If you’re thinking about a new, well-paying career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the fastest-growing careers offered, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts careers in this trade will expand by 13 percent by 2028.
There are a couple of reasons why these jobs are growing so fast. One is homeowners taking advantage of government rebates to get more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the end of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which affects old equipment. Finally, there’s the red-hot housing market and a house shortage that’s driven a bump in new construction houses.
One of the top needed careers is working as an 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 a person who repairs, 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 can do refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically demanding, it can also be very satisfying. As a technician you should be able to:
- Work in difficult settings, including crowded or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas because equipment is usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
One of the most typical misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar position. You need a specific skill set, specialized training and ongoing qualifications.
It’s an excellent career possibility if you want to:
- Not have heavy amounts of higher education debt.
- Avoid sitting at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Work as your own boss and run your own profitable business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED, in addition to comprehensive instruction. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC positions typically need extra education or endorsements.
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 is linked to the program, which is usually six months to two years. Your employer could also require NATE certification. Known as North American Technician Excellence, this highly regarded certification increases your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer noted that technicians who have expertise with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in great demand as equipment evolves.
Another advantage of working in HVAC is little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school typically runs around $15,000. A community college usually runs around $5,000 annually. In contrast, 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 work in repairs, you may work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you may have more of a fixed schedule during typical business hours.
As a technician, you’ll go to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation jobs. Some tasks might take longer than others, so the number of calls you can go to might vary.
As we talked about previously, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather, plus dirty or cramped spaces. If you work in a customer-facing role, solid customer service skills are always positive.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Since HVAC is a quickly growing field, your salary will show 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, salaries could fluctuate based on your locationand its cost of living.
In addition to owning your own business, there are a few other 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 desired across the United States, 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 explosive construction growth. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, educational and healthcare facilities.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility projects.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure updates.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure projects.
- Illinois: Companies relocating to the Chicago area.
Where HVAC Technicians Will Be in High Demand in the Future
Projections Central, who creates long-term occupational projections, forecasts these states to have the highest 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 jobs during that time frame are anticipated 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 development is anticipated to contribute to expansion in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with HCE Systems
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Norton. To learn more more about our openings, see our careers page or contact us at 276-302-0076 today!