Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning technicians are responsible for installing and servicing the climate control systems that make our workplaces, homes and public buildings comfortable. There are multiple paths to becoming an HVAC technician, and HVAC training time varies from a few months to several years. A college degree is not required, but HVAC technicians are trained professionals who can earn a good living practicing their trade.
HVAC Technician Job Description
HVAC technicians maintain and install climate control and refrigeration systems in businesses, homes, and public buildings like schools and hospitals. They often need to install electrical components and wiring as well. HVAC technicians are responsible for inspecting new and existing systems and performing scheduled maintenance and cleaning tasks. They conduct air quality tests and periodic inspections. Service technicians consult with customers and make recommendations about repairing or replacing equipment that is defective or worn out. Some HVAC technicians specialize in commercial refrigeration systems, radiant heating or solar systems.
Some HVAC technicians work all day at specific locations such as construction sites. Others travel from one location to another making service calls. They must be safety conscious to avoid injuries such as burns, electrical shocks or injury from lifting heavy items. Most installation and maintenance work is carried out indoors. However, some equipment is located outdoors and must be worked on even in bad weather. Overtime work is frequent for service technicians during peak demand seasons. Some jobs also require evening or weekend work.
HVAC Training Requirements
HVAC training time varies, depending on the type of training program. You may have wondered: "Are there HVAC schools near me?" The answer is probably yes. There are training programs at most technical schools and many community colleges nationwide. These programs take anywhere from six months to two years. You earn a certificate or an associate's degree. Alternatively, you can enter an apprenticeship program sponsored by a trade union or contractor's association. HVAC training time is longer, ranging from three to five years. However, you work full time and earn while you learn.
Students and apprentices learn basic electrical work and plumbing skills such as soldering pipes and installing wiring. HVAC technicians must learn to read blueprints and comply with regulations. A high school background in math and physics is helpful.
HVAC Technician Salary
IHVAC technicians earned a median income of $47,080 as of May 2017. The term "median" means that 50 percent of salaries were more than this figure and 50 percent were lower. The lowest 10 percent were paid less than $29,120. HVAC technicians in the top 10 percent earned more than $75,330 in 2017.
Entry-level HVAC technicians with less than five years of experience averaged $39,415 per year. Those with five to 10 years experience made an average of $45,501. Technicians with more than 10 years of work experience earned an average of $50,926, but averaged $53,259 late in their careers.
Employment opportunities for HVAC technicians are very good. The number of jobs for HVAC technicians are expected to grow from 332,900 in 2016 to 381,700 in 2026. This is a projected increase of 15 percent, which is faster than average. Growth is being spurred by increasing use of sophisticated climate control systems. In addition, people are more aware of the value of energy efficiency and of the health benefits of breathing clean air with a minimum of pollutants.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, William Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about career, employment and job preparation issues. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology with a focus on employment and labor from Georgia State University. He has conducted research sponsored by the National Science Foundation to develop career opportunities for people with disabilities.