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The Pros & Cons of an HVAC Career (Salary, Lifestyle, Etc.)

HVAC Career Pros & Cons (Blog Cover)

Choosing a career in the HVAC industry presents various pros and cons. However, HVAC is an excellent career choice for contractors looking to earn a competitive salary and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

As the owner of HVAC Webmasters, a digital marketing agency for HVAC professionals, I’ve worked with thousands of contractors over the past decade-plus. My clients have spanned from brand-new companies to established franchises.

As a result, startup contractors come to me for advice about the pros and cons of an HVAC career.

Key Takeaway

Unlike other jobs nationwide, HVAC technicians are unlikely to become obsolete. After all, homes and buildings will always need heating and cooling maintenance, regardless of how “smart” the technology evolves.

Pros and Cons of an HVAC Career

Diagnosing and fixing problems can be a rewarding experience. Driving four hours to find out the homeowner has a couch in front of their air vent is less compelling. This is the balancing act of an HVAC career, which will offer a palette of pros and cons depending on the job.

Compare the Pros and Cons of HVAC careers below:

Pros and Cons of HVAC Career (Chart)



There’s a shortage of HVAC technicians throughout the country. The average age of an HVAC contractor is around 54, which highlights the opportunity for a younger generation to infiltrate the marketplace. Several companies will even offer tuition reimbursement for individuals looking to jumpstart their careers.


Another primary advantage of HVAC as a career is its educational path. Most jobs require a four-year degree of some sort to even get in the door. College debts can create massive debt for students who are not guaranteed profitable employment and often work extra to pay off debt.

On-The-Job Experience

On-the-job experience is where you’ll hone your skills to the next level, which is something that can be years in the making. Still, if you can learn on the job, you’ll earn money while sharpening your skills and making yourself more marketable while transitioning to the next tier of HVAC business success.

Job Security

If you achieve your goal of becoming a skilled technician, the position’s long-term security is considerable compared to other industries like finance and technology. Few people are skilled in heating and cooling repair than in finance, and you can go to school to change that.


The cons of becoming an HVAC technician are not unlike those of other service-type jobs. The physical exertion required to do the job is immense and something you must be prepared to handle. Becoming a full-fledged heating and cooling expert also takes time, probably even more time than your education will last. 

Hard Labor

While tradespeople often enjoy the grind of hands-on labor, the work itself is hard. It requires physical exertion, uncomfortable positioning, and getting your hands, in some cases, very dirty.

Road Travel

Depending on your company’s service areas, an HVAC career may require extensive driving or road travel throughout your work week. For example, some HVAC companies service regions that span 6 hours of driving time, which may dissuade some from wanting to make a career in HVAC.

Dynamic Schedule

One downside of being an HVAC contractor is the unpredictable schedule. Depending on your position within a company, your schedule can vary significantly depending on the time of year (season), days of the week, and sometimes randomness. This dynamic schedule makes it hard to keep a routine.

Safety Hazards

HVAC technicians assume potential safety risks, including chemical exposure, respiratory illness, and electrical dangers. Of course, companies and individuals can and should take precautions to decrease these risks. However, a career in HVAC is still more dangerous than the average job.

HVAC Salary Expectations

When paired with the position’s high demand and long-term sustainability, it’s hard to find a financial reason to dissuade yourself from choosing HVAC as a career. Check out some more context about the different salaries below.

Entry Level HVAC Technician

An entry-level HVAC service technician can earn upwards of $54,000 per year, which is quite a significant salary for such a position.

Not every HVAC employee is a service technician, however. Some start as rough-in installers or helpers, and other less profitable titles.

HVAC Technician

The average HVAC technician earns around $62,000 annually, although it varies by work location. Having multiple skillsets is likely to increase the high-end range of this salary.

HVAC Business Owner

Meanwhile, HVAC company owners earn a salary of around $75,000 per year. However, the top earners make around $225,000 annually.

HVAC Salary Graphic

HVAC Industry Jobs

There are two ways to categorize jobs in the HVAC industry: by niche and by position. For example, residential HVAC services is a niche in which a senior-level technician is a position.

Everyone can strive for multiple types of niches and positions in their career. Some technicians even target multiple niches and rise through positional ranks rather quickly.

Meanwhile, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the names of the most common HVAC positions:

  • HVAC Technician
  • Engineer
  • Estimator
  • Fabricator
  • Installer
  • Pipefitter
  • Refrigeration Technician
  • Service Manager
  • Sales Associate

The more niches you become an expert in, the more on-the-job experience is required, and the longer it will take to become a full-fledged expert within your field. Different jobs include:

Once you move through the ranks to professional, mid, and senior levels, different options within each will manifest themselves. Everything from systems designer to team supervisor is on the table during your trajectory.

Expanding Your HVAC Career With Marketing

A comprehensive digital marketing campaign can benefit HVAC technicians who start their own businesses. As the long-time owner of HVAC Webmasters, my expertise with growing businesses is based on 10+ years of hands-on experience.

I recommend that new HVAC businesses claim and optimize their Google Business Profiles and invest in a business website with SEO and DataPins. If you would like to learn more about how marketing can influence the trajectory of your HVAC career, contact me to discuss your unique challenges.