If you’re considering a new, 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 the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.

People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are increasingly popular. One is federal incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. It's also important to consider R-22 Freon® coolant, which affects old models. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in new construction homes.

A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Find out about what they do, 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 should be able to repair, install and maintain heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most importantly, you’ll learn a great deal about:

A few become HVAC-R technicians, and they are further trained to provide refrigeration.

Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?

Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of the current shortage in the industry. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, including an aging workforce and competition from other industries. It's also more likely for young people to start pursuing college degrees instead of a licensed trade like HVAC.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

While HVAC often requires physical exertion, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:

  • Work in unpleasant settings, such as tight or messy spaces.
  • Work in inclement weather since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime during 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 an excellent first career if you prefer to:

  • Minimize student debt.
  • Avoid working at a desk or in an office.
  • Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
  • Become your own boss and own your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Difficult Job?

You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help address any concerns. Additionally, paid training and a consistent schedule help both installers and technicians 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 both common during HVAC work. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be exhausting. HVAC projects are often physical, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to stay in good shape.

Are HVAC Careers at Risk Because of a Recession?

While a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in more places than other industries.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As climate control technology continues to evolve, professional servicing will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or generate it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Greener HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED on top of industry training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.

Earn certifications 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 typically six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation further develops your technical knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.

While some elements of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, getting the necessary education means combining 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, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that HVAC technicians who are familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.

Another benefit of working in HVAC is next to no student debt.

According to Midwest Technical Institute, signing up for classes at 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 based on the project and job site. 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 may have more of a set schedule for regular business hours.

As a technician, you'll visit many different homes and businesses to perform repair, maintenance or installation work. Certain jobs might take longer 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 dirty or cramped spaces. If you work in a customer-facing role, 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 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, your salary may be dependent on the area's average wages 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.

Aside from launching 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 with the Highest Salaries

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 experience designing custom equipment or leading projects 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 employ the most HVAC workers 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 should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Air Current AC & Heat

HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Houston. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 713-322-4318 today!