If you’re considering a new, well-paying career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the quickest-growing careers you can find, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimates positions in this industry will increase by 13 percent by 2028.
There’s a few reasons why these jobs are growing so quickly. One is homeowners tapping into government rebates to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the ban on R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts aging equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s driven a bump in new construction homes.
One of the most wanted positions is working as a HVAC technician. Learn more about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to earn.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician is an individual who fixes, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most serve both homes and businesses. And, most important, you’ll be skilled with:
Some are HVAC-R pros, which means they also can do refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically challenging, it can also be extremely fulfilling. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, such as tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since equipment is usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak days.
One of the most common misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar job. You have to have a certain skill set, specialized training and ongoing qualifications.
It’s a fantastic 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.
- Work as your own boss and run your own prosperous business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you should have a high school diploma or GED, in addition to specialized instruction. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically require additional schooling or qualifications.
You can get your certification by going to classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician is linked to the program, which is often six months to two years. Your employer could also expect NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this top accreditation increases your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer says that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in large demand as equipment evolves.
Another advantage of working in HVAC is little to no instructional debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school typically is around $15,000. A community college usually is around $5,000 annually. In comparison, 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 could work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you could have more of a set schedule during typical business hours.
As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some tasks could require more time than others, so the number of calls you can go to might vary.
As we talked about previously, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather, in addition to in dirty or cramped spots. If you work in a customer-facing role, solid customer service skills are always an advantage.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
As HVAC is a rapidly expanding career, your salary will mirror it. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Top earners receive between $56,600 and $68,000. However, salaries could fluctuate based on your locationand its cost of living.
Other than having your own business, there are a wide range of additional career opportunities. These can be:
- HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
- HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Where HVAC Technicians Are in High Demand
HVAC technicians are in demand across the United States, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the most HVAC workers and are going through major construction growth. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, school and healthcare facilities.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility projects.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure projects.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure upgrades.
- Illinois: Companies relocating to the Chicago area.
Where HVAC Technicians Will Be in High Demand in the Future
Projections Central, who creates long-term occupational projections, forecasts these states to have the highest 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 greatest number of new openings 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 development is expected to contribute to increases in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Build Your HVAC Career with Ambient Air
HVAC technicians are needed across the nation and in Tucson. To learn more more about our openings, see our careers page or contact us at 520-201-3871 right away!