Is HVAC a Good Career?

Commercial HVAC technicians at workIn 2023, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics noted massive growth in HVAC careers, with 415,800 HVAC jobs across the US in 2022 and a projected growth rate of 6% over the next decade. 6% might not sound like a big number, but that projected growth is faster than the average for all other occupations! These trends are continuing into 2023 and 2024.

The HVAC industry is also becoming an easier one to break into. About 37,000 job openings for HVAC mechanics and installers are projected each year over the decade as the older generation of technicians transition out of the industry toward different careers or retire, leaving plenty of open positions and high demand for the next generation.

With numbers like that, more and more people are asking the question: Is HVAC a good career? It’s certainly a career in high demand! Becoming an HVAC technician takes time and training, but for many people, the upfront investment is worth it.

If you’ve been on the outside of the HVAC industry looking in and wondering if it’s the right career for you, you’re bound to have questions—from how secure the job is to how well it pays to what HVAC technician benefits packages look like. Let’s answer those questions—and see if HVAC is the next step in your career journey.

Will HVAC be in demand in the future?

As climate control technology advances, is there still room in the world for the humble, salt-of-the-earth HVAC technician? Yes, of course—especially for HVAC specialists who can keep up with the ever-evolving technologies that are shaping the industry.

When an HVAC system breaks down, it costs more than just money to fix, but also lost time and lost productivity. And no matter how advanced an HVAC system is, it can’t fix itself. It takes a human who knows the system inside and out to get things back up and running—and to keep up with preventative maintenance so it doesn’t happen again.

You can see from the current statistics that technology isn’t going to make HVAC careers obsolete any time soon. In fact, advances in HVAC technology mean HVAC technicians are more in demand than ever before!

Today’s and tomorrow’s HVAC systems, with all their energy efficiency technology, advanced sensors, and smart home connections, will actually make HVAC technicians’ jobs easier—helping them diagnose issues faster and get jobs done quicker.

How much do HVAC techs make?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for HVAC technicians was $51,390 in 2022. That’s about $5,000 more than the median wage for all occupations in the US averaged together.

The median wage doesn’t mean every HVAC tech makes $51,000 per year. The pay for HVAC technicians varies by experience. Apprentices just starting out in their career generally make about half what experienced techs make, with their pay increasing over the years as they gain experience and learn to do more. At the low end of the scale, entry-level HVAC technicians typically make about $36,000, while the most experienced technicians make upwards of $82,000 per year.

The Pros and Cons of HVAC Technician Jobs

Obviously, here at Chiller, we’re very biased about whether or not HVAC is a good career. Talk to any of our HVAC technicians and they’ll tell you how much they love the work they do. Working in HVAC can be a challenging job, but also a very fulfilling one. However, no job is all upsides, and an HVAC technician career isn’t for everybody.

Residential, commercial, and industrial HVAC services all come with their own positives and negatives as well. You might have higher tolerances for the challenges and frustrations that can come with one area over another or prefer working with residential systems over commercial systems, so do your research, talk to HVAC technicians from all three areas, and think about which one is best for you.

If you’re thinking about getting into the HVAC industry, weigh the pros and cons of HVAC technician jobs carefully:

The Benefits of an HVAC Career

  • High Demand: HVAC systems are essential in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, leading to a steady demand for skilled technicians. Demand for HVAC technicians is only increasing, contributing to the bright HVAC job outlook.
  • Good Earning Potential: With experience and certifications, HVAC technicians can earn a good salary. Most HVAC technicians work full-time, with plenty of opportunities for overtime.
  • Opportunities for Advancement: There are many paths for advancement within the HVAC field, including managerial positions, specialization in specific HVAC systems and climate control technologies, and opportunities for technicians to strike out and start their HVAC businesses.
  • Job Security: Given the constant need for HVAC maintenance, repair, and installation, the industry offers strong job security. There are a lot of different niches to specialize in, from electrical systems to pipe fitting to refrigeration to energy efficiency technologies. Technicians who keep up with innovations in HVAC systems have a good chance to carve out niches for themselves and maintain even stronger job security.
  • Variety of Work: Every day, jobs in the HVAC industry run the gamut of locations, challenges, and types of equipment. Some days have more work than others, and some days have harder work to do than others, but the job is always interesting.
  • Competitive Benefits: HVAC technician benefits packages can be very competitive, depending on your employer. In addition to the standard health insurance, retirement, paid time off, sick leave, and overtime pay, HVAC employers often offer tuition assistance or reimbursement so you can continue your training and keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. Compensation packages may also include performance or signing bonuses.

The Drawbacks of an HVAC Career

Working as an HVAC technician isn’t all sunshine and roses, of course. HVAC technicians perform physically demanding labor every day. The job often requires lifting, climbing, and working in uncomfortable positions or environments and can involve exposure to extreme temperatures. Working with heavy machinery and electrical systems can pose risks of injury, as can working in various weather conditions.

While HVAC technicians are generally full-time, the job isn’t your typical 9-to-5. When clients come to you in need of emergency repairs, it can mean working nights, weekends, or holidays. Seasonal fluctuations in demand can also influence your hours and schedule.

Starting your HVAC career also requires technical training, apprenticeships, or certifications, which can be a significant upfront time and financial investment. Since HVAC technicians are in high demand, businesses have incentives to help cover the costs of training, but it’s still an important factor to keep in mind.

What makes a good HVAC technician?

The HVAC job outlook is great, but the career isn’t for everyone. With so many avenues for jobs in the HVAC industry, there’s a lot of room for you—if you have what it takes to be an HVAC technician.

Great HVAC technicians are fast learners and problem solvers. They are able and willing to do physically demanding work, sometimes in extreme conditions. They know how to put up with challenging situations and not let frustration get in the way of finding solutions to their clients’ biggest HVAC issues. Above all, they’re able to offer professional guidance, attention to detail, and consistent follow-through when the going gets tough.

We encourage people interested in the life and work of an HVAC technician to give it a shot. We’re always open to nurture the next generation of HVAC tech talent in the Metro Denver area and the Northern and Southern Colorado Front Range. If you’re starting out a career in HVAC and think you would make a strong addition to our team, reach out to us.

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