If you’re thinking about a new, high-paying career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the fastest-growing careers available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts jobs in this field will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
There’s a couple of reasons why these careers are expanding so fast. One is homeowners tapping into government incentives to purchase more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the end of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which influences older equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot home market and a home shortage that’s driven a boost in new construction homes.
One of the most wanted jobs is working as a HVAC technician. Find out about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician is someone who fixes, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most assist both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be skilled in:
Some are HVAC-R technicians, which means they also work with refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically challenging, it can also be highly satisfying. As a technician you’ll be required to be able to:
- Work in extreme settings, including crowded or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since equipment is usually outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak times.
One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar job. You need a distinct skill set, in-depth education and ongoing certification.
It’s an excellent career option if you want to:
- Not be saddled with heavy amounts of higher education debt.
- Avoid being stuck at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security realizing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Be your own boss and run your own profitable business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you will require a high school diploma or GED, as well as in-depth education. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC jobs usually need additional schooling or qualifications.
You can be certified by taking classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which is typically six months to two years. Your employer could also expect NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation increases your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer noted that technicians who can work with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in great demand as equipment updates.
Another advantage of working in HVAC is little to no instructional debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school usually is around $15,000. A community college often costs around $5,000 annually. In contrast, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician
Your work schedule might vary depending on your situation. If you do repairs, you may work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you might have more of a regular schedule during typical business hours.
As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some work could require more time than others, so the number of calls you can go to could vary.
As we went over earlier, you should be accustomed to working outdoors in extreme weather, in addition to in dirty or cramped spaces. If you work in a customer-facing role, strong customer service skills are always an advantage.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Since 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 make between $56,600 and $68,000. However, salaries could differ based on your locationand its cost of living.
In addition to owning 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 dealing with high construction growth. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, school and healthcare buildings.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility upgrades.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure upgrades.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure projects.
- Illinois: Companies flocking to the Chicago area.
Where HVAC Technicians Will Be in High Demand in the Future
Projections Central, who creates 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 biggest number of new jobs during that time frame are forecasted 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 improvement is anticipated to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Engineer Your HVAC Career with West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the nation and in Hudsonville. To discover more about our openings, view our careers page or reach us at (616) 669-3961 right away!