Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Chicago
According to CareerOneStop, an employment site that sources its data from the U.S. Department of Labor, those working in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration in Illinois could see job demand increase 16% in the state from 2014 to 2024.
Graduates of HVAC schools in Chicago could also look for jobs across the nation as opportunities are expected to grow by 14% nationwide over the same time span, which is twice as fast as the expected growth rate for jobs overall. As of 2014, in Illinois around 7,700 people are employed in the HVAC field.
The Chicago metropolitan area accounts for a very high percentage of all the HVAC employment in the state. BLS tracks employment data in two different metropolitan areas that encompass Chicago: Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Illinois Metropolitan Division and Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin. It is important to note when assessing this data, that there will be some overlap.
According to BLS, the majority of HVAC technicians in Chicago can expect to earn a salary that falls somewhere between the 10th and 90th percentile salaries listed here:
- 10th percentile: $29,340 – $30,040
- 50th percentile:$53,120 – $53,620
- 90th percentile: $77,010 – $77,840
The data referenced above encompasses Chicago HVAC technicians in a range of different specialities. When you drill down into the specialty areas available to technicians, different demand and salary numbers can emerge.
For instance, commercial refrigeration technicians in Chicago may have somewhat different salary expectations. According to Indeed.com, the median salary for commercial refrigeration technicians in Chicago is $54,000, which is 20% higher than average commercial refrigeration technician salaries nationwide. This higher salary may reflect the higher experience requirements for commercial level refrigeration work. Similarly, solar technicians in Chicago may expect to earn an average of $57,000, which is also about 20% more than solar technicians in other cities. Both of these specialities are generally only available to HVAC technicians who already have some baseline experience under their belts, which accounts for higher salary possibilities.
After graduation, alumni can look to The Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago for help with continuing education, government affairs and marketing needs. Various reports, articles and webcasts can also be found online and the association touts its mission as helping “members meet the challenging demands of doing business every day.” Other organizations to join may include SMACNA Greater Chicago (Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association) and the Illinois Chapter of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers).