HVAC, a Career on the Rise
As stated above, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2020) is anticipating a 4 percent increase in openings for HVAC technicians (i.e., mechanics and installers) between 2019 and 2029. The wealth of opportunities for HVAC professionals has emerged for several reasons. Not only do most HVAC units have a lifespan of roughly ten years—requiring continual upkeep and maintenance—but also many businesses and homeowners stand to save money by making systems more efficient or “greener.”
HVAC is also a relatively lucrative field, paying a median annual wage of $48,730, with a median hourly wage of $23.43, higher than the median hourly wage for all occupations, which is $19.14 (BLS 2019). Not surprisingly, HVAC professionals’ average salary fluctuates by region, industry, level of experience, and source of data.
For instance, the BLS (May 2019) found that the top-paying states for HVAC professionals were:
District of Columbia, $34.59 per hour on average
Alaska, $32.86 per hour
Connecticut, $31.20 per hour
Massachusetts, $30.42 per hour
Hawaii, $29.56 per hour
The top-employing states in HVAC looks quite different (BLS 2019):
Florida (31,710 HVAC jobs)
California (29,650 jobs)
Texas (26,690 jobs)
New York (18,810 jobs)
Pennsylvania (15,630 jobs)
It’s crucial to note that the cost of living (i.e., the purchasing power of these salaries) varies significantly by region. As proof of point, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) notes that the most expensive states in the country were concentrated in the west and northeast: Hawaii, District of Columbia, California, Oregon, and New York. The least expensive areas—mainly hailing from the midwest and south—were Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri.
Additionally, four of the 10 top-paying municipalities for HVAC services were located in California, two were in Alaska, and the rest were scattered throughout the western and northeastern United States (BLS 2019).
Overall, the BLS (2019) reported the following salary ranges for HVAC professionals across the country:
10th percentile: $30,610
25th percentile: $37,660
50th percentile (median): $48,730
75th percentile: $62,070
90th percentile: $77,920
For more information on employment trends in the HVAC industry, check out the HVAC careers page.