If you’re considering a new, high-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 careers in this trade will increase by 13 percent by 2028.
There are several reasons why these positions are expanding so quickly. One is homeowners tapping into government incentives to install more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the end of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts old equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot housing market and a home shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction homes.
One of the number one needed careers is working as an HVAC technician. Discover about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to receive.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician is a person who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most assist both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be skilled with:
Some are HVAC-R professionals, which means they also can take care of refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically challenging, it can also be very satisfying. As a technician you should be able to:
- Work in difficult settings, like tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas as equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar position. You have to have a certain skill set, extensive training and ongoing qualifications.
It’s a good career option if you want to:
- Not be saddled with heavy amounts of higher education debt.
- Avoid sitting at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Become your own boss and run your own prosperous business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED, as well as comprehensive education. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically require extra education or endorsements.
You can become certified by taking classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician depends on the program, which is usually six months to two years. Your employer may also want NATE certification. This stands for North American Technician Excellence, this highly regarded accreditation expands your technical know-how to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer reports that technicians who can work with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in great demand as equipment evolves.
Another advantage of working in HVAC is little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school usually is around $15,000. A community college often 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 your employer. If you perform repairs, you might work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you may have more of a regular schedule during normal business hours.
As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs might need more time than others, so the number of calls you can go on might vary.
As we talked about previously, 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, good customer service skills are always an advantage.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Because HVAC is a quickly growing career, your salary will show 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, salaries may be different based on your locationand its cost of living.
Other than having your own business, there are a wide range of additional career opportunities. These include:
HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary
Where HVAC Technicians Are in High Demand
HVAC technicians are desired across the country, 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 dealing with major construction growth. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, education and healthcare locations.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility updates.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure projects.
- 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 makes long-term occupational projections, forecasts 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 biggest 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 growth is expected to contribute to growth 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, view our careers page or reach us at 520-357-4912 right away!