jobs in this trade will increase by 13 percent by 2028.
There’s several reasons why these positions are increasing so quickly. One is homeowners using government refunds to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the ban on R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which affects old equipment. Finally, there’s the red-hot housing market and a property shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction houses.
One of the most needed jobs is working as a HVAC technician. Learn more about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to earn.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician is someone who fixes, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most serve both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be skilled in:
Some are HVAC-R pros, which means they also work with refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically difficult, it can also be extremely fulfilling. As a technician you’ll be required to be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, such as small or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak days.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. You need a specific skill set, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s an excellent career possibility if you want to:
- Not be saddled with excessive student debt.
- Avoid working at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security being sure your position can’t be outsourced.
- Become your own boss and run your own prosperous business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you will require a high school diploma or GED, in addition to in-depth training. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC positions often require additional schooling or qualifications.
You can get your certification by going to classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which is usually six months to two years. Your employer could also want NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this top accreditation expands your technical expertise to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer says that technicians who can work with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment updates.
Another advantage of working in HVAC is little to no educational debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school typically costs around $15,000. A community college typically is 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
Your work schedule may vary depending on your employer. If you perform repairs, you may work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you could have more of a regular schedule during usual business hours.
As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation service. Some work could need more time than others, so the number of calls you can go to may vary.
As we went over previously, you should be used to working outdoors in extreme weather, as well as in dirty or cramped areas. If you work in a customer-facing role, good customer service skills are always a plus.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Since HVAC is a fast-growing career, your salary will reflect it. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Top earners get between $56,600 and $68,000. However, salaries might differ based on your stateand its cost of living.
Aside from having your own business, there are a wide range of additional career opportunities. These include:
- HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
- HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Where HVAC Technicians Are in High Demand
HVAC technicians are in demand across the country, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the greatest number of HVAC workers and are dealing with high construction growth. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, school and healthcare locations.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility upgrades.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure updates.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure projects.
- Illinois: Companies moving to the Chicago area.
Where HVAC Technicians Will Be in High Demand in the Future
Projections Central, who creates long-term occupational projections, anticipates 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 biggest 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 economic growth is expected to feed expansion in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Engineer Your HVAC Career with GV Heating & Air
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Crystal and Twin Cities. To find out more about our openings, view our careers page or call us at 763-535-2000 today!