If you’re considering a new, successful career, look no further than heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC careers are continuing to grow in popularity, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts additional industry growth of 13 percent by 2028.

People interested in HVAC quickly discover why these careers are continuing to grow. One involves homeowners using government tax credits 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 red-hot real estate market and a property shortage that’s spurred further growth in new construction homes.

You can join this rewarding industry by becoming 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 should be able to repair, install and maintain 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:

A few become HVAC-R technicians, and they are further trained to provide 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 can be physically demanding, it can still be quite gratifying. As a technician should be able to:

  • Work in uncomfortable settings, such as tight or messy spaces.
  • Work in inclement weather since equipment is often outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime during peak demand.

A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. In reality, you need an extensive skill set, specialized education and ongoing certification.

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

  • Avoid large amounts 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 Demanding Job?

Any job can be stressful. HVAC technicians service complex equipment and may be subject to cramped or uncomfortable working conditions. Appropriate experience and tools can help address any concerns. What’s more, paid training and a consistent schedule help HVAC professionals reduce some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Lifting heavy equipment and performing repetitive motions are both common during HVAC work. Getting to specialized types of equipment can be exhausting. 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 consistently avoiding the worst of economic downturns due to the widespread use of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation will always be needed, which means apprentices and master technicians alike can often find work across the country.

Is HVAC a Good Career for the Future?

As climate control technology continues to evolve, reliable expertise will become even more important. New forms of heating and cooling systems consume less energy or produce it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to grow in popularity, as will the need for competent HVAC professionals.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To become an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED on top of industry training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.

You can become certified by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. The time 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. This refers to North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation builds on your existing industry knowledge to ensure the highest quality services.

Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, getting the necessary education means a combination of classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don’t require things like advanced math skills. While a little math is needed, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set relies on 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 advantage of a career in HVAC is almost zero 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 annually. With a more conventional education, the standard student debt for a bachelor’s degree is $25,921.

A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician

Your work schedule may vary based on the project and job site. 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 may have more of 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. Some jobs may need more time and resources than others, so the number of calls each day can fluctuate.

As stated previously, you should expect the occasional job in severe weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. If you work in a customer-facing role, strong customer service skills are always a positive.

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. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. However, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. HVAC techs with enough experience to work in management in a high-paying state may make as much 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 with the Highest Salaries

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 with project management or custom system design experience could be eligible for salaries as high as six figures. Larger salaries are also more common when working 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 need the greatest number of HVAC professionals 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 will further encourage growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Verona HVAC

HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Santa Clarita. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 818-306-3387 today!