If you want a fulfilling, successful career, check out a career in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is one of the fastest-growing careers you can find, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts the continued growth of the industry by 13 percent by 2028.

It's easy to see why these careers are increasingly popular. One is federal 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 ever-changing real estate market exacerbated by a property shortage that’s driven an increase 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 should be able to repair, install and maintain heating and cooling systems. Many technicians are skilled with both residential and commercial equipment. And, most important, you’ll receive a comprehensive education about:

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

Is There a Shortage of HVAC Technicians?

Experienced HVAC technicians are increasingly sought after because of the current shortage in the industry. This discrepancy is the result of several factors, including an aging workforce and competition from other industries. There are also more young people seeking 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 a fulfilling career. As a technician you'll be expected to occasionally:

  • Work in uncomfortable settings, such as tight or dusty spaces.
  • Work in hot or cold areas since HVAC equipment is generally found outdoors.
  • Work evenings, weekends and overtime around peak demand.

A common misconception about learning HVAC is that it’s a blue-collar career. It requires a specific skill set, specialized education and continuous recertification.

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

  • Minimize student debt.
  • Stay active rather than remain inside an office.
  • Have job security because the HVAC industry can't be outsourced.
  • Become your own boss and own your own successful business.

Is HVAC a Demanding Job?

Every job has sources of stress. 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. What’s more, paid training and a consistent schedule help HVAC professionals avoid some of the most common triggers of work-related stress.

Is HVAC Hard on Your Body?

Moving heavy items and performing repetitive motions are two common reasons HVAC can be physically demanding. 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.

Would a Recession Impact HVAC Jobs?

While a recession can affect any industry, HVAC is especially reliable due to the essential nature of heating and cooling equipment. Repairs and installation are always necessary, 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, technicians and installers will become even more important. New forms of heating and cooling systems need less energy or generate it from renewable sources such as solar and wind. Environmentally sustainable HVAC equipment will continue to expand, as will the need for experienced installers and technicians.

How to Become an HVAC Technician

To start a career as an HVAC technician, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED in addition to industry training. Other, more specialty (and higher paying) HVAC careers typically need additional education or certifications.

Earn certifications by enrolling in classes at a community college or trade school. The time it takes to become an HVAC technician relies on the program, which generally lasts between six months to two years. An employer may also require NATE certification. Standing for North American Technician Excellence, this influential accreditation further develops your technical knowledge to maximize your capabilities.

Even though basic concepts of an HVAC career could be learned on your own, professional development means combining classroom programs with on-site training. At the same time, HVAC careers don't involve complex math. While some math is involved, most of the HVAC professionals’ skill set utilizes 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 vital as equipment becomes more technologically advanced.

Another key perk of working in HVAC is almost zero student debt.

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

A Daily Schedule as an HVAC Technician

A typical workday 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. Some jobs may require more time than others, so the number of calls on a given day could vary considerably.

As stated previously, you should be comfortable working outdoors in inclement weather as well as in difficult-to-reach places. For jobs that work with customers or clients, strong customer service skills are always a positive.

Do HVAC Careers Offer Good Salaries?? 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. Professionals with specialized skills could make between $56,600 and $68,000. Then again, total compensation can depend on where you live and its cost of living. Some HVAC techs working in management in a high-paying state may make as much as six figures.

In addition to owning 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 with the Highest Salaries

You can specialize for new opportunities within the HVAC industry, and continuing education and certification opportunities offer access to even higher salaries. For example, master engineers who can manage projects and design custom HVAC systems could receive six-figure salaries. 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 in demand across 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 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 is anticipated to fuel growth in these states, according to hvacclasses.org.

Grow Your HVAC Career with Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning

HVAC technicians are needed everywhere, including in Omaha. To learn more about our openings, visit our careers page or call us at 402-509-5940 today!