The HVAC annual salary is one that can be influenced by various factors. This guide is going to walk you through exactly how much an HVAC technician’s salary is, how much you can expect to be paid, and what will impact your learning abilities in the sector once you complete your HVAC Technician Training Program.

How Much Do HVAC Technicians Make?

HVAC technicians have the potential to earn a good living throughout their careers. You can expect to make a comparable wage to both electricians and plumbers, who have an average hourly wage of $26.52 and $27.01, respectively, for both professionals.

This salary can increase with experience, and those in the industry for over 10 years can increase their wages to over $30 per hour.

HVAC Average Salary

Before we look at the salaries in more detail, here are some national averages you might find interesting;

  • The average HVAC salary is $49,500
  • The average entry-level HVAC hourly rate is $25
  • Experienced managers can earn upwards of $70,000 per year

Factors Influencing the HVAC Technician Salary

As mentioned above, there will be multiple factors that will influence your earning potential. 

Some of the influencing factors for typical HVAC job salary include;

  • Location
  • Sector
  • Experience

For example, if you have multiple years of experience under your belt, you will likely be earning more than a newcomer who has recently gained their qualifications. Read on to dive into these influencing factors and how they can affect your HVAC salary.


Your experience will directly influence how much you can earn, and as you gain more experience, you will be able to increase your earning potential.

According to Payscale, the HVAC average salary can look something like this.

  • $52,000 annual salary for entry-level HVAC techs
  • This rises to $59,600 for HVAC technicians with 2-4 years experience.
  • Senior techs with around 4-6 years of experience can expect to earn approximately $68,100
  • Supervisory positions have an average salary of roughly $88,600.

Essentially, by continuing your training, moving up the ranks, and gaining more experience, you can look at your salary increasing year on year to match what you bring to the table.

Shortage of Skilled HVAC Technicians

Supply and demand also play a pivotal role in how much HVAC technicians can earn.

Right now, there is a shortage of HVAC technicians in the country. This shortfall is currently around 110,000, with an estimated 25,000 leaving the profession each year. The loss is down to a lower-than-average uptake in the trade, more experienced technicians reaching retirement age, and no one to take over the baton once this happens.

With such a massive shortage and demand for HVAC technicians rising 15% between 2016 and 2026, it is expected that salaries will increase to entice people into the profession and to stop them from leaving. 

Recruiters are focusing heavily on boosting the career prospects of trainee HVAC technicians and retention for existing techs in the field to discourage the mass exodus that is occurring each year. These strategies involve better work-life balances, flexible working, better tools and equipment, further training and career opportunities, paid time off, and improved workplace cultures.

While salary is significant, being able to take advantage of improved benefits can also be advantageous when entering the industry to help you sustain this career path.


Your location will also factor into how much you can earn as an HVAC technician. 

The HVAC annual salary can vary massively from state to state. For example, there is more of a demand for technicians in Alaska and Florida, while New Mexico is the worst state for job openings. 

Remuneration in Alaska is above the median at just a touch over $42,800, while Florida is just shy of $30,000 annually. Arkansas, however, pays considerably less than most other states at $25,540 for HVAC technicians. Another good spot is Las Vegas with some of the top HVAC companies hiring in Las Vegas.

Bear in mind that you cannot train in one state, gain your license, and then offer your services in a state that pays more for HVAC technicians. You will have to obtain relevant licensing from each state you work in and be able to satisfy the criteria.

A good example is Florida. You need to satisfy at least one of the following to gain your qualification.

  • A bachelor’s degree in a related field and one year or 2,000 hours of experience to get your HVAC license.
  • Four years of experience in the field, with at least one of those years being as a foreman via an apprenticeship program.
  • At least 3 years of college credits and one year as a foreman
  • You can have two years of college credits, one year of experience, and one year as a foreman.
  • Or one year of college credits, one year as a foreman, and two years as a worker.

In New York, there is no state license for HVAC technicians; instead, they are dealt with via city and county governments. There are three licenses you can apply for, and each one comes with its own stipulations. Two of the licenses, Oil Burning Equipment Installer and the High-Pressure Boiler Operating Engineer, are issued by the NYC Department of Buildings. In contrast, the third license, the Refrigeration Operating Engineer Certificate of Qualification, is issued by The Fire Department of New York (FDNY).

The NYC Department of Buildings License requires a written and practical exam, and both come with fees for taking the exams and renewal fees, while the FDNY requires the written test to be completed and other criteria to be met before you can qualify for the license. You will need to take a refrigeration operating course of at least 200 hours or at least 25 hours in the shop or field industry or have a year of experience in specialized and top HVAC systems.

Alternatively, you can hold one of the following; 

  • High Pressure Boiler Operating Engineer License issued by the New York City Department of Buildings
  • A current Marine Engineer certificate issued by the United States Coast Guard
  • A current Professional Engineer’s License issued by one of the 50 states (USA) 

How To Improve Your Chances of Getting A Better HVAC Salary

Much like with many careers, the more qualified you are, the more you can improve your chances of a better HVAC annual salary. 

The following tips can help you to climb to the top of your profession and boost your salary at the same time.

Move To A Higher Paying State

As an entry-level technician, you can increase your earning potential by relocating to one of the higher-paying states. The top cities to begin and advance your HVAC career include San Francisco, New York City, Anchorage, Alaska, Honolulu, and Bridgeport, Connecticut.

However, if relocating isn’t a viable option for you to further your career and earning potential, then you need to explore other avenues to help you earn more and get a better HVAC technician salary.

Get More Certifications

Heading back to the classroom and looking at getting further qualifications is one of your best options to increase your salary and expertise. Luckily, there are a range of certifications you can train for, all of which will boost your ability to earn more.

Plus, the more you gain, the more you can potentially earn.

This is required for all HVAC technicians in all states.

It is not essential for a career as an HVAC technician, but it can help you prove you have the knowledge and skills to carry out all aspects of HVAC repairs, services, fittings, and maintenance.

  • NATE Ready To Work

Available for entry-level technicians to demonstrate their ability to work in the industry.

  • NATE HVAC Support Technician

Suitable for HVAC techs with 6 or 12 months of experience under their belt.

  • NATE Core and Speciality Tests

These are for technicians with over two years of experience and are a precursor to gaining NATE specialized certificates. These are split into two sections: the Installation Speciality Certifications and Service Specialty Certifications. You can acquire these certifications in areas such as air conditioning, air distribution, gas heating, commercial refrigeration, oil heating, hydronics gas, and hydronic oil in both English and Spanish.

  • Senior Level Efficiency Analyst

You need at least 5 years of experience and at least two of the above qualifications to qualify for this certification. 

  • HVAC Excellence

This offers progressive levels of excellence to progress your career by distinguishing your knowledge and skill level.

Stay On Top Of News and Developments

A great way to advance your career is to be on top of all changes and advancements in the HVAC field. Stay abreast of news and developments, have your finger on the pulse, and be ready to be one of the first to implement new methodologies and equipment to help you continually improve what you do and how you do it. Not only that, but it is important to master HVAC compliances and keep up to date with any regulations.

Start Your HVAC Technician Training Today at NTI

With a high demand in most states for HVAC technicians, you need to capitalize on the sector’s growth and ensure that you are forging a successful and lucrative career for yourself. If you want to get started with training to be an HVAC technician, you can check out our courses here at National Technical Institute and contact us to see what your options are.

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