HVAC Careers Are Needed: What You'll Do as a Technician and How Much You'll Earn

July 21, 2021

If you’re thinking about a new, high-paying career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the quickest-growing careers available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts jobs in this trade will grow by 13 percent by 2028.

There’s a couple of reasons why these careers are growing so fast. One is homeowners tapping into government incentives to purchase more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which affects aging equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot housing market and a property shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction homes.

One of the most needed 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 make.

What Is an HVAC Technician?

A HVAC technician is a person who fixes, installs and maintains heating and cooling equipment. Most serve both homes and businesses. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:

Some are HVAC-R techs, which means they also work with refrigeration.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

While HVAC can be physically hard, it can also be highly rewarding. As a technician you should be able to:

  • Work in extreme settings, including tight or dirty spaces.
  • Work in hot or cold areas because equipment is often outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.

One of the most common misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar position. You need a distinct skill set, extensive instruction and ongoing certification.

It’s a good 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 realizing your position can’t be outsourced.
  • Be your own boss and have your own successful business.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To become an HVAC technician, you should have a high school diploma or GED, plus in-depth instruction. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC jobs usually need extra education or endorsements.

You can get your certification by going to classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician is linked to the program, which is usually six months to two years. Your employer could also expect NATE certification. This stands for North American Technician Excellence, this top endorsement improves your technical know-how to help you better serve customers.

Career Explorer noted that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in great demand as equipment evolves.

Another benefit of working in HVAC is little to no instructional debt.

According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school often costs around $15,000. A community college usually costs 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 might vary depending on where you work. If you work in repairs, you might work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you might have more of a regular schedule during normal business hours.

As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation jobs. Some tasks might take longer than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.

As we went over previously, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather, plus in dirty or cramped spaces. If you work in a customer-facing role, solid customer service skills are always a plus.

Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers

Because HVAC is a fast-growing field, 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, salaries could be different based on your stateand its cost of living.

Other than owning your own business, there are several other additional 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 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 major construction growth. Here’s why:

  • Florida: Hurricanes, educational and healthcare facilities.
  • California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility updates.
  • Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure updates.
  • New York: Residential and infrastructure projects.
  • Illinois: Companies flocking to the Chicago area.

Where HVAC Technicians Will Be in High Demand in the Future

Projections Central, who makes long-term occupational projections, forecasts 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 jobs during that time frame are anticipated 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 economic development is forecasted to fuel increases in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Engineer Your HVAC Career with Air Quality Solutions

HVAC technicians remain in demand across the nation and in Grove City. To learn more more about our openings, see our careers page or reach us at 614-871-4144 right away!