Heating and air conditioning systems help to keep buildings comfortable, no matter what the weather is like outdoors. These systems also play a critical role in controlling indoor air quality. Without a good ventilation system, indoor air can become full of pollutants that put residents’ health at risk1.
HVAC technicians are trained in installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in residential and commercial buildings. If you’re interested in residential or commercial HVAC jobs, learn more about this in-demand career.
What Do HVAC Technicians Do?
HVAC technicians are responsible for working on the systems that keep buildings hot or cold and that maintain or improve indoor air quality. Some also perform work on refrigeration systems.
The tasks an HVAC technician might perform depend on the type of job they are hired to do. In some cases, they might be responsible for installing a new system in a building. In others, they might be hired to perform a maintenance check on an existing system.
During a maintenance check, a technician will inspect various parts of the system, including the electrical components and wiring.
An HVAC technician might specialize in certain types of buildings or certain types of systems. For example, some focus on commercial refrigeration systems while others specialize in radiant heating.
Technicians might provide HVAC service to their customers through all phases of the system’s life. After installing a system, a technician might sell a service contract to a client. As part of the service contract, the technician will perform regular system maintenance and will repair the system if needed.
What Do You Need to Do to Become an HVAC Technician?
There are a few routes you can take to become an HVAC technician. Some training is usually needed, but when the training takes place depends on the route you take.
One option is to pursue an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships include entry-level HVAC jobs and training. Usually, employers sponsor the apprenticeship and provide training to apprentices. It’s a great way to learn as you go and to earn a decent salary while you’re learning a new trade.
Another way to pursue a career as an HVAC technician is to enroll in a postsecondary certificate program. Orange Technical College has two HVAC certificate programs. Combined, the two programs take about 15 months to complete if you attend full time. Part-time options are also available.
After finishing the certificate programs, you’ll be eligible to take several of HVAC Excellence’s Employment Ready exams.
Depending on where you plan on working as an HVAC technician, you might need to earn licensure first. In Florida, you’re eligible for an HVAC license after four years of work experience or with a degree and 2,000 hours of experience.
What Is a Typical HVAC Technician Salary?
The median salary for HVAC technicians is higher than the median salary for all jobs in the US. In May 2020, the median annual salary was $50,590, compared to $41,950 for all occupations2.
How much you can earn as a technician depends on multiple factors, including where you work and your specialization. Technicians who worked in the education services sector or in the wholesale trade sector had the highest median annual salaries in May 2020.
You can also expect your salary to increase the longer you’re on the job. If you decide to become an apprentice, your starting salary will be about half of what you can expect to earn once you finish your education.
Job Opportunities for HVAC Technicians
There will continue to be plenty of job opportunities for HVAC technicians in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 38,500 annual openings for technicians, due to people leaving the field or retiring.
Job opportunities for HVAC technicians might increase in the future for a few reasons. HVAC systems are becoming more complex and efficient. Building owners and homeowners will most likely want to replace outdated or inefficient systems with newer models, to save energy and money and to improve indoor air quality.
If you want to get on the path to an in-demand career, Orange Technical College can help. We have HVAC training programs at our South Campus and West Campus or can help connect you to an apprenticeship program. Learn more today.
- Introduction to Indoor Air Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality
- HVAC Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-5