If you’re thinking about a new, high-paying career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the fastest-growing careers available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which expects careers in this trade will expand by 13 percent by 2028.
There are a few reasons why these careers are expanding so fast. One is homeowners using government refunds to purchase more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the end of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which affects old equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot housing market and a house shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction residences.
One of the most needed positions is working as an HVAC technician. Learn more about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician is an individual who fixes, installs and maintains heating and cooling units. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
Some are HVAC-R technicians, which means they also can take care of refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically difficult, it can also be very satisfying. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, like tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas because equipment is typically outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar position. You have to have a specific skill set, extensive education and ongoing qualifications.
It’s a good career option if you want to:
- Avoid excessive higher education debt.
- Avoid working 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 prosperous business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you should have a high school diploma or GED, in addition to comprehensive training. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC positions typically need extra education or qualifications.
You can become certified 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 often six months to two years. Your employer might also want NATE certification. This stands for North American Technician Excellence, this top endorsement expands your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer reports that technicians who have expertise with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment evolves.
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 often runs 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 could vary depending on where you work. If you perform repairs, you could 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 normal business hours.
As a technician, you’ll go to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation jobs. Some jobs might need more time than others, so the number of calls you can go to may vary.
As we went over previously, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather, in addition to dirty or cramped spots. If you work in a customer-facing role, good customer service skills are always positive.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Because HVAC is a fast-growing industry, 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 stateand its cost of living.
Aside from owning your own business, there are a wide range of extra career opportunities. These can be:
HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Where HVAC Technicians Are in High Demand
HVAC technicians are needed 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 going through explosive 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 upgrades.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure updates.
- Illinois: Companies flocking 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 development is expected to fuel increases in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Build Your HVAC Career with Connolly Electric & Mechanical
HVAC technicians are needed across the USA and in Cottonwood & Prescott. To find out more about our openings, view our careers page or reach us at 928-251-4327 now!