Are you wondering if HVAC might be the right career move for you? Before embarking on any new career, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Is the industry growing? Is there room for advancement and good earning potential? How long will you have to train?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what it means to choose a career as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician.
HVAC Technician Career at a Glance
|National Average||HVAC Technician|
|Common Duties||Heating and air conditioning repair, installation and maintenance|
|Entry-Level Training||Vocational training|
|Projected Job Growth||15% through 2026|
|Certification Required||NATE (varies by state and employer)|
|Where They Work||HVAC contracting companies, self-employed|
A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician
Most HVAC technicians work for HVAC and plumbing contractors. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nine-percent are self-employed. Job opportunities for HVAC techs also exist in education and wholesale.
HVAC technicians work to repair, install and maintain air conditioning systems at the residential and commercial level. They drive to jobs to inspect, diagnose and repair issues. Get a more in-depth look at what HVAC technicians do.
HVAC Career Paths and Opportunities
Starting as an HVAC technician could open the door to advancement and career opportunities. See the example below to get an idea of common career paths.
- HVAC/R Tech
- HVAC/R Maintenance Tech
- HVAC Refrigeration Technician
- HVAC Maintenance Manager
- HVAC Controls Technician
- HVAC Service Manager
- Chief Mechanical Engineer
- HVAC Maintenance Director
- HVAC Controls Systems Engineer
- HVAC Service Director
HVAC Technician Job Outlook
The future is looking bright for HVAC techs. The industry is expected to grow 15 percent through 2026, much faster than average. Commercial and residential construction will drive much of the employment growth. However, many employers fear they might not be able to fill a growing number of open positions because there’s a lack of skilled labor.
So, choosing to complete training in HVAC/R could help lead you to a career in repair, manufacturing, sales, management and other areas.
How Much Can You Earn as an HVAC Tech?
Nationally, the median annual pay for HVAC technicians was $47,080 in May 2017.
Salaries will vary based on state, city and employer. You can learn more from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How do You Become an HVAC Tech?
HVAC technicians typically graduate from a trade school that offers mechanical trades programs. HVAC training programs typically last between six and nine months and include a combination of lecture and lab time.
For example, Delta Technical College in Mississippi offers a nine-month HVAC training program. In this HVAC program, students will learn the fundamental processes and principles to enter the field at an entry level.
- Basic Electricity
- Air Conditioning
- Heat Pumps
- Major Appliance Repair
- Indoor Air Quality
Upon graduation, some employers or states may require additional credentials, such as North American Technical Excellence or, NATE certification. The NATE certification requirements are universally recognized in the United States.
Is HVAC the Right Career for You?
If you like the idea of a career that doesn’t keep you cooped up at a desk all day, training to become an HVAC/R technician might be the right move for you.