Top Cities for HVAC Installers in 2022

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Heating, venting, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC and HVAC/R) technicians and installers are in high demand. Climate control is requisite for businesses, industries, institutions, and homeowners. It’s needed for comfort, preservation of food, and medical and research facilities.

Just like other industries, the HVAC industry as a whole also experienced some shortages and delays due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it was extremely clear that HVAC/R technicians were still required and perhaps in higher demand at some places such as Las Vegas, which has temperatures reaching well over 100. Trained HVAC technicians are required in places like these for meeting the growing demand for HVAC services.

The continued increase in the need for individuals with installation, maintenance, and repair skills is confirmed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021). Their data indicates that openings for HVAC professionals will grow 5 percent nationwide between 2020 and 2030—which is just slightly slower than the anticipated average growth for all occupations (8 percent).

Air Conditioning Refrigeration News attributed most of the industry growth to technology. Many HVAC/R systems have become part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Although the HVAC industry suffered a setback in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Air Conditioning Refrigeration News was optimistic about the future of this industry for 2021. ACHR News also shows how this industry has adapted to changing environment just a year after the pandemic.

HVAC and HVAC/R installation require skilled technicians. The equipment has become increasingly sophisticated, and the system is an integral part of the IoT in many structures. More and more of the components are automated, but the installation still requires a skilled professional and every system is unique.

Using rates of new construction and other factors, this guide explores the top cities for HVAC installers in the U.S. in 2022.

Which States Have the Highest Construction Rates?

According to Research and Markets (September 2020), nearly 61 percent of the construction market is located in ten states. The following five states report the most construction work:

  • California: Not only has California suffered devastating wildfires, flooding, and mudslides that have made rebuilding a priority, but also the state has “a large number of megaprojects in transportation infrastructure and energy and utility projects.”
  • Texas: Texas continues to rebuild from hurricanes. It is also “the leader in energy and utility projects” as well as development and infrastructure projects.
  • New York: Several major infrastructure projects are underway in New York, along with an anticipated increase in residential projects. “The MTA, the Port Authority, and city government have all increased the funding they’re dedicating to infrastructure projects.” According to the New York Building Congress’ Construction Outlook 2020-2022 report, total construction spending between 2020 and 2022 was expected to reach $168.5 billion.
  • Florida: Florida is another state hard-hit by hurricanes, necessitating extensive rebuilding projects. The state also has mixed-use developments underway, as well as increased funding for education and healthcare facilities.
  • Illinois: Ranking fifth on the list is Illinois according to Research and Markets. That rise in development is because companies are relocating to the Chicago area and bringing demand for new office and residential spaces with them.

The remaining five of the top ten states for construction are Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Which States Employ the Most HVAC Workers?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2021) found that the following states currently have the highest number of HVAC and HVAC/R workers employed:

State HVAC Workers Employed
California 32,640
Texas 31,060
Florida 30,480
New York 22,240
Pennsylvania 18,110
North Carolina 15,150
Virginia 11,960
Ohio 11,580
Georgia 10,450
Michigan 9,480

According to Projections Central (2022), the following fifteen states are expected to have the highest projected percentage increase in positions for HVAC mechanics and installers between 2018 and 2028:

State Anticipated Percentage Increase in HVAC Positions (2018-28)
Utah 31.1
Nevada 30.1
Colorado 29.7
Guam 26.3
Arizona 21.4
Iowa 18.5
Oregon 18.5
Montana 18.5
Arkansas 16.3
Florida 16.2
South Carolina 16
Texas 15.9
Idaho 15.7
Washington 15.6
North Carolina 15.5

The ranking is slightly different when projected changes are expressed as the absolute number of jobs added rather than as a percentage. The states with the highest expected number of new openings for HVAC mechanics and installers include:

State New HVAC Positions Anticipated (2018-28)
Florida 5,420 jobs
Texas 4,530 jobs
California 4,100 jobs
North Carolina 2,510 jobs
New York 2,290 jobs
Colorado 2,000 jobs
Ohio 1,550 jobs
Pennsylvania 1,510 jobs
Virginia 1,500 jobs
Tennessee 1,360 jobs

The demand varies among states due to their economy, their weather, and their industrial and business bases. The rate of new construction also affects the demand for installers.

Which Cities Employ the Most HVAC Workers?

The BLS (May 2021) found that the following metropolitan divisions currently employ the highest number of HVAC mechanics and installers:

Metropolitan area Employment
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 20,730
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 9,710
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 8,910
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 8,450
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 8,300
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 7,580
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 7,500
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 6,770
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 6,050
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 6,040

The data shows that the cities with the highest rate of employment are not always in the states of high employment. The New York-Newark-Jersey City area, for example, is first on the list; however, neither New York nor New Jersey overall is the highest-employment state for HVAC, although each ranks higher than some other states.

The BLS (May 2021) found that the following metropolitan divisions have the highest rate of pay for HVAC professionals:

Metropolitan area Average Annual Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $78,020
Fairbanks, AK $76,750
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $71,710
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $70,850
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI $70,320
Urban Honolulu, HI $70,200
New Bedford, MA $68,300
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA $68,050
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $67,830
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH $66,620

There is little correlation in these areas between employment and pay. At first glance, there appears to be some correlation in California, as it has three metropolitan divisions ranked as high-paying. Those areas, however, are in the northern part of the state, while the metropolitan area with the highest employment is in the southern part of the state.

