If you’re wanting to find a new, high-paying career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the most rapidly growing careers offered, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimates positions in this field will expand by 13 percent by 2028.
There’s several reasons why these careers are increasing so fast. One is homeowners taking advantage of government rebates to get more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the end of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts older equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a home shortage that’s driven a boost in new construction residences.
One of the most needed positions is working as a HVAC technician. Discover 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 someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling units. Most serve both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:
Some are HVAC-R pros, which means they also can take care of refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically hard, it can also be highly fulfilling. As a technician you should be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, like crowded or dirty spaces.
- Work in hot or cold areas because equipment is often 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 have to have a certain skill set, in-depth instruction and ongoing certification.
It’s an excellent career choice if you want to:
- Not be saddled with excessive educational 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 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 instruction. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC positions typically must have additional schooling 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 usually six months to two years. Your employer may also require NATE certification. This stands for North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading certification expands your technical expertise to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer reports that technicians who have expertise with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in large demand as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another perk 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 typically is around $5,000 annually. By 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 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 usual business hours.
As a technician, you’ll go to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some work might need more time than others, so the number of calls you can take care of could vary.
As we went over before, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather, plus in dirty or cramped areas. 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
As HVAC is a rapidly expanding field, your salary will mirror 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 differ based on your locationand its cost of living.
Aside from running your own business, there are a few other 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 needed across the nation, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the highest number of HVAC workers and are dealing with high construction growth. Here’s why:
- Florida: Hurricanes, education and healthcare locations.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility upgrades.
- Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure upgrades.
- New York: Residential and infrastructure updates.
- Illinois: Companies moving 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 biggest 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 growth is forecasted to contribute to increases in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Build Your HVAC Career with Patterson & Stirling Inc
HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Erie. To learn more more about our openings, go to our careers page or reach us at 814-308-0416 today!