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 grow by 13 percent by 2028.
There are several reasons why these careers are growing so fast. One is homeowners using government incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts old equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot housing market and a house shortage that’s driven a boost in new construction homes.
One of the number one needed jobs is working as an HVAC technician. Learn more about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to receive.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician is someone who services, installs and maintains heating and cooling units. Most assist both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be skilled in:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality products like air filters and air purification systems
Some are HVAC-R pros, which means they also can take care of refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically hard, it can also be extremely satisfying. As a technician you’ll be required to be able to:
- Work in extreme settings, such as crowded or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas because equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak days.
One of the most typical misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. You have to have a certain skill set, specialized education and ongoing endorsements.
It’s a great career possibility if you want to:
- Not have heavy amounts of student debt.
- Avoid being stuck at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security being sure your position can’t be outsourced.
- Be your own boss and run your own successful business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED, plus comprehensive education. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC jobs typically require extra education or endorsements.
You can get your certification by attending classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician depends on the program, which is often six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. Known as North American Technician Excellence, this top certification increases your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer reports that technicians who can work with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in great demand as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another advantage of working in HVAC is little to no instructional debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school usually costs 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 where you work. If you do repairs, you might work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you may have more of a set schedule during usual business hours.
As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation service. Some tasks might take longer than others, so the number of calls you can go on could vary.
As we talked about previously, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather, plus dirty or cramped areas. If you work in a customer-facing role, solid customer service skills are always a plus.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
As HVAC is a fast-growing industry, your salary will mirror 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 may fluctuate based on your locationand its cost of living.
Other than having your own business, there are several 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 desired 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 high 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 updates.
- 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 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 economic improvement is anticipated to feed expansion in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Engineer Your HVAC Career with Lanz Furnace and Fireplace
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Monroe. To learn more more about our openings, visit our careers page or contact us at 608-291-3606 now!