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 offered, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimates careers in this field will grow by 13 percent by 2028.
There are a couple of reasons why these jobs are increasing so fast. One is homeowners tapping into government rebates to get more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the ban on R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts old equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot real estate 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. Learn more 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 services, installs and maintains heating and cooling units. Most serve both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
- Air conditioners
- Mini-splits and heat pumps
- Thermostats and home zoning
- Indoor air quality products including air filters and air purification systems
Some are HVAC-R techs, which means they also can take care of refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically demanding, it can also be highly satisfying. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in extreme settings, like tight or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas because equipment is typically outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak days.
One of the most typical misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar job. You have to have a distinct skill set, in-depth education and ongoing endorsements.
It’s an excellent career possibility if you want to:
- Not have a lot of student debt.
- Avoid working at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Become your own boss and have your own successful business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED, in addition to comprehensive instruction. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC positions typically must have extra education or certifications.
You can be certified by going to classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician depends on the program, which is typically six months to two years. Your employer might also want NATE certification. Known as North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation increases your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer says that technicians who have expertise with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in great demand as equipment updates.
Another perk of working in HVAC is little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school typically costs around $15,000. A community college often is 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 where you work. If you do repairs, you might 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 normal business hours.
As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs might require more time than others, so the number of calls you can go to could 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, solid customer service skills are always positive.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Since HVAC is a rapidly expanding career, your salary will reflect 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 may fluctuate based on your areaand its cost of living.
Other than owning your own business, there are a few other 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 nation, 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 high construction growth. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, education and healthcare buildings.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility upgrades.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure upgrades.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure upgrades.
- 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 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 biggest number of new positions 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 development is expected to feed increases in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Build Your HVAC Career with Scott Temperature
HVAC technicians are required across the country and in Lawrence. To learn more more about our openings, view our careers page or reach us at 785-269-0465 today!