HVAC Technician Outlook 
CareerExplorer rates HVAC technicians with a B+ employability rating, meaning this career should provide good employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had projected a growth rate of 14.7% for the HVAC technician job market over the 2018 to 2028 period, more than double the 6.85% national job growth rate over this period. We have provided below a detailed overview of the factors that make it beneficial to become an HVAC technician in the US.
HVAC Technicians Demand Outlook
- According to Q1'20 data from JobsEQ, a labor market data provider developed by economists and data scientists, job opportunities are currently growing at an above-average rate for HVAC technicians in the United States. In 2020, 380,390 Americans were employed as HVAC technicians, and that figure is expected to rise to 403,021 by 2025.
- As per projections by experts, approximately 45,646 job openings annually are expected for HVAC technicians in the US, making this an appealing option as a career path over the next five years.
- CareerExplorer rates "HVAC technicians with a B+ employability rating, meaning this career should provide good employment opportunities for the foreseeable future." It estimates that over the next 10 years, the US will need 55,500 HVAC technicians. This number is based on the requirement for 48,800 additional HVAC technicians and the retirement of 6,700 existing HVAC technicians.
- The HVAC industry in the US is currently experiencing a worker shortage, and in some places such as Las Vegas, the demand for skilled HVAC technicians outpaces the number of qualified applicants. This is corroborated by the fact that one company in Las Vegas, for example, has increased its hiring of technicians by more than 20% since the beginning of 2020 and was at maximum capacity for six weeks.
- As per statistics by DataUSA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) had projected a growth rate of 14.7% for the HVAC technician job market over the 2018 to 2028 period, more than double the 6.85% national job growth rate over this period. While, as per the latest estimates, employment for HVAC technicians is projected to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029, it is about as fast as the average for all occupations. These estimates were last modified as of April 9, 2021, and hence probably have been marked down due to the impact of the current pandemic on the overall economy.
- According to LinkedIn, the skills shortage in the US HVAC industry has been growing for some time. The disparity between those leaving and joining the industry is having an impact on the talent available to fill mid/senior-level roles. This is leading to pent-up demand for skilled HVAC technicians in the US. The article had estimated that by the end of 2020, nearly 25% of the workforce would be of retirement age, and the number of jobs created in the industry will grow by 15%.
- According to BLS observations, HVAC technicians who have undertaken and finished an educational training program had better job prospects than those of their peers who did not complete such a program. Hence, while the overall demand for HVAC technicians is on the rise, that for skilled ones is especially higher.
HVAC Services Industry Growth
- According to a report by ResearchandMarkets, the U.S. HVAC services market is predicted to grow from $25.6 billion in 2019 to $35.8 billion in 2030, thereby progressing at a CAGR of 3.1% during the forecast period (2020-2030).
- The report highlights that the demand for HVAC maintenance and repair, upgradation and replacement, installation, and consulting services is quite high in the US. The demand for "consulting services for HVAC systems, including thorough inspection by technicians, is expected to register quick growth in demand during the coming years." This is likely to boost the HVAC technicians' job market.
- Another prominent factor that is currently fueling the growth of the US HVAC services market is the growing adoption of smart HVAC systems. This new trend has, in turn, massively pushed the demand for associated maintenance and repair services, thereby brightening the job prospects for HVAC technicians.
- As per Statista, the replacement of HVAC equipment in aging buildings and growth in the US residential and non-residential construction are likely to underpin the demand for HVAC equipment and the related maintenance and repair services in the US. This will, in turn, provide momentum to the HVAC technician job market.
Factors That Make HVAC Technician a Good Career Option
- As per BLS, 90% of HVAC technicians are self-employed. Becoming an HVAC technician can open doors to many other career opportunities, including HVAC Controls Technician and Chief Mechanical Engineer.
- The work of an HVAC technician cannot be easily outsourced because much of it needs to be done on-site. This provides job security to HVAC technicians. Additionally, HVAC technicians work on-location to fix, maintain, or install the residential or commercial HVAC equipment. The complex nature of the machines involved in such installations makes it difficult for people to do the same on their own, thereby making it inevitable to hire HVAC technicians to accomplish the same. Hence, HVAC technicians are not easily replaceable.
- HVAC technicians tend to have minimal student debt. Most HVAC technicians go to trade schools, which "teach students specialized, career-specific skills that usually take less time, and hence are less costly. Moreover, graduates from trade schools join the labor force much faster than those who pursue degrees from traditional four-year institutions."
- According to an article by Coyne College, to complement the anticipated job growth in the field, HVAC technicians also receive higher salaries compared to those of workers in many other occupations across America. As per the latest available BLS data, the median salary of HVAC technicians as of May 2020 was $50,590. The highest 10 percent of earners in the HVAC field earned upwards of $80,820. As compared to this, the median salary of HVAC technicians as of May 2016 was $45,910, and the highest 10 percent of earners in the HVAC field earned upwards of $73,000.
- The current pandemic has further made HVAC technicians a good career option. As per experts, the airborne nature of the pandemic has created increased awareness among consumers about the need for improved air quality, and this demand for indoor air purification equipment for both homes and businesses is likely to continue even post the pandemic. As demand for air purification equipment increases, heating and cooling companies will see an increased opportunity for installation and servicing work surrounding these types of equipment, thereby driving the need for HVAC technicians.
Other Useful Information
- The US industries with the highest level of employment of HVAC technicians include Building Equipment Contractors, Merchant Wholesalers, Direct Selling Establishments, Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment, and Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools.
- The US states with the highest employment level of HVAC technicians include Florida, California, Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania.
- The top-paying US states for HVAC technician employment include Alaska, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Washington, and Massachusetts.
- The top-paying US industries for HVAC technician employment include Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing, Natural Gas Distribution, Telecommunications, Monetary Authorities-Central Bank, and Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution.
All the information found during the research was centered around HVAC technicians as a whole. The information specific to residential HVAC technicians was not separately available. Hence, we have broadened the scope of the research to include pertinent information about HVAC technicians as a whole. We have garnered the required data from the research reports, surveys, media articles, credible blogs, and regulatory websites. We scoured through the research reports from Deloitte, McKinsey, Business Insider, PR Newswire, etc., and media articles from Forbes, WSJ, Bloomberg, Reuters, Live Mint, and Businesswire, among others. We also searched through HVAC technician employment surveys from Nielsen, Statista, Deloitte, and Pew Research, among others. Next, we visited various regulatory sources like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, DataUSA, US Census Bureau, etc., and several employment platforms and HVAC blogs, such as Indeed, Career Explorer, LinkedIn, and Destination Scanner, among others. After an exhaustive search through the above-mentioned sources, we were unable to find any information specific to residential HVAC technicians. All the data presented was at an aggregated level for residential and commercial HVAC technicians. Hence, we have adjusted the research scope accordingly.