If you are interested in starting a new, 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 additional industry growth of 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. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s increased the availability of new construction homes.
You can join this rewarding industry by becoming 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 is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most technicians will earn experience on equipment in both homes and commercial properties. And, most important, you’ll learn a great deal about:
Some are 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 the current shortage in the industry. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, like a higher rate of retirement and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue college degrees as opposed to a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically demanding, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, like tight or messy spaces.
- Work in high or low temperatures since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In reality, you need an extensive skill set, specialized education and periodic 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.
- Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Demanding Job?
You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians service complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help address any concerns. What’s more, paid training and a stable workload help people in the HVAC industry reduce some of the most common reasons for work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Lifting heavy items and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. 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 stay in good shape.
Is HVAC a Recession-Proof Job?
While there isn't a job that's immune to a recession, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the sheer popularity of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, which means professionals in HVAC can often find work in many different cities.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC systems continue to advance, technicians and installers will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or produce it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for certified HVAC 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 as well as technical training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.
Earn certifications by taking classes at a community college or trade school. How much time is needed to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which is typically six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. An acronym for 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 combining classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers aren't reliant on things like advanced math. While you'll need to know some basic math, the majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.
Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like 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. By comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician
A typical workday may vary based on the project and job site. If you primarily offer repair services, 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 for regular business hours.
As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.
Like we mentioned earlier, every now and then the job will have to be done in inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always welcome.
Do HVAC Careers Offer Good Salaries?? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Because HVAC is a fast-growing industry, your salary will reflect it. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Higher earners usually make around $56,600 and $68,000. Then again, 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.
Aside from launching your own business, there are other paths for career advancement. These include:
- HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
- HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Types of HVAC with the Highest Salaries
You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities help unlock paths to specialist careers with even higher salaries. For example, master engineers with project management or custom system design experience could receive six-figure salaries. Larger salaries are also more likely if you have experience 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 even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the greatest number of HVAC professionals and are experiencing enormous growth in the construction industry. 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 J & J Air Conditioning
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Eastland. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 254-355-3833 today!