HVAC Technician Careers

Careers In Heating, Ventilation, And Air Conditioning

Most of the time, people do not enjoy piling on coats, hats, socks and other pieces of clothing to stay warm indoors during the winter - or having to turn on a fan and prepare themselves loads of iced drinks to stay cool in the summer climate.

This is the reason why they make sure to install proper air conditiong and heating system in their businesses and homes, and why contractors and technicians who work with it tent to have a busy, demanding career.

HVAC technicians help install, maintain and repair air-conditioning and heating system units - and work with refrigeration and ventilation systems in commercial or residential properties, too. For a variety of reasons, the HVAC field has been growing fast.

New regulations require homes to be more energy-efficient, and people in HVAC careers need the technical skills to understand such systems. For instance, certain homeowners opt for two-stage furnace systems which create a more balanced heating, leading to better energy efficiency. After the Great Recession, many homeowners are interested in savings and will definitely invest in better equipment which will help them save in the future. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that necessity for HVAC technicians is going to grow due to the fact the construction industry has been recovering from the great recession, which will require a HVAC technician and contractor's skills when building new homes.

Another important point to keep in mind is the fact that homes built between 2002 and 2016 are now likely to need their entire HVAC systems replaced, since they tend to last around 10 to 15 year, and that the emphasis on reducing pollution leads to retrofitting of systems and equipment so that they become more energy efficient and don't use prohibited refrigerants.

HVAC Career Outlook - Heating Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (BLS, 2014)

Predictions that stem from 2014 data have shown that jobs for HVAC installers and mechanics should grow by 14% through 2024, much faster than the average rate for all professions (11%) this means about 40,000 new jobs in the span of a decade.

According to that data, the BLS states the average HVAC technician is going to earn around $44,630 per year, working out to $21.46 per hour. Obviously, the average salaries don't represent what new technicians should expect to earn. As reported by Payscale, entry level technicians in the HVAC field should expect to make around $15.35 per hour. Learning skills such as controls and commercial application will help them earn more, quickly.

The region in which HVAC technicians are employed has a major impact on how much they stand to make and how many jobs are available for them. Using the BLS average, which includes the majority of HVAC professions, top U.S. employment areas are:

California, with 19,660 jobs
Florida, with 23,660 jobs
New York, with 12,950 jobs
Texas, with 20,870 jobs
Pennsylvania, with 12,360 jobs

Unfortunately, top paying states for technicians don't overlap much with the locations where they can find the best rates:

Massachusetts, $26.85 per hour
Alaska, $30.43 per hour
New Jersey, $27.11 per hour
Washington, $26.81 per hour
District of Columbia, $30.06 per hour

Read on for information on careers that are more specialized.

HVAC Career Details

A student can build their HVAC career by attending one among the many programs available at post secondary schools, and then working toward a certificate, diploma or associate degree. Apprenticeships under licensed professionals are a good way to learn the practical skills, too. Time on the job, education, or a combination of both allow students to prepare for a HVAC career and seek employment in a company, or work as a licensed contractor. Below is a list with four specific careers in HVAC.

Professional AC technicians make sure the temperature in controlled climate locations is where it has to be. They'll often work in businesses and homes, but might also make sure temperature is correct in locations such as grocery stores and hospitals. They could have regular 9-to-5 hours, or might be on call for when a home or business' system goes out and need immediate repair.

HVAC installers are responsible for putting up heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems into commercial or residential properties. The professionals need to have the required technical knowledge, mechanical skills and manual dexterity to put the systems into place. Installers have to be physically strong and capable of troubleshooting, and understand time management, as they'll often need to be on multiple sites where they work.

Picture your ideal day. Whether it's relaxing poolside at a beautiful tropical retreat, retiring to your luxury hotel for an afternoon siesta, or whooshing down an Alpine ski run when the sun is out then have some hot cocoa by the fireplace afterwards, there's always something in common: After spending the day outside, you want to get inside where it's try and comfortable. That would simply not be possible without HVAC professionals maintaining and caring for the climate control system.

HVAC technicians may work in installation, repair and maintenance of air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems. They might specialize in certain areas like refrigeration systems, and seek certifications that reflect their expertise. They may work for a company or, after they get a license if it's required in their state, do their own contract work. With experience and time on the job - and the right contacts - a good technician could even move into a supervisory position in a company.

Refrigeration technicians care for the cooling and refrigeration systems in a home or business location, such as grocery store, a restaurant kitchen or a place that's under construction. They understand how to repair and install such systems and can be tasked with performing upgrades, working with new units or replacing parts of old ones. Refrigeration technicians tend to be familiar with a variety of systems, and understand how to read schematics.