If you’re considering a new, successful career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC careers are continuing to grow in popularity, 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 continuing to grow. One is federal incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. It's also important to consider R-22 Freon® coolant, which impacts any system still using it. Finally, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s increased the availability of new construction homes.

A career that's increasingly in demand is an HVAC technician. Learn more about their skill set, how to become one and about how much you can expect to make.

What Are HVAC Technicians?

A HVAC technician is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll learn a great deal about:

Some are HVAC-R technicians, and they are further trained to provide refrigeration.

Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?

Qualified HVAC technicians are in high demand because of shrinking labor force within the industry. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, such as more retirements 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 has you on your feet, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:

  • Work in awkward settings, such as tight or dusty spaces.
  • Work in high or low temperatures since equipment is often 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.
  • Work outdoors instead of in an office.
  • Have job security knowing your position can’t be outsourced.
  • Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Stressful Job?

You can't fully escape stress when on the job. HVAC technicians work on complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools can help mitigate some of these concerns. What’s more, paid training and a stable workload help people in the HVAC industry fend off some of the most common sources of work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Moving heavy objects and performing repetitive motions are a couple of ways the HVAC industry 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.

Would a Recession Impact HVAC Jobs?

While a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is especially reliable due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be required, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in many different cities.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As climate control technology continues to evolve, 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 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 specialized training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on additional education or certifications.

You can secure the needed certifications by signing up for classes at a community college or trade school. The time it takes to become an HVAC technician may fluctuate depending on the specific program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. Your employer might also require NATE certification. An acronym for North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to help you better serve customers.

Even though basic concepts 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 don't involve complex math. While you'll need to know some basic math, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, used to identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment becomes capable of even more.

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

According to Midwest Technical Institute, enrolling in a technical or trade school generally costs approximately $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 every year. With a more conventional education, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

A typical workday 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. If you work in construction/home building or management, 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. Some jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.

Like we mentioned earlier, every now and then the job will have to be done in extreme weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always useful.

Can You Make a Good Living in HVAC? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers

With the constant growth in HVAC careers, your salary will reflect it. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. Having said that, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state could make upward of 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 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 project management or custom system design experience 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 demand across the country, but particularly in states like Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the most HVAC workers 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 should spur continued growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with JTech Mechanical

HVAC technicians can find work just about anywhere, including in Magnolia. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 281-231-8768 today!