Careers

What is an HVAC Technician?

An HVAC or HVACR technician services heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration (HVACR) systems, which control the temperature and air quality of buildings. Some in the industry also specialize in certain categories of HVACR, like solar technology, radiant heating, or commercial refrigeration.

HVAC technicians must follow strict government regulations with regard to the storage, recovery, and recycling of refrigerants. HVAC technicians are in strong demand thanks to a rise in construction and focus on energy efficiency, as per the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

HVAC Technician Career Overview

HVAC is a good career path for individuals looking to work with their hands, employ a variety of skills, and advance in a growing industry. This field offers many different career opportunities, whether that means specializing in a specific category of HVAC or applying HVAC training and expertise to another industry. 

HVAC Technician Duties

HVAC technicians perform a variety of tasks that cover technical, administrative, and customer-service-related areas of the job. Following is a selection of essential HVAC technician duties:

  • Installing, cleaning, and maintaining HVACR systems
  • Installing electrical components and wiring
  • Repairing or replacing defective equipment, components, or writing
  • Discussing malfunctions with customers
  • Studying blueprints and designing specifications
  • Complying with standards, policies, and procedures
  • Connecting equipment to fuel, water, and refrigerant sources
  • Making recommendations for improved system performance
  • Keeping records of work performed

Learn more about what an HVAC technician does.

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Where Do HVAC Technicians Work?

HVAC technicians work anywhere where temperature-, humidity, or air quality control is needed. They typically work in homes, office buildings, factories, stores, schools, or hospitals. In some cases, HVAC technicians are sent to work on a particular site for the entire day. In others, HVAC workers are called to various different locations throughout their day.

For the most part, HVAC technicians work indoors, although they may have to work outside from time to time when they service outdoor heat exchangers. They may have to work in cramped spaces. According to the BLS, the vast majority works as plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors. Some are self-employed, while others work in educational services, retail trade or wholesale trade.

HVAC Technician Requirements

Since HVAC technology is becoming increasingly complex, employers normally prefer job applicants with postsecondary education. Delta Technical College’s HVAC training program may be completed within nine months and allows students to gain extensive hands-on experience as well as theoretical knowledge with regards to the installation, repair, and maintenance of HVAC systems. All HVAC technicians that buy, handle, or work with refrigerants must be certified in proper refrigerant handling through the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Furthermore, some states and localities also require HVAC contractors to obtain a license. HVAC technicians ought to bring a number of qualities to the job, including customer-service skills, math and physics knowledge, mechanical expertise, troubleshooting abilities, as well as physical strength and stamina.

Job Outlook for HVAC Technicians

Job growth for HVAC installers and mechanics is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, which is significantly faster than the average for all occupations (3%), the BLS reports. One of the reasons for this increase in employment is a thriving commercial and residential construction industry.

Moreover, a mounting demand for sophisticated, “smart” climate-control systems is projected to drive the need for trained HVAC technicians. The career outlook is especially promising for HVAC professionals who are familiar with tablets and electronics, as well as for those who possess strong troubleshooting skills. With sufficient experience and, in some cases, additional education, HVAC technicians may further explore their career opportunities by going into sales, marketing, consulting, or the government.

HVAC Technician Salary

The median annual wage for HVAC technicians in May 2022 was $51,390. There are several factors that affect how much HVAC technicians make in their job, such as industry, state, or city. For instance, the BLS states that the highest paying industries for HVAC technicians are aerospace product and parts manufacturing, natural gas distribution, and wired telecommunications carriers, among others.

Similar Professions

There are several professions that are comparable to HVAC in terms of job duties, according to the BLS:

  • Boilermakers
  • Electricians
  • General Maintenance & Repair Workers
  • Plumbers, Pipefitters & Steamfitters
  • Sheet Metal Workers
  • Solar Photovoltaic Installers
  • Stationary Engineers & Boiler Operators
  • Wind Turbine Technicians

SOURCES

  • [1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-6
  • [2] https://www.achrnews.com/articles/123311-hvac-offers-numerous-career-paths
  • [3] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-6
  • [4] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-2
  • [5] https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/49-9021.01#menu
  • [6] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-3
  • [7] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-4
  • [8] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-6
  • [9] https://www.achrnews.com/articles/123311-hvac-offers-numerous-career-paths
  • [10] https://www.deltatechnicalcollege.com/documents/GE/RIMS-HVAC.html
  • [11] https://www.deltatechnicalcollege.com/documents/GE/HLMS-HVAC.html
  • [12] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes499021.htm
  • [13] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-8