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The heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) field can be rewarding. You make homes, businesses, and other buildings safe and comfortable. 

HVAC services are also essential. This means there will always be demand, whatever the world throws your way. 

These benefits are compelling. But at the end of the day, you’ve got bills to pay. That’s why you need to know an HVAC technician’s salary. Only then can you decide if this career path is right for you? 

We have you covered. This article explains everything you need to know about the average HVAC technician’s salary and how to increase it. 

We’ll talk about the impact of training and certificates. We’ll walk through different specializations and career paths. 

We’ll also examine the HVAC industry’s big picture. Is it growing? Is there an opportunity to make a name for yourself? 

Finally, we’ll share some quick and easy tips to help you decide your future. Let’s jump right into the details. 

The Average Salary for HVAC Technicians 

First things first, let’s talk averages. These figures will give you a rough idea of what you can earn. 

What is the average HVAC technician salary in the United States? It’s about $57,018 per year

Another way to look at it is the hourly pay. Across the board, HVAC workers earn about $28.45 per hour. 

The average salary is your middle-of-the-road earning potential. You can earn more or less depending on your skills, experience, and where you live. 

For example, when you start as an HVAC technician, you might take home less than the average. A beginner’s salary is around $34,775 a year. 

Your salary will likely increase as you gain experience and learn more skills. 

You should also keep the potential of overtime pay in mind. On top of the average salary, HVAC technicians make $6,750 in overtime per year. 

This is a significant sum and can boost your earnings. Working during busy seasonal periods can pay off. 

The Impact of Training and Certificates on Salary 

Like any career, more education is always better in the HVAC field. 

When you invest in training and certification, you can charge a higher price for your services. This is great if you decide to run your own business. 

Extra training can help you stand out in the job market if you prefer working for a company. You might be able to land more specialized positions. These often come with higher salaries. 

Either way, continuing your professional development can help you increase your pay. 

The more you learn, the more you earn. It’s a saying that rings true. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: The Best HVAC Technician Training Programs in the U.S. 

So, what are some training options and certificates available to you? Here are a couple to bookmark for later on: 

EPA Section 608 Technician Certification 

The Section 608 Technician Certification is mandatory under federal law for any HVAC technician who works with refrigerants. The certification teaches you how to prevent harmful substances from leaching into the air. It’s all about protecting the environment. 

You become certified by undertaking an EPA-approved exam. If you pass, you’ll have access to more job opportunities. These might come with high pay. 

NATE Certification 

The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification is recognized globally. It shows you have advanced skills in HVAC repair and maintenance. 

Technicians with NATE certification often win more complex and higher-paying jobs. So, getting certified can increase your income potential. 

HVAC Excellence Certifications 

Since 1994, HVAC Excellence has improved quality standards across the industry. Today, they offer many different certifications: 

  • The Master Specialist Certifications are hands-on, practical certification exams for specific specializations. They show that someone knows the material and can use their knowledge in real-life tasks. 

Specialization Certificates 

You can undertake other niche training in addition to HVAC Excellence’s Master Specialist Certifications. For example, you might become an expert commercial HVAC technician or a refrigeration technician. 

With less competition, specializations can give you extra job security. They can also impact your income. 

For instance, commercial technicians earn between $56,843 and $71,827 a year. Refrigeration technicians make between $49,049 and $66,407

Specialization in the HVAC Industry 

Let’s dive a little deeper into the value and process of specialization. 

Specializing can give you a leg up in your career—here’s how: 

  • It decreases competition. There are fewer specialized technicians compared to generic HVAC technicians. 
  • It increases your earning potential. You become qualified for technical roles, which generally offer higher pay rates. 
  • It paves the way for business success. Have you ever heard the adage, “The riches are in the niches”? When clients need a specific project completed, they turn to an expert. As an expert in your specialized area, you become the go-to, the authority. 

What kinds of things can you specialize in? Here are some ideas to get you thinking: 

HVAC Installation 

An HVAC installation technician adds HVAC systems to new and renovated buildings. They make sure all systems meet design specifications and codes. 

You can specialize further within this area. For example, you might become an expert in more complex systems like heat pumps or commercial setups. Because of the technical know-how required, these can command higher salaries. 

HVAC Maintenance and Repair 

An HVAC maintenance and repair technician checks and repairs existing systems. They make sure everything is up to code and running smoothly. 

They troubleshoot problems and fix them. This can help clients avoid costly breakdowns and replacements. 

Experienced maintenance and repair technicians—particularly in the commercial space—may earn more. Clients may need you to be on call 24/7, so consider how this might affect your lifestyle. 

Commercial HVAC 

A commercial HVAC technician deals exclusively with commercial clients like schools, offices, and hospitals. 

They work with large-scale HVAC systems, which can be highly complicated. Their inner workings vary greatly depending on the building’s age and condition. 

Moreover, some settings—like healthcare practices—have special requirements. 

