An HVAC technician is a specialist in heating, cooling, and ventilation. In many cases, this individual is also trained in the installation of different types of insulation. While many consumers simply think of an HVAC technician as the person they call to make sure their systems are in good working order – and to fix those systems when things go wrong – these individuals are always learning, and they enjoy very rewarding careers.
What Kind of Education Does an HVAC Technician Have?
An HVAC technician is not required to have any kind of postsecondary degree. In fact, most technical colleges and vocational schools offer what are known as HVAC certificates that can be earned in 12 to 18 months. However, because the industry itself continues to grow more complex as increased attention is being placed on efficiency and energy use, many HVAC employers prefer candidates who have obtained a degree.
Most states and some localities require an HVAC technician to be licensed, and this licensing must be renewed periodically. This often requires testing on the most recent HVAC laws, especially as they pertain to the use of refrigerants.
What’s the Work Environment Like?
An HVAC technician may work in residential homes, small businesses and retail locations, or even large industrial buildings. Because important components of the HVAC system are located outdoors, these individuals are often exposed to the weather. Most companies providing HVAC services will do so around the clock, in the middle of the night, on weekends, and even on holidays to ensure their customers stay comfortable. This means that HVAC techs may work a set schedule, with nights, weekends, and holidays on-call.
How Much Does an HVAC Technician Make?
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an HVAC technician earns an average of $45,110 per year. Those who work full time and have years of experience often earn more; those who are completing apprenticeships, new to the industry, or working part time tend to earn less. Location can also influence salary, since techs working in large metro areas tend to earn more than those in rural settings. Finally, it’s also important to consider that one in 10 HVAC technicians in the US is self-employed. These individuals often earn roughly the same amount of money annually as their employed counterparts.
Is There Job Security?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the employment of HVAC techs as a whole is expected to increase some 14% by 2024, which is a significant increase when compared to other occupations. This growth will be fueled by new home and business construction and the average consumer’s desire to upgrade to newer, more energy-efficient equipment. HVAC systems have lifespans ranging from 10 to 20 years, which means more HVAC technicians will be required to replace these systems.
An HVAC technician is a hard worker who isn’t afraid to climb on roofs or under houses, even in extreme heat or cold, to ensure his or her clients’ comfort. He or she enjoys a fulfilling career with plenty of job security, and per laws in most states, must stay up-to-date on current laws in order to maintain his or her licensure.