Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Rhode Island
The demand for HVAC technicians nationwide continues to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2020), the number of HVAC positions is expected to grow 4 percent across the country between 2019 and 2029. That’s as fast as the national average for all occupations (four percent). The demand for technicians in Rhode Island is only slightly slower, but still stronger than the national average. Projections Central (2021) predicted a 10.7 percent statewide increase in RI-based HVAC openings for the decade ending in 2028.
Commercial and residential construction is expected to drive employment growth, especially in the boom that Rhode Island is currently experiencing. The growing number of sophisticated climate-control systems is also expected to increase the demand for qualified HVAC and HVAC-R technicians. Many of the older systems will need to be replaced, retrofitted, or upgraded. Technicians who understand computers and electronics, and those with good troubleshooting skills, are expected to enjoy the best job prospects.
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics, and installers held 344,020 jobs nationwide in 2020, according to the BLS. Contractors were the largest employers of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers, and seven percent of technicians were self-employed. The remaining technicians worked for schools and retail or wholesale companies.
It’s important to note that Rhode Island technicians may have to work on outdoor equipment in adverse weather conditions. Working inside isn’t a guarantee of comfort, as buildings may be excessively hot or cold when climate control systems malfunction. Technicians may also be required to work in awkward positions or cramped spaces. Technicians usually work full time, with overtime hours during peak seasons. HVAC and HVAC-R technicians have a higher-than-average rate of injuries and illnesses. They may suffer electrical shock, burns, or muscle strains, and injuries from handling heavy equipment. They also are exposed to toxic chemicals. Safety procedures are an integral part of all training.
To illustrate the thriving demand for HVAC workers in the state, one need not look further than online job boards. Indeed (April 2021), for example, included 59 listings for experienced HVAC and HVAC/R mechanics in Rhode Island, including listings for jobs at organizations such as Brown University, Johnson Controls, Lifespan, and General Growth Properties.
Monster (April 2021) also had 134 listings for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians in RI, including positions at Emcor, Brookfield Properties, and Randstad.
In sum, the demand for HVAC workers is thriving in the Ocean State.