It's summer and the temperature is climbing, but your air conditioner isn’t keeping up. This is not the time for it to malfunction and you need help right away!

You need to get in touch with an HVAC-R technician right now!

Two women look at each other one dabbing her forehead with a washcloth while overlaid text reads

If the idea of being able to repair this problem yourself appeals to you, then you might consider pursuing a career as an HVAC-R technician.

How HVAC-R Techs Impact Society

HVAC-R technicians are a valuable part of society, especially when you consider the uncomfortable heat of summer and the extreme cold winter can bring. 

Flaticon Icon

Their role is to make sure that heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration systems that are responsible for controlling temperature and air quality in buildings are in proper working order.

Flaticon Icon

This is an important service for making temperatures safe and optimal for people to live and work when the seasons bring harsh weather.

Flaticon Icon

A Day in the Life of an HVAC-R Technician

As an HVAC-R technician, your schedule will be determined by your place of employment.  

If you primarily work with construction companies installing air conditioning units, you'll have a more consistent schedule. If you specialize in repair, your hours will most likely vary, as air conditioners can break at any time!

An air conditioning repairman moves his arm across the screen while overlaid text moves beneath reads

No matter your schedule, you'll first learn about the tasks that you need to perform.

Appointments will vary, as some may be quick fixes and others more involved. After you determine what you'll need to do, you'll gather your needed HVAC-R tools and safety gear and head to the job site. 

Working inside is common, but at other times you may be expected to work outside in extreme weather conditions. It's normal to work in uncomfortable small spaces.

Hands repeatedly open and close a tool kit.

Where HVAC-R Technicians Work

If you pursue a career as an HVAC-R technician, you might find yourself working in residential homes, commercial buildings, industrial facilities, or construction sites.

You might work for an HVAC contracting company or start your own business and be your own boss.

Michael from the office holds a mug that says

Pay and Education

Educational Requirements

If you want to pursue a career as an HVAC-R technician, you'll need to enroll in a trade school or community college. Programs typically last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. 

Flaticon Icon


Coursework to take to prepare for this career path includes math and physics. 

Flaticon Icon


New technicians typically work alongside more experienced HVAC techs. Apprenticeships normally last 3-5 years. 

Flaticon Icon

Licensing Requirements and Certifications

Licensing requirements vary state by state in the U.S., but all are required by the EPA to be certified in handling refrigerant properly.

Flaticon Icon Pay

Average USA Pay: 56,541

Flaticon Icon

Average Canadian Pay: 68,250

Flaticon Icon

“HVAC is a well-paying career field. People can make a lot of money doing this job.”

— John Reid, Retired HVAC technician and Academic Director of Skilled Trades Programs at Penn Foster

Love It or Hate It?

Flaticon Icon

You'll LOVE being an HVAC-R technician if you:

  • Don't mind heights or small spaces

  • Like being outside

  • Are good at math and problem-solving

  • Have decent physical stamina

  • Have excellent customer service skills

  • Have excellent time management skills

Flaticon Icon

Being an HVAC-R technician is NOT for you if:

  • Want a regular schedule

  • Prefer working indoors

  • Don't do well in extreme weather

  • Don't have good interpersonal skills

  • Want a desk job

Check out this video from an HVAC-R technician for some insights into the benefits and challenges of the career.


Asher is interested in pursuing a career as an HVAC-R technician once he graduates high school. Which extra curricular activity would be the best choice to prepare for a career as an HVAC-R tech?

Take Action

Congratulations! You've weighed the benefits and downsides of being an HVAC-R technician and have made your decision.

Kevin hart claps while overlaid text reads

If you still want to move forward with this career path, check out the next steps to reaching your goal!


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte