If you’re considering a new, successful career, check out a career 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 careers in this industry will grow by 13 percent by 2028.

There are several reasons why these careers are increasingly popular. One is homeowners taking advantage of government incentives to upgrade to more energy-efficient comfort systems. It's also important to consider R-22 Freon® coolant, which affects old models. Finally, there’s the dynamic real estate market as well as a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in 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 Does It Mean to Be an HVAC Technician?

A HVAC technician is someone who repairs, installs and maintains heating and cooling systems. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most importantly, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:

Some are HVAC-R technicians, meaning they also have experience with refrigeration.

Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?

There is a high demand for qualified HVAC technicians because of the current shortage in the industry. There are several reasons for this discrepancy, such as more retirements and competition from other industries. Many younger people also pursue 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 should be able to:

  • Work in uncomfortable settings, such as tight or dirty spaces.
  • Work in hot or cold areas since HVAC systems are usually outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.

One of the biggest misconceptions about HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In truth, you'll need distinct skills, specialized education and continuous recertification.

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

  • Avoid a lot of student debt.
  • Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
  • Have job security since HVAC positions can't be outsourced.
  • Gain the experience you need to start your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Difficult 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. Sufficient experience and tools are helpful when resolving these concerns. In addition, paid training and a stable workload help people in the HVAC industry avoid some of the most common sources of 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. Reaching difficult-to-access 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.

Is HVAC a Recession-Proof Job?

While no job is guaranteed to survive a recession, HVAC is especially reliable due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, meaning HVAC professionals can often find work in many different cities.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As HVAC equipment becomes more complex, professional servicing will become even more important. The newest models of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or generate it from renewable sources including solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will keep growing more popular, as will the need for certified HVAC technicians.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED along with technical training. Other, more specialized (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.

You can secure the needed certifications by signing up for classes at a community college or trade school. How long it takes to become an HVAC technician varies from program to program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An HVAC company will sometimes also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this key accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to maximize your capabilities.

While some elements 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 aren't reliant on things like advanced math. While you'll need to know some basic math, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set lies in critical thinking, in order to properly identify problems and ensure quality installation.

Career Explorer reports that having experience with things like tablets, electronics and troubleshooting will be especially useful as equipment grows in complexity and functionality.

Another benefit of working in HVAC is almost zero student debt.

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

Your Day-to-Day Schedule as an HVAC Technician

Your work schedule may vary on the work site as well as your specific skill set. If you are a repair technician, you may work early, late or be on call throughout the day. For projects more relevant to new construction, you may have more of a set schedule during normal business hours.

As a technician, you’ll respond to different locations for 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, you should expect the occasional job in extreme weather as well as in dirty or cramped spaces. For roles assisting customers, strong customer service skills are always welcome.

Is a Career in HVAC Profitable? Average Salary for HVAC Technicians and Other HVAC Careers

Because HVAC is a fast-growing industry, your salary will reflect it. The national average salary for an HVAC technician is $49,242, according to ZipRecruiter. Higher earners usually make around $56,600 and $68,000. Having said that, salaries may fluctuate based on your location and its cost of living. Experienced HVAC technicians transitioning to a position in management in a high-paying state could make upward of six figures.

Along with starting 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 That Pay More

You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities open doors for niche positions with great 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 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 major construction growth. 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 Desert Husky HVAC/R Services

HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Tucson and Phoenix. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 520-416-5415 today!