If you want a fulfilling, successful 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 predicts careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
It's easy to see why these careers are growing so quickly. 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 red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s spurred further growth 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 is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most importantly, you’ll learn a great deal about:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality equipment like air filters and air purification systems
Some apprentices even become 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 shrinking labor force within the industry. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, 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 requires physical exertion, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician should be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, including tight or dusty spaces.
- Work in high or low temperatures 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. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s a great career choice if you want to:
- Avoid large amounts of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside 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 Demanding Job?
Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools can help address any concerns. Additionally, paid training and a consistent schedule help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Moving heavy equipment and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be strenuous. HVAC work can be very 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 especially reliable due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be required, , which means professionals in HVAC can often find work across the country.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As climate control technology continues to evolve, professional servicing will become even more important. New forms of heating and cooling systems need less energy or generate it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to expand, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To learn everything you need to become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED in addition to technical training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.
You can become certified by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation further develops your technical 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 don’t require things like advanced math skills. While you'll need to know some basic math, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, used to identify problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that HVAC techncians who are 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 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 per year. In comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician
Your work schedule may vary on the work site as well as your specific skill set. If you are a repair technician, 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 during normal business hours.
As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.
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. For jobs that work with customers or clients, strong customer service skills are always useful.
Do HVAC Careers Offer Good Salaries?? 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. Top earners make between $56,600 and $68,000. However, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state could make upward of 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 the Most
There is a lot of room for specialization in the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities offer access to even higher salaries. For example, master engineers who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems could be eligible for salaries as high as six figures. 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 demand across the country, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the most HVAC workers 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 GV Heating & Air
HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere, including in Crystal and Twin Cities/[targetlocation]. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 763-535-2000 today!