In October 2020, WalletHub released its list of ‘2020’s Fastest-Growing Cities in America.’ Although their data doesn’t specifically address construction activity, growth requires new homes and workplaces, thus adding to the demand for HVAC installers and mechanics. The top ten are:

  1. Fort Myers, FL
  2. Bend, OR
  3. Meridian, ID
  4. Milpitas, CA
  5. Enterprise, NV
  6. Frisco, TX
  7. Town ‘n’ Country, FL
  8. Round Rock, TX
  9. Mount Pleasant, SC
  10. Nampa, ID

According to Quicken Loans (November 2021), the fastest-growing cities based on their overall population and what makes them attractive are as follows:

City Percentage Population Growth in 2018 Median Household Income
Buckeye City, Arizona 5 percent $61,469
New Braunfels, Texas 2 percent $65,932
Apex, North Carolina 8 percent $89,392
Frisco, Texas 6.1 percent $112,155
Meridian, Idaho 6.1 percent $63,225
McKinney, Texas 5.4 percent $87,608
Georgetown, Texas 5.2 percent $67,753
Rowlett, Texas 5.1 percent $83,442
St. Cloud, Florida 5 percent $48,911
Ankeny, Iowa 4.6 percent $79,536

There is little correlation between the two sets of statistics, as they cover different growth factors. What is worth noting is that the greatest increase in population growth is not in the cities that appear to be experiencing the most economic growth. Population growth and expanding economies both point to the need for HVAC technicians, although the systems they will be installing and servicing may require differing specialties.

Commercial Property Executive (CPE), a commercial real estate resource, compiles statistics from various industry reports. Their latest data (February 2018) shows the following cities as having the highest rates of construction:

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Chicago: IL
  5. Portland, OR
  6. Washington, DC
  7. New York City, NY
  8. Honolulu, HI
  9. Boston, MA
  10. Phoenix, AZ

Mixed-use buildings lead the way in new construction, followed by structures for residential, educational, commercial, healthcare, and hospitality use. Their criteria for determining the number of new buildings is the number of cranes at work. The data, therefore, only reflects construction in progress.

Additionally, Dodge Data & Analytics (2021) quoted that “the early months of the pandemic led to construction moratoriums and project delays in many of the country’s largest cities, resulting in very low levels of activity in April and May 2020. Additional insight on the health of these markets can be ascertained by comparing the first six months of 2021 to the same period in 2019—before the pandemic.”

Based on this, Dodge Data & Analytics shows the top ten metro areas for ‘commercial and multifamily construction starts’ during the first half of 2021:

  1. New York City, NY
  2. Dallas, TX
  3. Washington, DC
  4. Boston, MA
  5. Miami, FL
  6. Los Angeles, CA
  7. Philadelphia, PA
  8. Seattle, WA
  9. Atlanta, GA
  10. Austin, TX

Only five cities are on both lists, due to the varying criteria used and dates on which the data was collected.

What Are the Best Cities for HVAC Workers?

So, which cities are the best choice for someone seeking work as an HVAC/R mechanic or installer? The answer depends on whether a worker is looking for the highest pay or the best job opportunity.

As noted above, the states with the highest expected number of new openings for HVAC mechanics and installers (Projections Central 2022) are:

  • Florida
  • Texas
  • California
  • North Carolina
  • New York

As noted earlier, the best cities for HVAC workers are not necessarily located in the top-employing or top-paying states. Taking the above data and weather patterns into consideration, the top ten metropolitan areas for HVAC professionals in 2022 are:

  1. DallasFort Worth – The two cities and areas around them have a high rate of HVAC and HVAC/R technicians and installers employed and have a high rate of new construction in a fast-growing area. Texas is also a state with a high rate of job opportunities.
  2. Los Angeles – The city and surrounding areas have a high rate of HVAC and HVAC/R technicians and installers employed and had a high rate of new construction, particularly in commercial and retail structures. It is also located in a state that ranks highly for new job opportunities. More northern cities, such as San Rafael, San Jose, and Santa Rosa, have fewer opportunities, but higher pay rates. Those areas (San Jose in particular) are experiencing high growth due to technology.
  3. Seattle – The city is the center of a fast-growing area and has the newest construction of all the cities. The metropolitan area is also noted for high pay. Washington state overall has a high demand for new workers.
  4. Chicago – The city and nearby areas have a high rate of HVAC and HVAC/R technicians and installers employed and a high rate of new construction. The remainder of Illinois is low on the list of job opportunities; however, the Springfield and Peoria areas offer a high rate of pay.
  5. New York Metropolitan Division – The city and surrounding areas have a high rate of HVAC and HVAC/R technicians and installers employed and had a high rate of new construction. Additionally, it’s in a state that ranks high in the expected number of new openings for HVAC mechanics and installers.
  6. Washington, D.C. – The area has a high rate of HVAC and HVAC/R technicians and installers employed and has a high rate of new construction.
  7. Miami-Fort Lauderdale Metropolitan Division – The area has a high rate of HVAC and HVAC/R technicians and installers employed and has a high rate of new construction.
  8. Boston Metropolitan Division – The area is growing at a rapid rate with a high rate of construction and has a high rate of HVAC and HVAC/R technicians and installers employed.
  9. Phoenix Metropolitan Division – The area has a high rate of HVAC and HVAC/R technicians and installers employed and has a high rate of new construction. It is also located in a state that ranks highly for new job opportunities as it will need 21.4 percent more HVAC workers between 2018 and 2028.
  10. Houston – The city has a high growth rate with a corresponding growth in new construction. Texas is also one of the states with the highest expected number of new openings for HVAC mechanics and installers.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.

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