If you’re considering a new, successful career, consider one in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is an excellent place to start, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.

People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are growing so quickly. One is federal incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. There's also the transition away from R-22 Freon®, which impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in new construction homes.

You can join this rewarding industry by becoming an HVAC technician. Find out about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.

What Are HVAC Technicians?

A HVAC technician is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:

Some apprentices even become HVAC-R technicians, meaning they also have experience with refrigeration.

Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?

There is a high demand for qualified HVAC technicians because of an industry shortage of labor. This shortage is because of several things, such as more retirements 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 often requires physical exertion, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:

  • Work in unpleasant settings, including tight or messy spaces.
  • Work in high or low temperatures since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime throughout peak demand.

A stubborn falsehood about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and periodic recertification.

It’s a great career choice if you want to:

  • Avoid a lot of student debt.
  • Work outdoors instead of in an office.
  • Have job security since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
  • Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Stressful Job?

You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a steady supply of work help both installers and technicians fend off some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Moving heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be tiring. HVAC work can be very physical, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to remain as healthy as possible.

Would a Recession Impact HVAC Jobs?

While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is especially reliable due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, which means professionals in HVAC can often find work in many different cities.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As HVAC systems continue to advance, professional servicing will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems use less energy or obtain it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, 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 in addition to professional training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on additional education or certifications.

Earn certifications by signing up for classes at a community college or trade school. How much time is needed to become an HVAC technician varies from program to program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation expands your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.

Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, getting the necessary education means a combination of classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers aren't reliant on things like advanced math. While you'll need to know some basic math, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, for identifying problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that HVAC technicians who are familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be vital as equipment becomes capable of even more.

Another advantage of a career in HVAC is little to no student debt.

According to Midwest Technical Institute, enrolling in a technical or trade school usually costs about $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 annually. With a more conventional education, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

The daily schedule may vary depending on where you work. If you primarily offer repair services, 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 during normal business hours.

As a technician, you'll visit many different homes and businesses to perform repair, maintenance or installation work. Certain jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.

As we mentioned before, you should expect the occasional job in inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For jobs that work with customers or clients, strong customer service skills are always welcome.

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 will reflect 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, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state could make upward of 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 That Pay More

It's easy to specialize in something with a career in the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities offer access to even higher salaries. For example, master engineers with project management or custom system design experience could be eligible for salaries as high as six figures. Larger salaries are also more likely if you have experience 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 needed in cities throughout the country, but particularly in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states need the greatest number of HVAC professionals 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:

  1. Utah, 31.1%
  2. Colorado, 29.7%
  3. Nevada, 27.9%
  4. Arizona, 21.4%
  5. Iowa, Oregon and Montana, 18.5%
  6. Arkansas, 16.3%
  7. Florida, 16.2%
  8. South Carolina, 16%
  9. Texas, 15.9%
  10. Idaho, 15.7%
  11. Washington, 15.6%
  12. North Carolina, 15.5%
  13. Tennessee, 15.2%
  14. Wyoming, 14.3%
  15. Nebraska, 13.9%
  16. Indiana, 13.8%
  17. North Dakota, 13.8%

Here’s where the highest number of new positions during that time frame are expected to be:

  1. Florida, 5,420
  2. Texas, 5,530
  3. California, 4,100
  4. North Carolina, 2,510
  5. New York, 2,290
  6. Colorado, 2,000
  7. Ohio, 1,550
  8. Pennsylvania, 1,510
  9. Virginia, 1,500
  10. Tennessee, 1,360
  11. Washington, 1,290
  12. Georgia, 1,270
  13. New Jersey, 1,170
  14. Utah, 1,170
  15. South Carolina, 1,1060
  16. Indiana, 940
  17. Maryland, 820
  18. Missouri and Arizona, 810
  19. Michigan, 780

Weather and a healthy economy should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Mountain Air

HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Morgantown. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 304-413-1287 today!