Have you always wanted to understand how mechanical or electrical systems work? Then you might want to become an HVAC technician. These workers have comprehensive knowledge of common heating, ventilation, and cooling systems and can fix or replace them to keep them in working order.

HVAC salary is close to the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And as they advance in their work, HVAC techs can also own their own HVAC repair businesses. Read on to learn more about how much HVAC technicians make.

How Much Do HVAC Technicians Make in the United States?

HVAC technician work can vary from entry-level tasks and basic repairs to highly skilled and specialized work on HVAC systems, but the average pay in this field is about $53,410 a year, according to the BLS.

Compared to $56,310, the average for all occupations tracked by the BLS, the average HVAC technician salary is high, given the lack of need for an expensive bachelor's degree at a university in most contexts.

Salary Changes Throughout the Career Path

To gain experience in a hands-on setting, you will likely work under a certified HVAC technician while you're learning as an apprentice. According to the BLS, apprentices in the installation, maintenance, and repair industry make nearly $34,000 on average.

This will be the first work you get after training at a vocational school or community college. You'll observe more complex tasks and perform the simple tasks, developing your skills.

As you grow your skills, you will perform enough installations to become a competent team member at an HVAC company. When you can install HVAC systems on your own, you could be looking at an average salary of more than $49,000, according to Payscale.

Becoming a full HVAC technician may involve licensure or another state-level requirement. If you're working with refrigerants, like air conditioning technicians, you'll need to be EPA certified in handling refrigerants in a safe and environmentally sound way.

The higher certifications also come with the higher average pay.

A technician manager may have dispatching duty, but they'll also focus on training the less-experienced technicians. This becomes a role where you run the lead on the most challenging work while also training others to be prepared for those kinds of repairs.

HVAC service managers make an average salary of $73,615, according to Payscale.

If you realize you have the reputation and experience to strike out on your own, you can launch an HVAC installation and repair company. You may take on fewer client repairs and manage the business itself more, be it handling the books or focusing on hiring great new talent.

In this role, you get to decide on your salary based on the cost of your jobs and how many employees you hire.

HVAC technicians do not have to stick with this path. You also can use knowledge of these systems to work in furnace or air conditioner sales. Also, people with knowledge of technical systems like HVAC can often dovetail their knowledge into careers as contractors, electricians, or mechanics.

Many times, skilled workers like HVAC techs use their experience and contacts to become a home inspector.

Pay Difference By Location

State

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Opportunities and Job Growth for HVAC Technicians

The BLS projects the market for HVAC technicians will grow 4% by 2029, approximately the average growth for all professions.

In addition, finding work in Idaho, Florida, and Maine may be even more promising since they have more HVAC technicians per capita than other states. New York, Los Angeles, and Miami are metropolitan areas with an unusually high demand for this career.

Other Benefits of Becoming an HVAC Technician

Depending on the context of your technician role, there may be uniforms provided as part of the technician's work, reducing the need to purchase clothes specifically for work. You also might receive access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan and a benefits package, including healthcare options and dental insurance in salaried roles.

Finally, if you choose to run your own HVAC company after working as a technician, you will receive the profit of your privately-held business, a powerful benefit of becoming an HVAC entrepreneur.

How Much Does it Cost to Become an HVAC Technician?

HVAC technicians initially need to have either a high school diploma or invest in a GED exam, which is usually an affordable test often in the $120 to $140 range.

HVAC technicians often invest in a technical program at a vocational school or community college. Trade schools cost $33,000 on average, and community colleges cost about $3,700 per year. (But you can often find training programs for much less).

You'll learn quite a bit on the job, but before you can work with refrigerants, you'll need to take a course and exam in 608 EPA training. Prep courses cost less than $100, and the test is between $20 and $30 in many places. Finally, if your state requires licensure, you'll need to plan on the cost of that exam as well at some point after you finish your time as a trainee or apprentice.

Salaries for Related Jobs

Home Inspector

  • Salary: $63,150
  • Cost to become: High school diploma/GED, associate degree or certificate, and licensing costs

Electrician

  • Salary: $61,550
  • Cost to become: High school diploma/GED, community college/vocational school program, licensure exam fee

Mechanic

  • Salary: $46,760
  • Cost to become: Automotive service technology program at vocational school, on-the-job training, licensure exam fee

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Laura Leavitt
Contributing Writer

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