Ultimate Guide to HVAC

Expectation vs. Reality: What Are Jobs in HVAC Like?

From earning potential to day-to-day work, many expectations about jobs in the HVAC industry need to be corrected.

We talked to Timothy Jury, the Director of Operations at Randazzo Heating and Cooling and Hager Fox Heating and Air Conditioning, about some of the most common expectations about the HVAC industry and what it’s really like. Here’s what he told us: 

Expectation: The Earning Potential For Jobs in HVAC Isn’t Comparable to a Four-Year Degree

“The top misconception about the HVAC industry is probably that the earning potential for HVAC careers isn’t comparable to a four-year degree. We agree that a four-year degree is great, but college isn’t for everyone,” Jury shared. 

REALITY: In Jury’s experience, field employees can earn into the six figures within the HVAC industry. While the average annual salary for entry-level technicians, based on Northwestern Tech graduates in 2022, is *$35,110, with the opportunity to earn more as their experience grows. Additionally, many HVAC companies offer commissions and bonuses, to engage and encourage strong performance, on top of the regular pay rate. HVAC is a solid career choice. 

*Source: 2022 ACCSC Annual Report

Expectation: There’s Minimal Salary and Career Growth for HVAC Careers 

A major myth about jobs in HVAC is that there aren’t many opportunities to advance. 

REALITY: “This couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Jury. “Many companies encourage growth, training, and advancement within the trade. As with most professions, the salary and opportunity are controlled mainly by the effort, talent, and hard work of the individual.

“The possibilities are endless. The majority of your successful HVAC companies have former technicians at the helm. Through years of experience and hard work, these individuals understand what it takes to set the field technicians up for success, which transfers to an excellent experience for their customers.”

Expectation: HVAC Technicians Only Work on Mechanical Items Every Day

People may assume the day-to-day job in HVAC is filled with working on or installing mechanical items like furnaces and air conditioners, and it essentially is. However, there is another side to it–the rewarding feeling of accomplishment and helping people is immeasurable. 

REALITY: “Getting a furnace repaired or installed in the home of someone that desperately needs heat or getting the ac running for someone with breathing issues in the heat and humidity of the Michigan summer, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing them smile and finally see that ‘everything is going to be ok,’” commented Jury.

Expectation: I Don’t Have the Right Skill Set for HVAC School

People are often apprehensive about joining the HVAC industry because they think they need a particular skill set to attend HVAC school. 

REALITY: The reality is that HVAC school sets the foundation and teaches technicians the fundamental skills they need to be successful in the trade. 

Jury reiterated, “Nobody expects students to come into the school on day one and be able to diagnose or install furnaces, air conditioners, or other HVAC equipment. Speaking from experience, if you immerse yourself in the learning process, you can be successful in school and transfer that to real-world success within the trade.”

Start your HVAC Career at Northwestern Tech

If you’re interested in an HVAC career, Northwestern Tech gives you the tools and training to begin a well-paying job as soon as you graduate. Our 10.5-month program is designed to get you a job in the HVAC industry in less than a year. Register today.

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