HVAC Careers Are Needed: 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 fastest-growing careers available, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which expects careers in this industry will expand by 13 percent by 2028.

There’s several reasons why these careers are growing so rapidly. One is homeowners using government refunds to purchase more energy-efficient comfort systems. Then there’s the end of R-22 Freon® refrigerants, which affects aging equipment. Lastly, there’s the red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s driven a boost in new construction residences.

One of the number one wanted careers is working as a HVAC technician. Find out 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 an individual who services, installs and maintains heating and cooling units. Most work with both homeowners and business owners. And, most important, you’ll be knowledgeable about:

Some are HVAC-R techs, which means they also work with refrigeration.

Is HVAC a Hard Career?

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

  • Work in uncomfortable settings, such as small or dirty spaces.
  • Work in hot or cold areas as equipment is often outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak days.

One of the most typical misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar job. You have to have a specific skill set, in-depth training and ongoing qualifications.

It’s a fantastic career choice if you want to:

  • Avoid heavy amounts of educational debt.
  • Avoid sitting at a desk or in an office.
  • Have job security being sure your position can’t be outsourced.
  • Work as your own boss and own your own profitable business.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To become an HVAC technician, you will require a high school diploma or GED, as well as comprehensive education. Other more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers often need added schooling or certifications.

You can get your certification by going to classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician is linked to the program, which is often six months to two years. Your employer may also expect NATE certification. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this top accreditation improves your technical know-how 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 benefit of working in HVAC is little to no instructional debt.

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

A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

Your work schedule might vary depending on where you work. If you do repairs, you could work early, late or be on call. If you work in construction/home building or management, you could have more of a regular schedule during normal business hours.

As a technician, you’ll visit different locations for repair, maintenance or installation service. Some jobs may take longer than others, so the number of calls you can go to might vary.

As we talked about previously, you should be comfortable working outdoors in extreme weather, as well as in dirty or cramped areas. If you work in a customer-facing role, good 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 show 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 differ based on your stateand its cost of living.

Aside from owning your own business, there are a wide range of extra career opportunities. These can be:

  • 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 United States, but even more so in Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois. According to hvacclasses.org, these states employ the greatest number of HVAC workers and are going through explosive construction growth. Here’s why:

  • Florida: Hurricanes, educational and healthcare locations.
  • California: Wildfires, transportation, energy and utility updates.
  • Texas: Hurricanes, energy, utility and other infrastructure updates.
  • 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 creates long-term occupational projections, expects these states to have the highest 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 greatest 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 economic improvement is forecasted to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Engineer Your HVAC Career with Ilten's Incorporated

HVAC technicians are needed across the nation and in Cedar Rapids. To discover more about our openings, see our careers page or call us at 319-208-3295 right away!