Salaries for HVAC technicians will depend on various factors like the type of work to be carried out, the location, the employer, the experience level of the technician and whether the establishment is unionized. Most HVAC technicians receive salaries based on hourly rates. Wages can increase gradually as the professional becomes more skilled and gains knowledge and experience.
The yearly wages breakdown based on national estimates:
- Median wages or a 50th percentile level is $45,110 and makes HVAC a job that is high paying while not requiring a 4-year degree.
- Technicians in the top 10 percent will earn more than $71,690.
- Salaries on an average can vary dramatically even inside the same city.
- Technicians who work on installing or servicing of industrial or commercial systems will be better paid.
- Establishments that are unionized will pay better wages than those that are not part of any union. It is a fact, however, that in these cases, part of your earnings will go towards paying for insurance, other benefits, and union fees.
- Technicians can add to their income if they work for longer hours during peak seasons that can come in summer and winter. You can also earn additional money if you can get commissions from the selling of new service contracts or equipment.
The foreseeable future for careers as HVAC professionals is bright. HVAC technicians will see a 14% increase in their employment prospects in the decade 2014-2024, which is well above the average for many other industries.
Many factors are contributing to this growing demand for HVAC technicians. The gradual increase in population is leading to the number of buildings, commercial, residential, and industrial growing and all of these properties need to be fitted with systems for the required climate control. HVAC systems are also growing increasingly complex, and this leads to chances of their malfunctioning and needing skilled technicians to carry out the necessary repairs and other tasks. There has also been a growing awareness for the improvement of indoor air quality and to reduce energy consumption, and this requires HVAC technicians who can analyze installed systems and arrange their replacement with models that are more efficient.
There is a lot of diversity in the HVAC/R industry. Most technicians start their careers working in the light commercial or residential sectors. They move forward in their careers and get higher wages or reach supervisory positions. Once they have gained knowledge and experience, and have the right mindset, they can always find newer opportunities or challenges in other areas of this industry.
One area is commercial refrigeration where there is a high demand for workers who have the required skill and patience. HVAC/R technicians can also go in for further training that can help them to specialize in areas like building systems that have advanced computer controls, efficiency evaluation, testing and balancing of systems, retrofitting, and cooling and heating using geothermal sources or solar power. Some technicians can also move into education sales and marketing of HVAC equipment, or even set up their own contracting business in the field.
A technician can also obtain a bachelor's degree in HVAC engineering. This degree can allow the person to become an engineer or technologist who can design newer controls and systems for industrial, commercial, manufacturing or institutional sectors.
Working in HVAC - Benefits
It gives a sense of accomplishment. Fixing problems that arise in equipment that you install allows your job to directly impact the comfort of people who use the systems.
Every working day is different. You are not bound to a desk. You have a constant variety of problems and new people to meet. The work is fast paced and time goes by quickly every day on the job.
The endless opportunities for learning can be stimulating and rarely lead to boredom. The industry is moving quickly towards expanded automation, and this allows you to increase knowledge.
Once you are established in this field, you have long-term stability and increased chances for greater income generation. Jobs are secure. Skills are portable, and as jobs have to be done on-site, they cannot be outsourced.
Personal Characteristics that Can Help You in the Job
- Pride and a sense that you are a craftsman
- Willing to work with hands and having a mechanical aptitude
- Strong work ethic and determination
- Interest in the technology and science behind HVAC
Becoming an HVAC Technician
Employers will consider you for a position only if you have received formal training in this technical field.