If you are interested in starting a new, successful career, check out a career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC careers are continuing to grow in popularity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.

There are several reasons why these careers are continuing to grow. One involves homeowners using government tax credits to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s increased the availability of new construction homes.

You can join this rewarding industry by becoming an HVAC technician. Learn the ins and outs of the HVAC technician's daily schedule, 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 is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. 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?

Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of an industry shortage of labor. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. There are also more young people seeking college degrees rather than a licensed trade like HVAC.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

While HVAC often requires physical exertion, it can still be quite gratifying. As a technician should be able to:

  • Work in unpleasant settings, such as tight or messy spaces.
  • Work in high or low temperatures since equipment is often outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.

A stubborn falsehood about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In reality, you need an extensive skill set, specialized education and ongoing certification.

It’s an excellent first career if you prefer to:

  • Minimize student debt.
  • Avoid working at a desk or in an office.
  • Have job security because the HVAC industry can't be outsourced.
  • Become your own boss and own your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Difficult Job?

Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians service complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a stable workload help both installers and technicians avoid some of the most common sources of work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Lifting heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are a couple of ways the HVAC industry can be physically demanding. Reaching difficult-to-access equipment can be exhausting. HVAC projects are often physical, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to remain as healthy as possible.

Are HVAC Careers at Risk Because of a Recession?

While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the essential nature of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, which means apprentices and master technicians alike can often find work in more places than other industries.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As HVAC equipment becomes more complex, reliable expertise will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or obtain it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for certified HVAC technicians.

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 on top of professional training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.

You can secure the needed certifications by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. The time it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which is typically six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation expands your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.

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 you'll need to know some basic math, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on 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 next 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 per year. With a more conventional education, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician

The daily schedule may vary depending on where you work. If you work in repairs, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For projects more relevant to new construction, you are more likely to have a set schedule for regular business hours.

As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Certain jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.

As we mentioned before, you should expect the occasional job in inclement weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always a positive.

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 should reflect that. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Higher earners usually make around $56,600 and $68,000. However, 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 could earn a salary as high as 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 the Most

You can specialize for new opportunities within 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 earn six figures annually. Larger salaries are also more common when working 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 especially so 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 will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Northwest Services

HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere, including in Swanton. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 419-548-5017 today!