If you’re thinking about a new, successful 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 expects careers in this field will increase by 13 percent by 2028.
There’s a few reasons why these careers are expanding so fast. One is homeowners tapping into government refunds to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the ban on R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which influences older equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot home market and a home shortage that’s driven a bump in new construction houses.
One of the most in-demand jobs 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 a person who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling units. Most work with both residential and commercial customers. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
Some are HVAC-R professionals, which means they also work with refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically demanding, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:
- Work in difficult settings, including small or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas since equipment is often outdoors.
- Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak times.
One of the most common misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar position. It requires a distinct skill set, specialized instruction and ongoing endorsements.
It’s an excellent career possibility if you want to:
- Avoid heavy amounts of higher education debt.
- Avoid sitting at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security realizing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Be your own boss and own your own successful business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you will require a high school diploma or GED, in addition to specialized education. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC jobs often require additional education or endorsements.
You can get your certification 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 might also expect NATE certification. Known as North American Technician Excellence, this highly regarded accreditation increases your technical expertise to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer says that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in great demand as equipment evolves.
Another advantage of working in HVAC is little to no educational debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school usually costs around $15,000. A community college often costs 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 could vary depending on where you work. If you work in 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 set schedule during normal business hours.
As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation jobs. Some work could require more time than others, so the number of calls you can go on might vary.
As we mentioned previously, you should be used to working outdoors in extreme weather, as well as in dirty or cramped spots. If you work in a customer-facing role, good customer service skills are always positive.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Because HVAC is a quickly growing 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 may fluctuate based on your areaand its cost of living.
In addition to owning your own business, there are a few other other career opportunities. These involve:
- 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 country, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the greatest number of HVAC workers and are dealing with major construction growth. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, school and healthcare buildings.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility projects.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure updates.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure projects.
- 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 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 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 growth is forecasted to feed expansion in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Phelps Heating & Cooling
HVAC technicians are required across the country and in Hodgenville. To discover more about our openings, view our careers page or contact us at 270-358-3167 today!