Employment in the HVAC industry is expected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026.
Growing faster than most other industries, more jobs will be available in this industry in the coming years. But how much do HVAC technicians make?
When you’re looking for a career that gives you long-term financial stability, you might consider becoming an HVAC technician. This relatively well-paying job doesn’t take too much formal education and there are a few ways to increase your HVAC tech earnings.
Before deciding that this is the career for you, learn more about the HVAC tech salary below.
What Is an HVAC Technician?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. It follows that an HVAC technician is a person who installs and repairs industrial and commercial HVAC systems. Some of the most common daily tasks of an HVAC technician include:
- Diagnosing HVAC equipment problems
- Troubleshooting HVAC equipment issues
- Repairing or replacing defective HVAC equipment, mechanical components, or wiring
- Perform preventative tests, checks, and maintenance tasks
- Perform preventative inspections on HVAC equipment
Another big part of an HVAC technicians job is to install various HVAC equipment or systems. You may work at homes, businesses, factories, and/or warehouses, depending on your training and expertise.
How Much do HVAC Technicians Make?
The value of the HVAC market was over $180 billion USD in 2018 alone. By 2023, experts believe that number will surpass $250 billion.
Driving the growth of the HVAC market is the increased demand for HVAC systems that reduce energy consumption. Extreme weather is also forcing more people to purchase HVAC systems. Other factors driving growth include government tax and rebate programs as well as the demand for upgrading to new systems from old.
All that is to say that the HVAC market is growing. With higher demand for HVAC systems repair and installation, there’s a greater need for workers in this industry. Right now is a great time to start thinking about a career in this field.
But how much can you expect to make as an HVAC technician? The answer isn’t exactly black and white.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average HVAC technician makes approximately $47,080 USD per year. On the lower end, HVAC technicians can make $28,440 or less. But on the higher end, HVAC technicians with lots of time and experience on the job can make well over the average salary, depending on the company, training, and experience. Many technicians begin working for themselves, and self-employment can be lucrative.
Not all HVAC technicians are paid an annual salary, though. Some technicians are paid hourly, and this rate also depends on experience and time on the job. The hourly pay for this position ranges from $13.67 to $35.26, with $23.23 being the average hourly wage. But the rate of pay depends on the company in which the technician works, the experience and training of the technician, and if there is differential pay based on shift worked.
Pay Differences Depend on Many Factors
Like most other jobs, your education, experience, and certifications can determine how much you are paid. But there are other factors to consider when you’re trying to make the most money you possibly can as an HVAC technician.
Below, we’ve listed some ways in which you can maximize your salary or hourly wage as an HVAC technician.
Education and Experience
Your level of education and experience is probably the most important factor determining your pay. There are different ways to go about education and training for an HVAC technician position. Some technicians are trained on-the-job without formal education and training. Usually those individuals start at lower pay rates than those who attend a formal training program. You can earn a certificate from a trade or technical school. You can also choose to try an apprenticeship. This way, you get paid while you’re on-the-job training for 3 to 5 years. Apprenticeships may be available through the Air-Conditioning Contractors of America, the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, the Associated Builders and Contractors, and the National Association of Home Builders.
Some states pay HVAC technicians better than other states. But keep in mind that some states that pay better also have a higher cost of living – so it tends to balance itself out.
Statistics indicate the highest paying regions or states for HVAC technicians are DC, Arkansas, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
Residential vs Commercial
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t draw any distinction between commercial and residential HVAC technicians. But there can be a significant difference in how they get paid. In commercial work, it’s more common to need specializations, experience, and very skilled technicians. Because it requires more time on the job, education, and training, commercial HVAC technicians can be generally paid more.
In addition, commercial HVAC companies are more commonly unionized. Unionized environments tend to pay employees more.
Ready for a New Career?
When you’re thinking of changing careers, one of the most important considerations for you may be how much you’re going to get paid. So how much do HVAC technicians make? While the average annual salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is approximately $47,080 USD per year, your pay may depend on where you live and work, as well as your education and training.
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