If you’re interested in working in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry, you’re probably curious about what to expect in HVAC salary. Per the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual wage for HVAC technicians was $43,640 in May 2012.
Compared against the national average, this means that not only are HVAC professionals among the best-paid skilled tradesmen in the workforce, but they’re also paid almost 30% better than the average for all occupations! Even better, the heating, air conditioning and refrigeration industry is one of the fastest growing in the country.
HVAC Salary Guide for 2014-15
If you’re like most people, you likely found this guide because you were asking the question, “How much do HVAC technicians make?”
The answer to that question depends on several different variables; the amount of experience you have, your employer, your area of specialization, etc. There are additional factors to consider as well, however.
This guide to HVAC salary will take a look at how much you can expect to earn in 2014-15, and how you can make sure that you maximize your salary.
What Affects HVAC Technician Pay?
In most cases, there are three things that have a major impact on how much and HVAC technician is paid. In the tabs below, you’ll find a brief summary of each of them.
How Much Experience Do You Have?
Obviously, one of the first things that will influence your pay is the amount of experience you have in the industry. As you may guess, more experience almost always equates to a higher salary and more job opportunities.
In the following table, you’ll see how much of an impact the years of experience one has in the HVAC field has on their pay.
|2013 HVAC Salary|
|Years Experience||Median Annual Salary|
|Less than 1 year||$45,436|
|7 years or more||$50,118|
It’s important to note, that once an HVAC technician has worked for seven years, his or her pay generally tends to plateau. This means that, in order to continue to earn more in this profession after you’ve paid your initial dues, you’ll need to have other factors going for you as well.
What Industry Do You Work In?
The industry that an HVAC tech is employed in has a major impact on salary too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2012 report, the majority of technicians are employed by building contractors. The following table reflects the five highest-paying industries for HVAC technicians.
|2013 HVAC Salary by Industry|
|Type of Employer||Median Annual Salary|
|HVAC equipment wholesalers||$48,950|
Note that utilities companies pay the highest salaries on average.
Which State Do You Live In?
Just like most jobs, HVAC salary is often affected more by where you live and work in the United States than any other single factor. For example, a technician with similar experience and training in the same industry may see his salary vary by as much as $19,000 from the national median just because of the state he or she works in!
A general rule of thumb is, if you are on the coasts (particularly the West Coast and Northeast seaboard), or the Upper Midwest, you’ll probably get paid more than the national median. Of course, the cost of living is significantly higher in these areas as well, so it’s relative to a point.
On the other hand, HVAC technician salary in the Southeast is consistently lower than the national median. Again, cost of living in this area is lower as well, so you’ll have to take that into consideration.
The table below reflects the five states that pay their heating, ventilation and air conditioning professionals the highest annual salaries.
|Highest-Paying States for HVAC Technicians|
|State||2013 Median Annual Salary|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Maximizing Your Salary as an HVAC Technician
Now that you have a basic understanding of the factors that go into determining HVAC salary, you’ll undoubtedly want to figure out how to maximize your earning potential. Because experience will only come with time, and moving across country may not be the best of options, this really only leaves one area to focus on – the industry you work in.
As you saw from the tables in the industry section of this guide, your salary can be substantially higher if you work for specific types of employers. Competition for these jobs is often fierce, however, so you’ll need to make sure that you undergo the required training and earn the specific HVAC certification required to give yourself the best chances of finding work.