Because of the added layers of complexity, commercial HVAC technicians earn more than residential techs. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: Commercial HVAC Services vs. Residential HVAC Services 


Refrigeration technicians work on systems that provide excellent products or environments. This includes walk-in refrigerators and ice machines. They install, maintain, and repair these systems. 

Specializing in refrigeration can lead to higher earnings. This is because of the critical nature of these systems. Industries like food storage and retail rely on refrigeration to keep their products fresh and customers happy. 

HVAC Engineering 

HVAC engineers design HVAC systems for new and existing buildings. They use design software to create efficient solutions that meet their clients’ needs. 

Engineers earn higher salaries. The average HVAC engineer takes home around $75,862, with most salaries ranging from $70,214 to $82,169. 

HVAC Sales 

Do you love working with people? Do you have a knack for understanding customer needs? If so, you could thrive in an HVAC sales role. 

HVAC sales representatives sell HVAC products or services. One of the benefits is the opportunity to earn a commission on top of your salary. 

HVAC Business Owner 

Business owners do so much more than handle HVAC systems. They oversee every aspect of operations. This involves: 

  • Managing finances 
  • Shaping and executing business strategies 
  • Marketing 
  • Hiring staff 
  • Purchasing tools and equipment 
  • Taking care of customer service 

HVAC business owners don’t have a set salary. Instead, it really depends on their success. 

The earning potential is higher than other specializations, but this option may be riskier. You should weigh the pros and cons. 

National Outlook for HVAC Technicians 

You know what to expect when it comes to your earnings. You’ve even got a rough idea of what your career path might look like. 

But what about the industry’s future? Will you still have great job prospects in 5 or 10 years? 

Let’s explore the five key trends shaping the national HVAC industry. 

Growth and Stability 

The HVAC industry has grown slightly in the past few years. It has remained strong and resilient, reaching a revenue of $127.1 billion in 2024. 

This growth is due to steady consumer spending and disposable income, even with challenges like rising interest rates. 

Federal Aid 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry benefitted from federal assistance. This included the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) tax write-offs. 

These aids helped stabilize the industry. Demand for HVAC services remained high despite broader economic challenges. 

The positive effects of these supports are still being felt today. 

Essential Services 

HVAC maintenance and repair are indispensable services. 

Both residential and commercial sectors need working HVAC systems. They ensure a comfortable living and working environment. 

Because HVAC is a necessary expenditure, you can expect demand to remain strong. 


Starting an HVAC business has low initial costs. This encourages more people to enter the market. This results in a high concentration of smaller companies. 

Stiff competition among local service providers may affect profitability. However, it also means there are more job opportunities. This is particularly true in larger cities like New York and Philadelphia. 

Future Prospects 

Forecasts suggest lower interest rates and economic growth over the next 5 years will benefit the HVAC industry. 

This could lead to more investment and expansions within the sector. 

What Do These Trends Mean for You? 

In short, becoming an HVAC technician is a viable and promising career option. The industry is stable and growing, and there’s a steady demand for new technicians. 

Here’s what this means for your future: 

  • Job security: People and businesses always need HVAC maintenance, repair, and installation. This gives you a good level of job security. 
  • Growth opportunities: The industry is growing. Also, lowering interest rates could spur a rise in new development. This gives you ample opportunity for work, career advancement, and specialization. 
  • Entrepreneurial potential: The low barriers to entry and ongoing need for local services open paths to entrepreneurship. As a bonus, this comes with potentially higher earnings. 
  • Increasing demand in urban areas: Do you live in or near a big city? As urban areas expand and modernize their infrastructure, the demand for sophisticated HVAC systems rises. This leads to more job opportunities. 

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Get HVAC Certified 

Determining if HVAC Work Is Right for You 

Here are seven steps you can take today to see if becoming an HVAC tech fits your financial and lifestyle goals: 

  1. Research your local market. Look into the demand for HVAC services in your area. Are there many homes and businesses? Is the area growing? Are there other HVAC businesses competing? 
  1. Think about your interests. Do you enjoy fixing things and working with your hands? HVAC work requires physical labor and problem-solving. Make sure this matches what you like to do. 
  1. Evaluate your current skills. Consider the skills you already have that could help you in this field. Are you good at mechanical tasks or electrical work? Are you a natural people-person? These skills are beneficial for HVAC work. 
  1. Calculate startup costs. Consider the costs of training and certification. You might also need tools and a vehicle. Add up these costs to see if you can afford to start. 
  1. Plan your timeline. Figure out how long it will take to get trained and certified. Can you start working soon, or will it take a while? Make sure the timeline works for you. 
  1. Consider lifestyle goals. Think about the kind of life you want. HVAC techs often work irregular hours and sometimes on weekends. Are you okay with this kind of schedule? 
  1. Talk to HVAC technicians. Speak with people already working in the field in person or online. They can give you real insights into the day-to-day work and what it takes to succeed. 

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