HVAC technicians can work for companies that specialize in residential projects, commercial projects, or both. HVAC systems are used almost everywhere, so any location is an option for an HVAC technician to work in.
HVAC companies range from small companies with a few employees to huge companies with thousands of employees. You have the option to choose which environment is best for you, and if you don’t like the one you choose first, there is always the option to switch to a different type of company.
Most HVAC technicians work normal business hours but may have to be on call and work odd hours to satisfy a customer’s needs. Additionally, HVAC technicians may be required to work long hours, especially during the summer which is typically the busiest season.
Being an HVAC technician can be hard, physically demanding work. This can also be stressful for people who are not accustomed to this type of work but is one of the best parts for others who like working with their hands and moving throughout the day. This is important to consider when deciding whether becoming an HVAC technician is right for you.
HVAC technicians install, maintain, and troubleshoot HVAC systems in a variety of situations. Some projects involve installing systems for new construction, others involve modifying existing systems for a renovation, and some require the technician to troubleshoot a malfunctioning system.
Listed below are some of the main responsibilities of an HVAC Technician.
- Read blueprints and HVAC equipment specifications
- Assemble and install HVAC/R units in residential or commercial buildings
- Cut and drill holes in building structures
- Install solar panels, thermostats, humidistats, and timers
- Connect HVAC systems to electrical, water, and fuel sources
- Ensure that the HVAC units are working perfectly
- Test HVAC components and systems according to the manufacturer’s specifications
- Test piping or tubing joints for leakages
- Troubleshoot common HVAC system problems
- Clean and replace air filters and other malfunctioning parts
- Inspect, unclog, and clean ducts
- Sell service contracts or AMCs for HVAC equipment maintenance or servicing
- Work with architects, engineers, and contractors to coordinate specific project details
>> Read More: What Does an HVAC Technician Do?
Pros & Cons of Being an HVAC Technician
There are many benefits to becoming an HVAC technician, including, but not limited to, work-life balance, learning useful and practical skills, the ability to work with your hands, job security, and the ability to earn a decent living over the course of your career.
But, while there are many pros of being an HVAC technician, there are also some downsides. These include physically demanding work, long hours during the summer, the time it takes to learn HVAC, safety hazards, upfront cost for some certifications, and working alone often.
Pros of HVAC Technician Work Environment
Below you can see some of the major pros of working in the HVAC industry:
1) Good Pay & Job Outlook
One of the main benefits of working in HVAC is the pay and job outlook. HVAC technicians earn $24.24 per hour, on average, which equals about $50,420 per year. Of course, this number increases with experience.
The job outlook for HVAC technicians is very positive, with projections that careers will grow at 5% from 2020 to 2030. This increase in demand for HVAC technicians will also likely come with an increase in salary.
2) Work in Almost Any Location
A great benefit of working in the HVAC industry is that there are jobs not only all over the country but all over the world. Most people in the present day want their house and workplace to have conditioned air, creating HVAC jobs in almost any location that has houses and buildings.
3) Work for All Kinds of Companies
HVAC companies range from small mom-and-pop shops with one or two employees to large corporations with thousands of employees. You also can work for a company that works primarily in residential HVAC, commercial HVAC, or a mix. This diversity gives you the ability to choose exactly what type of work environment you would like to work in, and if you do not like it, the ability to switch to another.
4) Hands-On & Constantly Changing Job
HVAC technician work is mostly hands-on and is constantly changing every day. Each project is different, requiring HVAC technicians to constantly think about and find new ways to do things. This keeps the job interesting and allows you to learn more and more with each new project.
5) No College Necessary
A great benefit of pursuing an HVAC career is that attending college isn’t necessary. This allows you to get a head start in life, as you can start earning money right away and will not have to take on a ton of student debt like many people who go to college do.
6) Get Paid While You Learn
Another great benefit of an HVAC career is the ability to get paid while you learn. Many HVAC companies hire apprentices and teach them the trade while training them. This means instead of paying money to learn in college, HVAC technicians have the ability to actually get paid to learn.
7) Positive Impact on the Environment
A big part of the nation’s push towards cleaner and more efficient infrastructure is more efficient HVAC systems. This requires old and outdated HVAC systems to be replaced with newer and more efficient systems, creating a huge demand for HVAC technicians around the country and around the world. This effort not only helps people living today but will help future generations to come.
8) Relatively Easy to Start Your Own Company
Starting your own HVAC company is a relatively easy thing to do. All you need is enough experience to accomplish jobs without someone telling you what to do. After you have this experience, you just need to comply with the requirements of the location where you would like to start your company and, boom, you’re in business.
9) Ability to Help Others
HVAC is a service industry, and this means that the main goal of working in HVAC is to help others. Every job that you complete allows the person or people you did the work for to live and or work in cleaner and more comfortable air. At the end of every day, you can go home knowing that you helped someone.
10) Typically Receive Full Benefits
Another great reason to work in the HVAC industry is that HVAC companies typically give their employees full benefits including medical insurance, vision insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, and the option to participate in a 401k plan. This not only helps you, but it also helps your family with any expected or unexpected expenses.
Cons of HVAC Technician Work Environment
Despite the many benefits of working in an HVAC career, there are some drawbacks you should consider to decide if it’s the right career path for you:
1) Physically Demanding
Being an HVAC technician is a very physically demanding job. Not only do you perform hands-on work most of the time, but a lot of the work is done on rooftops and in attic spaces where the air is not conditioned.
While some people may find this type of job appealing, others would prefer to work at a desk in a conditioned office.
2) Long Hours During Busy Season
The busy season for HVAC technicians is normally the summer, requiring long days of hands-on work during the hottest time of the year. Depending on where you live, your longest days may be in the sweltering heat of summer.
3) May Be On-Call
Working in the HVAC industry may mean being on call. Most people have home HVAC systems, meaning that if someone has issues with their system outside of normal work hours, you may need to be able to go over and fix it at a moment’s notice. This may pull you away from your family or friends at an inconvenient time, but as mentioned above, at least you know that it is to help someone else.
4) Takes Time to Learn HVAC
Although many HVAC companies pay employees while they learn, the pay is typically lower than that of a fully trained employee. Being that it is so extensive, HVAC training is not quick, and this may mean working for a lower than the desired salary for an extended period of time.
Unfortunately, most companies cannot afford to pay a full HVAC technician salary while they are spending time and resources to train you. Learn more about HVAC technician education and training requirements here.
5) Some Safety Hazards
Another con to working as an HVAC technician is the safety hazards that come with the job. These hazards include but are not limited to working with high voltage equipment, working with hazardous refrigerants, and working at heights.
While working as an HVAC technician inherently comes with some hazards, if you follow your training and work smart, it is unlikely that you will be injured on the job.
6) May Have to Pay for Certifications Out of Pocket
Getting additional HVAC certifications is a great way to move up in the industry. Unfortunately, many companies will require you to pay for these certifications out of pocket. While this may hurt your wallet in the short term, additional certifications may allow you to earn more in the future, offsetting the costs.
7) Often Work Alone for Most of the Day
Another con of working as an HVAC technician is that you may be required to work alone. A lot of HVAC technician tasks are one-man jobs, requiring the technician to work in isolation much more than other types of jobs. While some people may enjoy long periods of isolation, others may find it boring and lonely.