HVAC Careers Are in Demand: What You'll Do as a Technician and How Much You'll Make

July 21, 2021

If you’re thinking about a new, high-paying career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the most rapidly growing careers you can find, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which expects careers in this field will grow by 13 percent by 2028.

There’s several reasons why these positions are expanding so rapidly. One is homeowners using government rebates to install more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the discontinuation of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which impacts aging equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot housing market and a home shortage that’s driven an increase in new construction houses.

One of the top in-demand positions is working as a HVAC technician. Learn more about what they do, how to become one and about how much you can expect to receive.

What Is an HVAC Technician?

A HVAC technician is a person who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be skilled with:

Some are HVAC-R pros, which means they also can take care of refrigeration.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

While HVAC can be physically challenging, it can also be extremely satisfying. As a technician you’ll need to be able to:

  • Work in difficult settings, including crowded or dirty spaces.
  • Work in hot or cold areas as equipment is typically outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak days.

One of the most typical misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar position. It requires a specific skill set, specialized training and ongoing certification.

It’s an excellent career choice if you want to:

  • Not have heavy amounts of higher education debt.
  • Avoid sitting at a desk or in an office.
  • Have job security realizing your position can’t be outsourced.
  • Work as your own boss and run your own successful business.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To become an HVAC technician, you should have a high school diploma or GED, as well as in-depth training. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers often require added schooling or endorsements.

You can become certified by attending classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which is usually six months to two years. Your employer might also expect NATE certification. Known as North American Technician Excellence, this industry-leading endorsement improves your technical knowledge to help you better serve customers.

Career Explorer says that technicians who can work with tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be in large demand as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.

Another perk of working in HVAC is little to no educational debt.

According to Midwest Technical Institute, attending a technical or trade school usually runs around $15,000. A community college usually runs around $5,000 annually. In contrast, the average student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

Your work schedule may vary depending on your employer. If you perform repairs, you might work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you might have more of a fixed schedule during typical business hours.

As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation work. Some tasks might need more time than others, so the number of calls you can take care of might vary.

As we talked about before, you should be accustomed to working outdoors in extreme weather, in addition to in dirty or cramped areas. If you work in a customer-facing role, solid customer service skills are always positive.

Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers

As HVAC is a fast-growing career, 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. However, salaries might be different based on your locationand its cost of living.

Other than having your own business, there are a few other extra career opportunities. These involve:

  • HVAC manager, $72,515 average salary
  • HVAC service manager, $71,176 average salary

Where HVAC Technicians Are in High Demand

HVAC technicians are needed across the nation, 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 going through explosive construction growth. Here’s why:

  • Florida: Hurricanes, education and healthcare buildings.
  • California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility projects.
  • Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure projects.
  • New York: Residential and infrastructure upgrades.
  • Illinois: Companies flocking to the Chicago area.

Where HVAC Technicians Will Be in High Demand in the Future

Projections Central, who develops long-term occupational projections, anticipates 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 biggest number of new jobs 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 economic growth is forecasted to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Engineer Your HVAC Career with Walter's-Eaton's Electric, Plumbing, Heating & AC

HVAC technicians are needed across the USA and in Ellsworth. To find out more about our openings, view our careers page or call us at 715-318-6728 right away!