There are many benefits to becoming an HVAC technician, including, but not limited to, work-life balance, learning useful and practical skills, job security, and the ability to earn a decent living over the course of your career.
So, what is the average HVAC technician salary?
Of course, there is a range of salaries that an HVAC technician can earn, and the actual number for any individual depends on a variety of factors including location and experience. Technicians with less than one year of experience tend to earn around $22.47 per hour, while technicians with over 10 years of experience earn an average of $32.83 per hour.
This guide will give an overview of HVAC technician salaries as well as a breakdown of salaries by city and state. We also discuss how experience affects an HVAC technicians’ pay and compare HVAC salaries to those of different careers.
HVAC technician salary overview
On average, an HVAC technician typically earns between $46,000 and $68,000 per year depending on experience.
In 2020, the lowest 10% of HVAC technicians earned around $31,000 per year, while the top 10% earned around $80,000 per year.
The job outlook for HVAC technicians is positive and is projected to grow 5% from 2020 to 2030. This number could increase even further with the country’s focus on creating greener and more efficient buildings.
- Median Annual Salary: $48,730 ($23.43 per hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $77,920 ($37.46 per hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $30,610 ($14.72 per hour)
HVAC technician annual salary (2010-2019)
HVAC technician salary by state
You can get a better idea of what your HVAC salary may be by looking at state-specific data.
Certain states—such as Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, and Connecticut—have higher average HVAC salaries while others—such as Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Kentucky—have lower average salaries.
Below you can see a breakdown of the average HVAC technician salary by state.
See specific state and city HVAC salary guides:
How experience affects HVAC salaries
Experience is the largest driver in determining how much an HVAC technician can make. For example, HVAC apprentice salaries are typically about half of those of technicians. The average salary earned by an HVAC technician based on experience can be seen below:
- Entry/Mid-Level (0-5 years of experience): The average entry/mid-level salary for an HVAC technician is around $22 per hour. This equals $45,760 per year.
- Senior (6-9 years of experience): The average salary for a senior HVAC technician is $27.65 per hour. This equals $57,512 per year.
- Manager (10+ years of experience): The average salary for an HVAC technician manager is $32.83 per year. This equals $68,286 per year.
Do HVAC technicians make good money?
HVAC technicians make a comparable wage to plumbers, who make $26.52 per hour on average, and electricians, who make $27.01 on average. However, HVAC technicians with 10+ years of experience average a higher salary ($32.83 per hour) than plumber salaries ($31.16 per hour) and electrician salaries ($29.62 per hour) with the same amount of experience.
In addition, HVAC technicians make significantly more than construction workers, who make $17.83 per hour on average.
How to improve your chances of getting a better HVAC salary
HVAC technicians can earn a wide range of salaries and, as with anything else, you get out what you out in.
Below are some ways to improve your chances of earning a higher salary as an HVAC technician:
Get more certifications
There are many certifications available for HVAC technicians, and with each one earned, your salary potential increases. Below are some examples of HVAC technician certifications:
EPA 608 Certification
The EPA 608 Certification is required by the EPA for HVAC technicians in every state.
NATE Certifications are not required, but demonstrate your knowledge of a given skill, both to clients and employers.
NATE Ready-to-Work Certificate
The NATE Ready-to-Work Certificate tests a technician’s ability to work as an entry-level employee.
HVAC Support Technician Certificate
The NATE HVAC Support Technician Certificate is for technicians during the first six months to one year in the industry.
NATE Core & Specialty Tests Certification
The main NATE Certification has two pathways: the Traditional Core & Specialty pathway and the CHP-5 pathway. These are for technicians with more than two years of experience. Additionally, this certification is required before any attempt at North American Technician Excellence (NATE) specialization certifications.
Installation Specialty Certifications
- Air Conditioning
- Air Distribution
- Air to Air Heat Pump
- Gas Heating (Air)
Service Specialty Certifications
- Air Conditioning
- Air Conditioning - Spanish
- Air Distribution
- Commercial Refrigeration
- Heat Pump (Air to Air)
- Heat Pump (Air to Air) - Spanish
- Gas Heating (Air)
- Gas Heating (Air) - Spanish
- Hydronics Gas
- Hydronics Oil
- Light Commercial Refrigeration
- Oil Heating (Air)
Senior Level Efficiency Analyst Certification
The NATE Senior Level Efficiency Analyst Certification is for HVAC technicians who have more than five years of experience and at least two NATE specialty certifications. Some examples of NATE certifications will be listed below.
HVAC Excellence offers progressive levels of certification that distinguish a technician’s knowledge and skill level as the advance in their career.
Stay on top of the industry & new technologies
As with most industries, the HVAC industry is constantly evolving. New technologies and practices are being introduced into the industry each year and keeping up to date on the new developments will increase your earning potential.
Improve your sales skills
As you gain more experience as a technician, you will meet and interact with new customers. Learning how to instill confidence and comfort in your customers can go a long way when it comes to earning more money.
Work on your management skills
As your career progresses, you will likely be given opportunities to manage less-experienced employees. It is important to take advantage of these opportunities so that you can demonstrate to your employer that you have what it takes to become a manager, and in turn, make more money. Focusing on management skills will also go a long way if you ever decide to start your own HVAC company.
Start your own company (once you have the experience)
Once you have gained enough experience as an HVAC technician, it may be a good idea to start your own company. If you feel that you excel when it comes to managing multiple employees, this may be a great option to explore. With your own company, your earning potential is limitless.