If you are interested in starting a new, successful career, consider one 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 the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.

It's easy to see why these careers are growing so quickly. One involves homeowners using government tax credits to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. There's also the transition away from R-22 Freon®, which impacts older equipment. Finally, there’s the ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in new construction homes.

A career that's increasingly in demand is 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. Most technicians will earn experience on equipment in both homes and commercial properties. And, most importantly, you’ll be knowledgeable about:

Some are HVAC-R technicians, which means they also work 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. 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 as opposed to a licensed trade like HVAC.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

While HVAC often requires physical exertion, it can still be a fulfilling career. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:

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

One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and continuous recertification.

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

  • Avoid a lot of student debt.
  • Avoid working at a desk or in an office.
  • Have job security because the HVAC industry can't be outsourced.
  • Be your own boss and work toward starting your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Difficult Job?

Every job has sources of stress. HVAC technicians handle complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools can help address any concerns. Additionally, paid training and a stable workload help people in the HVAC industry reduce some of the most common reasons for work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Moving heavy items 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 projects are often physical, and you may benefit from a healthy diet and exercise regimen to stay in good shape.

Would a Recession Impact HVAC Jobs?

While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is particularly resilient 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, professional servicing will become even more important. Newer models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or generate it from renewable sources like solar and wind. Environmentally 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 in addition to technical training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers require additional education or certifications.

Earn certifications by signing up for 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. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading accreditation further develops your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.

While some aspects of the job can be learned on your own, a proper 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 utilizes critical thinking, used to identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that technicians familiar with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be vital as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.

Another key perk of working in HVAC is almost zero student debt.

According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school generally costs approximately $15,000. A community college is usually around $5,000 every year. By comparison, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

A typical workday may vary depending on where you work. If you are a repair technician, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. If you work in construction/home building or management, you will be more likely to keep to a set schedule during normal business hours.

As a technician, you'll visit many different homes and businesses to perform repair, maintenance or installation work. Certain jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls you can go on may vary.

As stated previously, every now and then the job will have to be done in inclement weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. 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

With the constant growth in HVAC careers, 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. 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 could earn a salary as high as six figures.

In addition to owning 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

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 experience designing custom equipment or leading projects 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 even more so in 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 will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Ohler & Holzhauer Inc.

HVAC technicians remain in demand across the country and in Port Clinton. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 419-465-8722 today!