HVAC technicians got their name because they specialize in the installation and repair of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. They are sometimes referred to as HVACR technicians because most also specialize in the repair of refrigeration equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, very few women work in this field: just 0.6 percent of the workforce was female as of 2010. However, organizations such as Women In HVACR aim to change that by advertising the rewards of entering the field.
National Average Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC technicians earned an average of $22.03 an hour and $45,830 a year as of May 2012. Half of all HVAC technicians reportedly earned annual pay of between $34,120 and $56,300. The lowest-paid 10 percent of HVAC technicians made $27,330 or less per year, while the highest-paid 10 percent made $68,990 or more annually.
Pay by Employment Sector
Of the approximately 240,480 HVAC technicians working in the United States as of 2012, about 65 percent worked for independent building contractors, earning an average annual salary of $44,700. Those working for companies that sell HVACR equipment averaged $46,670 per year, while those employed by HVACR repair companies averaged $47,120 per year. Some colleges and universities employ HVAC technicians directly, and these workers earned an average salary of $49,350. The very highest-paying employers for HVAC technicians were wired telecommunications carriers, who paid an average of $67,190 per year.
Pay by Region
HVAC technicians working in the West and Northeast reported the highest average salary in 2012, while those in the Southeast earned the lowest average pay. HVAC techs in Alaska earned the most, at $63,370 a year. Washington, D.C. ranked second at $58,650 a year, while Illinois reported an average salary of $57,630 and Massachusetts paid an average of $56,190 per year. At the other end of the national pay scale was Mississippi, where HVAC technicians earned an average salary of $35,400.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 16 percent of HVAC technicians were self-employed as of 2010. While self-employment may offer a more flexible schedule, those who work for a company usually receive added benefits. Of course, specific benefits packages vary by employer. For example, New Jersey HVAC company Fras-Air offers its technicians medical, dentist, vision and life insurance, a 401K, tuition assistance and employee discounts. HVAC repair franchise Johnson Controls offers benefits which vary by location, as well as paid vacations and a company vehicle.
2016 Salary Information for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned a median annual salary of $45,910 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,440, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $58,960, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 332,900 people were employed in the U.S. as heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 Wages for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employed Persons by Detailed Occupation and Sex, 2010 Annual Averages
- Fras-Air: Careers In Heating & Air Conditioning
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
- Career Trend: Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers