HVAC Technician Review

Becoming an HVAC technician is suitable for anyone who wants to start their own business in a growing industry. The high risk of injury these workers face may be a deal breaker for some, though.

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The Good

Strong job outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a promising 21% increase of HVAC technician jobs in the next 10 years, which is significantly above the average 11% overall job growth rate. New buildings are going to require HVAC systems and older systems will always need replacing or upgrading. Plus, all systems require maintenance from time to time. All of this work enables HVAC technicians to stay busy throughout the year and see a steady flow of cash.

Opportunity to develop specialized skills

Once you’ve mastered the basics of HVAC systems, you have the option of gaining additional certification. Get certified in installing commercial systems or stay focused on residential systems. Once you’ve gained some experience working in the field, a few more specialty certifications open up to you. Obtaining one of these certifications demonstrates your expertise in dealing with more complex equipment and gives you a unique skill set that can increase your job prospects and earn you a higher salary.

Start your own business

Once you’re trained in how to properly install and maintain HVAC systems, you have the option to start your own business and set your own hours. This is a feasible opportunity most vocational careers don’t offer and it’s something that’s definitely worth considering if entrepreneurship appeals to you. If starting your own business sounds too daunting, though, there’s always the option to work for a contractor instead. You won’t have the same flexibility as someone who owns their own HVAC business, but you also don’t have to worry about the responsibilities that come with being self-employed.

The Bad

Many competitive necessary

Once you’ve completed your schooling as an HVAC technician, you must take a basic certification exam before working in the field. If you plan on working with refrigerants as well, you’ll need a separate certification for that. Certain types of HVAC equipment also require their own certification. On top of all that, some states require a license. While these certifications benefit someone who’s eager to specialize and boost their earning potential, a different career might be a better fit if you don’t have the time nor desire to fulfill all these requirements.

High risk of injury

HVAC technicians work around electrical systems and dangerous chemicals, such as refrigerants, so injuries are fairly common. Daily tasks in this field also include lifting heavy equipment, which can also cause injury if not executed properly. This is something to be aware of when entering this field, but as long as you follow the established safety procedures it shouldn’t be a major concern.

Considerable on-the-job training

If you elect to learn about HVAC systems through an apprenticeship rather than a vocational school, you’re looking at up to five years of training. This is a lot more education than most vocational careers require, but there are some advantages to it, too. You get to work with a trained HVAC technician on real jobs and practice the hands-on skills you need to succeed in the profession. Of course, for some, five years might be too long a time to devote to training. If this is a problem for you, consider going to a vocational school and earning an associate’s degree in HVAC installation and maintenance instead.

The Details


  • Career Growth (2012-2022): 21%
  • Median Pay: $43,640
  • Number of Jobs: 267,600
  • Number of New Jobs (2012-2022): 55,900

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