If you are interested in starting a new, successful career, look no further than 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.
There are several reasons why these careers are growing so quickly. 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 impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s increased the availability of new construction homes.
One of the most in-demand careers is working as an HVAC technician. Learn the ins and outs of the HVAC technician's daily schedule, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.
What Does It Mean to Be an HVAC Technician?
A HVAC technician possesses the knowledge and skills to service heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll learn a great deal 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 the current shortage in the industry. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, like a higher rate of retirement and competition from other industries. It's also more likely for young people to start pursuing college degrees as opposed to a licensed trade like HVAC.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically demanding, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, including tight or dusty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.
A stubborn falsehood about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and ongoing certification.
It’s an excellent first career if you prefer to:
- Avoid a lot of student debt.
- Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
- Have job security since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
- Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.
Is HVAC a Demanding Job?
You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians service complex equipment and must sometimes deal with cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools can help address any concerns. Additionally, paid training and a steady supply of work help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common sources of work-related stress.
Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?
Carrying heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be exhausting. HVAC work can be very 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 particularly resilient due to the essential nature of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, which means professionals in HVAC can often find work across the country.
Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?
As HVAC systems continue to advance, professional servicing will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or produce it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Greener HVAC equipment will continue to expand, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED as well as specialized training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.
Earn certifications by signing up for classes at a community college or trade school. The time it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which is most often around six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.
While some elements of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, a proper education means combining classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don't involve complex math. While a little math is needed, most of the 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 little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school typically costs around $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 per year. By comparison, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.
A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician
A typical workday may vary depending on where you work. If you are a repair technician, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For technicians or installers working in construction, you are more likely to have a set schedule for regular business hours.
As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.
Like we mentioned earlier, every now and then the job will have to be done in severe weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always a positive.
Can You Make a Good Living in HVAC? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Because HVAC is a fast-growing industry, your salary should reflect that. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Higher earners usually make around $56,600 and $68,000. Having said that, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. Experienced HVAC technicians transitioning to a position in management in a high-paying state could earn a salary as high 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 with the Highest Salaries
You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities open doors for niche positions with great salaries. For example, master engineers with project management or custom system design experience could earn six figures annually. Larger salaries are also more common when working 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 in demand across the country, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the most HVAC work and are experiencing enormous growth in the construction industry. 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:
- 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 highest number of new positions 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 a healthy economy is anticipated to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with J.L. Brady Company LLC
HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere, including in Moline. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 309-517-7511 today!