Becoming an HVAC Technician: Job Security and Career Growth

Sitting at a desk isn’t for everyone. Some people like to tinker, solve mechanical problems, and work with their hands. Certified HVAC professionals get to do these things every day when they install, inspect, maintain, or repair climate-control systems for a variety of indoor environments.

Older equipment decreases in energy-efficiency every year. It requires more maintenance. As a result, the need for HVAC technicians to systematically install newer, greener, more cost-effective air-conditioning, heating, and refrigeration systems increases.

This is one of the reasons why we have job security in our field. The Bureau of Labor estimates that the HVAC industry will grow 21% between 2012 and 2022. By comparison, the projected average job growth for all occupations is only 11% and, in most installation, maintenance, and repair jobs, it’s 10%.

Career trajectory for HVAC professionals is similarly optimistic. While you start out as a service technician after school, this leads to becoming a field manager, then an operation manager, then a distribution manager.

‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’—And Money You’ll Make

You have assets in addition to being detail oriented and mechanically inclined. Other skills, specializations, and work experiences affect your salary at your entry position and as you grow as an HVAC professional.

Certain Skills Pay More Bills

Installations, maintenance, repairs, and replacements require a great deal of physical strength. The machinery often weighs a lot, which means you have to maintain great physical fitness in order to prevent injury. Working with climate-control systems may yield a high income, but it also may bring a high risk of injury and illness. Since you constantly have to deal with heavy equipment, electricity, and inhalants, you need to be on top of your game at all times.

Being bilingual also helps HVAC technicians as they climb the management ladder. Not only will you deal face-to-face with clients who speak different languages, but you will begin to manage people who might speak English at work and a different language at home. This proves especially helpful predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.

For example, an older relative who doesn’t speak English well (or at all) feels more comfortable encountering a Spanish-speaking service technician who comes into his building to fix the heating system.

Specializations like commercial and control skills also effectively boost salaries long-term.

The average commercial HVAC professional, who exclusively works in large buildings and industrial settings, has about 10-20 years of experience. He/she makes about $52,000 a year. Currently, the City of Angels, Los Angeles offers the highest commercial HVAC salaries at 44% over the national average. Our home city of Chicago offers 18% over national average.

An HVAC controls technician will diagnose interior climate-control problems, troubleshoot, and then fix them. In addition to the ability to think outside-of-the-box, they deal with clients face-to-face. Excellent customer service skills define a great HVAC controls technician, who brings in an average of $51,000.

Boston offers the best opportunities for a HVAC control technician job. The capital of Massachusetts offers HVAC control salaries 44% over the national average. Denver come second with salaries 37% above average.

Other helpful skills (these only factor in a 10% or less increase in salary) include systems troubleshooting, electronic troubleshooting, technical services, welding, system repair, troubleshooting, system testing, heat, and HVAC system design.

Pursuing an apprenticeship will give you valuable on-the-job skills, but it will usually earn you about half of what you would make in the workforce. You can get an HVAC apprenticeship through any of these organizations:

  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America
  • Home Builders Institute
  • United Association of Apprentice and Journeymen of the United States and Canada
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America
  • National Association of Home Builders
  • Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association

Certain Places Offer More Work Opportunities

The best way to ensure steady work as an HVAC technician is to live in an area with a lot of commercial and residential construction. As buildings get built, restored, or torn down, contractors need HVAC professionals to assist in a variety of ways. Sometimes work can ebb and flow.

Peak seasons bring irregular hours like weekends and evenings, but also high-paying overtime. Specializing in installing means experiencing work droughts, particularly when construction declines. Maintenance and repairs offer more stable employment opportunities. You can find about 61% of these jobs in plumbing, heating, or air-conditioning contractors industries.

There are certain places that have an above-average opportunities for HVAC technician jobs, specifically:

  • Maine
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • Washington, DC
  • Maryland
  • Florida
  • Alabama
  • Louisiana

While Chicago doesn’t make the list with the, it did make the list of places that pay more than the national average.

Look at the pay scale range for the following cities:

  • 5-10% more: Richmond, Phoenix, Orlando,
  • 11-20% more: Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver
  • 21-30% more: Boston, Chicago, Baltimore
  • San Diego pay is the highest with 39% over the national average

Because a certified HVAC technical school offers hands-on training and small class sizes, attendance can give you a distinct hiring advantage. It is possible to get a higher level job placement, or rise more quickly in your field. Get your HVAC training with confidence.