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 the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.

People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are growing so quickly. 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 increased the availability of new construction homes.

One of the most in-demand careers is working as an HVAC technician. Find out about what they do, 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 importantly, you’ll receive a comprehensive education 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 shortage is because of several things, including an aging workforce 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 has you on your feet, it can also be very rewarding. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:

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

One of the biggest misconceptions 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:

  • Avoid a lot of 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 handle complex equipment and will occasionally have to endure cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. The proper experience and tools can help address any concerns. Additionally, paid training and a consistent schedule help people in the HVAC industry reduce some of the most common reasons for work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Lifting heavy items and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Accessing and servicing large equipment can be strenuous. 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 there isn't a job that's immune to a recession, HVAC is especially reliable due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, which means professionals in HVAC can often find work in many different cities.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As HVAC systems continue to advance, professional servicing will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems use less energy or produce 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 become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED on top of specialized training. Other, more specific (and higher paying) HVAC careers are dependent on 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 most often around six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation further develops your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.

Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, professional development means blending classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don't involve complex math. While a little math is needed, the bulk of an HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes critical thinking, for identifying 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 advantage of a career 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. 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 work in repairs, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For technicians or installers working in construction, you may have more of a set schedule during normal business hours.

As a technician, your 'office' is actually all the properties you visit to complete repair, maintenance or installation work. Complex 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 severe weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For jobs that work with customers or clients, strong customer service skills are always useful.

Do HVAC Careers Offer Good Salaries?? 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. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. Then again, 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 several other career opportunities. 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 help unlock paths to specialist careers with even higher salaries. For example, master engineers who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems could be eligible for salaries as high as six figures. Larger salaries are also more likely if you have experience 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 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 Farris Heating & Air

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