If you are interested in starting a new, successful career, consider one in 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 the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.

It's easy to see why these careers are continuing to grow. One is homeowners taking advantage of government incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. It's also important to consider R-22 Freon® coolant, which affects old models. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s increased the availability of new construction homes.

A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Find out about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.

What Are HVAC Technicians?

A HVAC technician possesses the knowledge and skills to service heating and cooling systems. Most technicians will earn experience on equipment in both homes and commercial properties. And, most importantly, you’ll be knowledgeable about:

A few become HVAC-R technicians, meaning they also have experience with refrigeration.

Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?

Qualified HVAC technicians are in high demand because of shrinking labor force within the industry. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, including an aging workforce and competition from other industries. There are also more young people seeking college degrees instead of 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 need to be able to:

  • Work in awkward settings, such as tight or dirty spaces.
  • Work in high or low temperatures since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.

A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, 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 since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
  • Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Demanding Job?

Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. Additionally, paid training and a steady supply of work help HVAC professionals reduce some of the most common sources of work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Lifting heavy equipment and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be strenuous. 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 a recession can affect any industry, 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 in more places than other industries.

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 use less energy or obtain it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, 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 along with technical training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.

You can secure the needed certifications by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. The time it takes to become an HVAC technician varies from program to program, which is most often around 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 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 involve complex math. While a little math is needed, the majority of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, used to identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that HVAC technicians who are familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment becomes capable of even more.

Another key perk of working in HVAC is next to no 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 every year. By comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

The daily schedule may vary depending on where you work. If you work in repairs, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For projects more relevant to new construction, you are more likely to have 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. Complex jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.

As we mentioned before, you should expect the occasional job in severe weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always a positive.

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. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. Then again, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state may make as much as six figures.

In addition to owning 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 That Pay More

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 who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems could be eligible for salaries as high as six figures. 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 especially so in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the most HVAC workers 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 should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Air Masters Heating & Cooling

HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Port Orchard. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 360-205-7115 today!