If you want a fulfilling, successful career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is an excellent place to start, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts additional industry growth of 13 percent by 2028.

It's easy to see why these careers are increasingly popular. One is homeowners taking advantage of government incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which affects old models. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction homes.

One of the most in-demand careers is working as an HVAC technician. Learn more about their skill set, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.

What Does It Mean to Be an HVAC Technician?

A HVAC technician possesses the knowledge and skills to service heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll learn a great deal 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. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue college degrees rather than a licensed trade like HVAC.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

While HVAC often has you on your feet, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:

  • Work in awkward settings, like tight or messy spaces.
  • Work in high or low temperatures since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.

A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In reality, you need an extensive skill set, specialized education and periodic recertification.

It’s a smart career if you would like to:

  • Avoid large amounts of student debt.
  • Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
  • Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
  • Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Demanding Job?

Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Sufficient experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a steady supply of work help people in the HVAC industry avoid some of the most common reasons for work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Carrying heavy items and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be tiring. HVAC technicians should be physically fit, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to stay in good shape.

Is HVAC a Recession-Proof Job?

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 are always necessary, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in more places than other industries.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As HVAC systems continue to advance, professional servicing will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems need less energy or obtain it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for competent HVAC professionals.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To learn everything you need to become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED as well as specialized training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.

Earn certifications by taking classes at a community college or trade school. How much time is needed to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which is most often around six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation expands your technical knowledge to maximize your capabilities.

While some elements 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 a little math is needed, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in big demand as equipment becomes capable of even more.

Another advantage of a career in HVAC is almost zero student debt.

According to Midwest Technical Institute, signing up for classes at a technical or trade school typically costs around $15,000. A community college is usually 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

The daily schedule may vary on the work site as well as your specific skill set. If you primarily offer repair services, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For projects more relevant to new construction, you will be more likely to keep to a set schedule for regular business hours.

As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.

Like we mentioned earlier, you should expect the occasional job in inclement weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. If you work in a customer-facing role, strong customer service skills are always welcome.

Is a Career in HVAC Profitable? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers

Since the HVAC industry is growing quickly, 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. Then again, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state may make as much as six figures.

Aside from launching your own business, there are several other ways to advance your career. 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 who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems could earn six figures annually. Larger salaries are also common when you work 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 in high demand across the United States, 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 major construction growth. 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 will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Fal-Ken Heating & Cooling Corporation

HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere, including in Holbrook. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 631-460-5159 today!