ST. LOUIS — HVACR contractors looking for plentiful job opportunities, high salaries, available training and large numbers of service calls should head for California or Ohio, according to a list of top states to work in HVACR compiled by Emerson Climate Technologies.

One of the top challenges facing the HVACR industry is a shortage of qualified technicians. Emerson created its list after talking to contractors and HVACR students and instructors about what motivates young people to pursue careers in the industry. According to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), an estimated additional 57,000 skilled workers are needed each year to work in the HVACR industry.

“I have talked to contractors from all 50 states during my career at Emerson and I have found a lot of pride in the work, whether they’re keeping up with the demand for residential air conditioning in the southwest or working to keep food safe in northeast population centers,” said Bob Labbett, vice president, marketing, distribution services, Emerson Climate Technologies. “This list is an interesting way to draw attention to the important issue facing our industry — recruiting talented people from across the country to take the place of an aging workforce.”

Emerson’s top 10 ranking draws on HVACR salary and employment data from the U.S. Department of Labor; trade school locations recognized by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA); heating and cooling degree days calculated at; residential home values from the U.S. Census, and certified contractors by state from North American Technician Excellence (NATE). Emerson also draws upon its own data to look at wholesaler locations and commercial service volumes from its ProAct™ Service Center.

Emerson’s Top 10 states to work in HVACR are:

1. California

2. Ohio

3. Florida

4. Texas

5. Illinois

6. New York

7. Pennsylvania

8. New Jersey

9. North Carolina

10. Georgia

Characteristics of the top states include attractive salaries, training, and sunny days:

#1 - California tops the list with more than 2,000 NATE certified technicians, many cooling degree days to drive air conditioning and refrigeration demand, high employment (more than 16,000 HVACR techs, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor) and some of the highest wages in the country.

#2 - Ohio comes in second with fewer sunny days but many more opportunities for training, with the most accredited HVACR schools in the country. The state is also in the Top 10 in the country for number of wholesaler locations.

#3 - Florida also offers many HVACR employment opportunities but much lower wages than California. The state boasts a high number of cooling degree days but was edged out by Ohio’s better training environment.

#4 - Texas ranks similar to Florida in many areas; both are in the Top 10 states for residential air conditioning sales. However, Texas does not have as much commercial service volume, according to Emerson.

#5 - Illinois does not employ as many techs, although they are paid better than techs in the three states above. The state offers more wholesaler locations than Ohio and more commercial business than Texas.

In rounding out the Top 10, the next states fall behind in employment, training schools, and cooling degree days, while offering high numbers of certified technicians, large numbers of wholesaler locations, and valuable commercial service opportunities.

For further information about the Top 10 states to work in HVACR, visit Emerson’s Climate Conversations blog at

Publication date: 1/21/2013