If you’re considering a new, well-paying 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 estimates careers in this trade will increase by 13 percent by 2028.
There’s a few reasons why these careers are growing so quickly. One is homeowners taking advantage of government rebates to get more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the ban on R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts aging equipment. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a home shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction homes.
One of the most needed jobs is working as a HVAC technician. Find out 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 someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homes and businesses. And, most important, you’ll be skilled in:
Some are HVAC-R techs, which means they also can do refrigeration.
Is HVAC a Hard Career?
While HVAC can be physically hard, it can also be extremely fulfilling. As a technician you should be able to:
- Work in uncomfortable settings, such as 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 specific skill set, in-depth instruction and ongoing certification.
It’s a good career choice if you want to:
- Not be saddled with heavy amounts of educational debt.
- Avoid being stuck at a desk or in an office.
- Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
- Work as your own boss and have your own profitable business.
How to Become an HVAC Technician
To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED, as well as specialized education. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers usually need added schooling or qualifications.
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 often six months to two years. Your employer might also expect NATE certification. This stands for North American Technician Excellence, this top certification improves your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.
Career Explorer noted that technicians who can work with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in great demand as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.
Another advantage of working in HVAC is little to no student debt.
According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school often costs around $15,000. A community college often runs around $5,000 annually. In contrast, 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 may have more of a fixed schedule during normal business hours.
As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some jobs might take longer than others, so the number of calls you can take care of might vary.
As we talked about earlier, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather, as well as in dirty or cramped areas. If you work in a customer-facing role, strong customer service skills are always positive.
Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers
Because HVAC is a fast-growing industry, 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 could fluctuate based on your stateand its cost of living.
Aside from owning your own business, there are several other extra 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 desired across the United States, 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, education and healthcare facilities.
- California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility upgrades.
- 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 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 biggest number of new openings during that time frame are anticipated 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 improvement is anticipated to feed increases in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.
Grow Your HVAC Career with Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc.
HVAC technicians are required across the nation and in West Columbia. To find out more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 803-265-4208 now!