If you’re considering a new, 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.

It's easy to see why these careers are increasingly popular. One is federal incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in 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 Are HVAC Technicians?

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 importantly, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:

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

Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?

Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after 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. There are also more young people seeking college degrees as opposed to a licensed trade like HVAC.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

While HVAC often has you on your feet, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:

  • Work in unpleasant settings, including tight or dusty spaces.
  • Work in hot or cold areas since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.

A stubborn falsehood about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and periodic recertification.

It’s an excellent first career if you prefer to:

  • Avoid large amounts of student debt.
  • Work outdoors instead of in an office.
  • Have job security because the HVAC industry can't be outsourced.
  • Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Demanding Job?

You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a steady supply of work help people in the HVAC industry fend off some of the most common reasons for work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Carrying heavy items and performing repetitive motions are a couple of ways the HVAC industry can be physically demanding. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be exhausting. HVAC projects are often physical, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to stay in good shape.

Are HVAC Careers at Risk Because of a Recession?

While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is especially reliable due to the essential nature of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, which means apprentices and master technicians alike can often find work across the country.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As HVAC equipment becomes more complex, reliable expertise will become even more important. New forms of heating and cooling systems use less energy or produce it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to expand, as will the need for certified HVAC technicians.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED as well as industry training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on additional education or certifications.

Earn certifications by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which is typically six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation expands your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.

While some aspects of the job can be learned on your own, getting the necessary education means a combination of classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don’t require things like advanced math skills. While a little math is needed, the majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that HVAC technicians who are familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be vital as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.

Another key perk of working in HVAC is almost zero 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 every year. In comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

A typical workday may vary depending on where you work. If you are a repair technician, 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, you'll visit many different homes and businesses to perform repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.

Like we mentioned earlier, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. If you work in a customer-facing role, strong customer service skills are always welcome.

Is a Career in HVAC Profitable? 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. Higher earners usually make around $56,600 and $68,000. Then again, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state could earn a salary as high as six figures.

Along with starting 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 offer access to even higher salaries. For example, master engineers with experience designing custom equipment or leading projects could earn six figures annually. 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 even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the most HVAC work 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:

  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 Pure Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning

HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Streamwood. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 630-313-2509 today!