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 2017), the number of HVAC positions is expected to grow 15 percent across the country between 2016 and 2026. That’s much faster growth than the national average for all occupations (seven percent). The demand for technicians in Rhode Island is only slightly slower, but still stronger than the national average. Projections Central (2017) predicted a 10 percent statewide increase in RI-based HVAC openings for the decade ending in 2026.
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 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 307,060 jobs nationwide in 2016, according to the BLS. Contractors were the largest employers of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers, and nine 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 in 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 (Dec. 2018), for example, included 187 listings for experienced HVAC and HVAC/R mechanics in Rhode Island, including listings for jobs at organizations such as GKT Refrigeration, Inc., Brown Point Facility Management Solutions, the US Navy, and Johnson & Wales University.
Monster (Dec. 2018) also had 133 listings for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians in RI, including positions at Emcor, Johnson Controls, and the US Army.
In sum, the demand for HVAC workers is thriving in the Ocean State.