Let’s be blunt. You have a job in order to live, not for the sheer fun of it, no matter how much you love what you do. Bills don’t pay themselves. And since you’re working hard using your skills and knowledge, your salary might as well reflect that. In 2019, the average annual pay of an HVAC technician was $51,420, and the top 10% made more than $77,920 (bls.gov).
So, what works when trying to raise your income? Are you better off taking more classes, or trying to get experience on your own? What about volunteering? Your specialties? Figuring out the moves to make that will pay off can be frustrating—so we break it down for you. Here are five tips for increasing your HVAC salary.
Know Your Competition
Understand the big picture of your area and employer. Nothing should stop you from continuing to develop your craft in all that you do, but you should see how everything fits together and plan accordingly. Do you live in a crowded area with lots of people vying for one position, or do you live somewhere small where there are few applicants? Does your employer care about your certifications, or is he or she more concerned with experience and performance? You can tailor what you do with what is wanted.
Putting In The Hours
The more HVAC situations you have dealt with, typically, the better your pay becomes. However, working all sorts of installations and repairs takes time.
To speed up developing your on-the-job expertise, get all the experience you can while on the clock, and then see if you can volunteer your services to other organizations (installing an air conditioner at the local church, etc.).
Going Back To Class
Extra class time means more practice and shows you're keeping up with the latest technology advances. Your local training program has instructors who know the industry, and you’ll be getting real-life lessons from their time in the field. Even if an employer isn't concerned with another degree, they will be impressed that you're taking the time to learn more about how you can be better at your job.
Staying On Top Of The Industry
Some fields just make more money than others, simple as that. For example, commercial buildings may pay more than residential ones. Understanding the industry makes you more prepared to learn the skills that equal higher salaries. You’ll also be more flexible if a new technique or field rapidly emerges.
Don't Do It Just For The Money
Increasing your HVAC technician salary would be great, but if you put forth all kinds of extra effort and it doesn't happen quickly, you could be left feeling frustrated. Try to go in thinking that what you want is to get better at what you do—whatever that takes.
Even the most highly trained person isn't perfect and can benefit from a continued development, and we can almost guarantee that with time, you will start seeing raises.
Work, Work, Work—But Have Fun Doing It
Getting to the salary you want requires you to put in the work. Always remember, effort is attractive, and experience is what employers want to see. Find areas you like working in and kinds of jobs you love doing. The good money will follow, and you won’t feel like you sold your soul trying to get it.
And if you haven't yet started HVAC training but are interested in the field, you can see what schools are available in your area or online here. Training can be completed in as few as 6 months!