If you want a fulfilling, successful career, check out a career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC careers are continuing to grow in popularity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.

People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are continuing to grow. One involves homeowners using government tax credits to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. There's also the transition away from R-22 Freon®, which impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s increased the availability of new construction homes.

A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Learn more about their skill set, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.

What Does It Mean to Be an HVAC Technician?

A HVAC technician possesses the knowledge and skills to service heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:

Some apprentices even become HVAC-R technicians, and they are further trained to provide refrigeration.

Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?

Qualified HVAC technicians are in high demand because of shrinking labor force within the industry. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, 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 has you on your feet, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:

  • Work in unpleasant settings, like tight or dusty spaces.
  • Work in inclement weather since equipment is often outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.

One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and continuous recertification.

It’s a great career choice if you want to:

  • Minimize student debt.
  • Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
  • Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
  • Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Demanding Job?

Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians service complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a steady supply of work help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common reasons for work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Moving heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Reaching difficult-to-access equipment can be tiring. HVAC projects are often physical, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to remain as healthy as possible.

Is HVAC a Recession-Proof Job?

While a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is especially reliable due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, which means apprentices and master technicians alike can often find work in more places than other industries.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As climate control technology continues to evolve, technicians and installers will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems use less energy or produce it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED along with specialized training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers require 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 varies from program to program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to maximize your capabilities.

While some elements of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, getting the necessary education means blending classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers aren't reliant on things like advanced math. While a little math is needed, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.

Another benefit of working in HVAC is almost zero student debt.

According to Midwest Technical Institute, enrolling in a technical or trade school typically costs around $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 per year. By comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician

A typical workday may vary on the work site as well as your specific skill set. If you work in repairs, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. If you work in construction/home building or management, you may have more of a set schedule during normal business hours.

As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.

As stated previously, every now and then the job will have to be done in inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. 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, your salary may be dependent on the area's average wages and its cost of living. Experienced HVAC technicians transitioning to a position in management in a high-paying state may make as much as six figures.

Along with starting your own business, there are several other ways to advance your career. These include:

  • HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
  • HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary

Types of HVAC That Pay the Most

It's easy to specialize in something with a career in the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities help unlock paths to specialist careers with even higher salaries. For example, master engineers with experience designing custom equipment or leading projects could receive six-figure salaries. Larger salaries are also common when you work 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 needed in cities throughout the country, but particularly in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the most HVAC work 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:

  1. Utah, 31.1%
  2. Colorado, 29.7%
  3. Nevada, 27.9%
  4. Arizona, 21.4%
  5. Iowa, Oregon and Montana, 18.5%
  6. Arkansas, 16.3%
  7. Florida, 16.2%
  8. South Carolina, 16%
  9. Texas, 15.9%
  10. Idaho, 15.7%
  11. Washington, 15.6%
  12. North Carolina, 15.5%
  13. Tennessee, 15.2%
  14. Wyoming, 14.3%
  15. Nebraska, 13.9%
  16. Indiana, 13.8%
  17. North Dakota, 13.8%

Here’s where the highest number of new positions during that time frame are expected to be:

  1. Florida, 5,420
  2. Texas, 5,530
  3. California, 4,100
  4. North Carolina, 2,510
  5. New York, 2,290
  6. Colorado, 2,000
  7. Ohio, 1,550
  8. Pennsylvania, 1,510
  9. Virginia, 1,500
  10. Tennessee, 1,360
  11. Washington, 1,290
  12. Georgia, 1,270
  13. New Jersey, 1,170
  14. Utah, 1,170
  15. South Carolina, 1,1060
  16. Indiana, 940
  17. Maryland, 820
  18. Missouri and Arizona, 810
  19. Michigan, 780

Weather and a healthy economy will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Refrigeration Systems Ltd.

HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Richmond. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 778-693-2532 today!