HVAC: A Fast Growing Career Opportunity

 After a recent successful post on LinkedIn, where I was promoting the hiring of apprentices from our Vocational Schools, I decided to do a bit of research that should not be too surprising to those of us within the HVAC and Plumbing industries.  If you are in fact looking to make a career change or commitment this year - please read below and consider a fast growing, high reward job in the trades!

   The recent press, pioneered by efforts like Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) and most recently in partnership with popular publicly broadcasted 'This Old House', has identified a real issue in the United States with something called a "Skills Gap".  This is primarily the result of the push for our sons and daughters to go to college, and in a way steering them toward a more white collar job.  Whether subconscious or not, this has resulted in a real crisis for most of the building trades, not to mention student debt, etc..  There is a real scarcity mindset in both the HVAC and Plumbing trades, consistent with Electricians, Carpenters, and Welders, that there are more skilled workers leaving the trades than coming in.  This should serve notice as an opportunity! 

  • The most recent data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) plans 15% growth in HVAC by 2026 (additional 49,100 jobs!). 
  • These are not minimum wage jobs either, ranging from $13.67 - $35.26 per hour.  As a rule, the BLS estimates apprentices make approximately half of the wages as the experienced workers. 
  • Don't think you will be carrying tools or crawling through hot attics your entire career, although this may be your way 'in'...there were 332,900 jobs in HVAC for 2016, per BLS. 
  • What is interesting is that the BLS does not take into account posted job openings, even when considering growth.  In a labor analysis report by HVAC/R Workforce Development Foundation, titled Heating up: The Sweltering Demand for Heating, Ventilation, Air Con..., in 2012 there was an estimated 220,734 HVAC job openings!

  I attempted more than once to steer from the HVAC industry, which I owe for so many great things in my life.  I reluctantly (forced by my parents) attended Minuteman Regional Vocational High School (Lexington, MA), which I hear is closing the doors on their HVAC Program next year, blaming low interest and enrollment.  Th entire time I planned to go to college, which there was no way we could afford, so I entered the Marines to pay for college - only to have them make me a Refrigeration Mechanic (needs of the Corps!).  I did eventually attend 7 years of night school to earn my Bachelor's of Science in Business Management, working as a Service Tech and Service Manager during the days.  In case you didn't know, the GI Bill doesn't cover all of your education costs, so unless you saved well you will likely need to work after your enlistment too!  After reaching what felt like my finish line, I realized I still had so much more to learn and embraced the HVAC trade.  I later became a Technical Trainer for a Utility Program Implementer, before landing in my latest HVAC industry career stop as an Area Sales Manager for a leading Manufacturer.


  I mention my stints in HVAC over the last 20 years not to brag, but instead to show that if you are not comfortable with your current job or apprenticeship role, there is so much more available and don't try to leave!  Whether you are starting as an installer or maintenance technician, working for one of our many distributors behind the counter or in Sales, or even larger commercial/industrial service; there are so many opportunities in HVAC!  I can only speak from personal experience, and hope this spurs a bit of interest.


  If you are a student thinking about entering HVAC, looking for your first or next job in the industry, or a Contractor that wants to help our industry grow along with your business, look to get involved locally.  Look for local organizations and events in your state that promote growth and can help at every level.  As an example, I serve on the Board of Directors for ACA New England.  We are hosting a Career Fair in Marlborough, MA on April 24, 2018 (Save the Date!). 


  I recently attended an event at ABCO in Somerville, MA that spurred this blog and conversation on LinkedIn. There I saw (350+) students from MA Vocational HVAC Programs.  If you are looking for entry level apprentices, despite the scarcity mindset, there appears to be the next generation being trained and looking for employment.  What was interesting over the last (8) years or so attending this event, the numbers are on the rise and more women every year!  If there ever was an opportunity for women in the trades, HVAC is in dire need...

Let's continue the conversation! If you are a student, tell us what you are expecting coming into the trade.  If you are a contractor, what qualities are you looking for in an apprentice?  Distributor or Manufacturer, what skills are needed to succeed?  Do you not want your children to continue the family business in HVAC - why? 

Views: 311


You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros Forum to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Comment by Lucyna de Barbaro on January 2, 2018 at 8:35am

Hi Chris,

I would be interested to hear from you if/to what extent HVAC trades people are trained and embrace the need for energy efficiency in homes... I think quite a lot depends on their work,



Latest Activity

Landon added a discussion to the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

WANTED: Blower door complete set Retrotec or Minneapolis

Hi all,I'm looking for a blower door system complete, ready to go. Preferably used, unless you have…See More
1 hour ago
Landon joined allen p tanner's group

Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

Discuss the pros and cons of the equipment you are interested in prior to purchase. Post equipment…See More
1 hour ago
ABAA posted an event

ABAA 2018 Conference and TradeShow at Salt Palace Convention Center

May 8, 2018 to May 9, 2018
7th Annual Air Barrier Association of America’s conference and trade show.May 8-9, 2018 at the Salt…See More
2 hours ago
Michael R. Johnson liked Bruce Sullivan's blog post Solving Energy Poverty: Energy Efficient Homes for Those Who Need Them Most
2 hours ago
Home Energy Magazine posted a blog post
4 hours ago
Diane Chojnowski posted a discussion

ACEEE Fact Sheet: The Impact of Federal Energy Efficiency Programs

Federal energy efficiency programs have played a key role in reducing energy use and saving…See More
5 hours ago
Profile IconLandon, Lloyd Elam, Jeremiah Doty and 3 more joined Home Energy Pros Forum
5 hours ago
Khaliquzzaman Katchi liked Khaliquzzaman Katchi's discussion Retrotec DM-2 Pressure Gauge
5 hours ago
Mick Lane replied to Steve Eberly's discussion Infrared camera recommendations for general contractor use
"The real question is what are you going to do with the camera.  Does it need to take pictures…"
6 hours ago
Lloyd Elam commented on Home Energy Magazine's blog post How We Turned Our House into a Giant Foam Box, Part I — Wall Insulation By Wen Lee
"Can't wait to see what your blower door number will be...."
6 hours ago
Danny Gough replied to Jeremy Begley's discussion Manual S for Water Furnace Equipment in the group HVAC
"Well said David Butler. One more thing I would add is if you have some flexibility with the loop…"
8 hours ago
Leslie Jackson posted a blog post
14 hours ago
Steve Eberly posted a discussion

Infrared camera recommendations for general contractor use

Hi, I believe I have searched and found little recent discussion on recommendations for IR…See More
16 hours ago
Jeremiah Doty commented on Jeremiah Doty's blog post A list of 7 important questions to ask potential Contractor's BEFORE hiring them!
"To read more of our helpful Blog's visit us at https://www.jandmservices.us/blog/"
20 hours ago
Jeremiah Doty posted a blog post

A list of 7 important questions to ask potential Contractor's BEFORE hiring them!

A list of 7 important questions to ask a Contractor Before Hiring Them.1) First and foremost when…See More
Todd Williams liked Diane Deyerler's event Energy OutWest Conference
Khaliquzzaman Katchi replied to Khaliquzzaman Katchi's discussion Retrotec DM-2 Pressure Gauge in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"I am prepared to pay $200 and I will pay the shipping to Canada."
Brad Cook replied to Brad Cook's discussion When is a fuel history confidential and why?
"Personally, I just don't see what is so personal about how much fuel your home uses, in…"
Barbara Smith liked Diane Chojnowski's video
Al Tibbs replied to Khaliquzzaman Katchi's discussion Retrotec DM-2 Pressure Gauge in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"I have a DM2 Mark II in VERY GOOD to Excellent Condition. I will sell for $300."


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service