Ohio is the place to be, according to Emerson’s Top States to Work in HVACR ranking. The state tops the list with more than 1,400 certified technicians, a competitive median salary, almost 9,000 openings, and eight accredited trade schools.
“The Cleveland area is one of the most desirable places to live, work, raise a family, or start a business,” said Rocco Fana Jr., executive director of Air Conditioning Contractors of Ohio (ACCO). “Housing prices, cost of living, our proximity to Lake Erie, the quality of our education, and safety of our communities are all assets to the area.”
ACCO is a local HVACR contractor association that provides advocacy, education, and professional development to its members while also reaching into the overall HVACR industry.
Completing the top 10 places in the ranking were California, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and New Jersey, respectively.
Illinois, No. 3 on the list, secured it’s position for having the highest median average salary along with having five accredited trade schools and over 8,000 current openings. Texas and Florida, ranking fourth and fifth, did so for their number of openings and certified technicians.
“Florida has no state income tax, low cost of living, good climate, and lots of things to do,” said Pat Ambrose, president of Ambrose Air in Orlando. “It’s a good state in which to get involved.”
Emerson created a ranking much like the current one in 2013 and explained that some of the data used in the study doesn’t change annually and that this 2018 study will likely be repeated again in about five years.
“We don’t anticipate that a contractor will pick up and move based on our list,” said Becky Hoelscher, director of AC aftermarket sales for Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions. “But we do think that this ranking serves to highlight the opportunities available and to start a discussion about factors people should consider when contemplating a career in HVACR.”
Top States to Work in HVACR
TOP 10: Emerson’s Top States to Work in HVACR ranking includes a top 10: Ohio, California, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and New Jersey. PHOTO COURTESY OF EMERSON
SUPPLY AND DEMAND
The labor shortage facing the industry is one of the main drivers for Emerson to execute this ranking.
“We set out to identify what makes a profession like HVACR appealing,” said Hoelscher. “Things like salary and job openings were obvious choices, but we also looked at the scope of opportunity, like heating and cooling degree days, the availability of training, and even volumes of commercial calls.”
The manufacturer is looking to support the industry not only in products and services, but also in recruitment and growth of a skilled workforce, she explained.
“We will continue to support the industry as we look to bring more people into HVACR,” said Hoelscher.
The states ranked in the top 10 did not set out to make the list. In fact, Emerson used a vast amount of external criteria to rank each state based on its HVACR opportunities. That gives the rest of the states about five years to continue developing their HVACR markets for the sake of the industry.
“Over 85 percent of businesses that fail are not members of a trade association,” said Fana. “No matter the industry, trade associations give their members advantages in a fast-paced, competitive market. To join an association is to become a member of a community where like-minded people share knowledge and work together toward goals they couldn’t achieve alone.”
Ambrose is an advocate for HVACR contractor involvement with local, state, and national contractor associations, too. As president of The Florida Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA), he acknowledges the partnership and comradery between members and associations, as well as between HVACR contractors and equipment providers, in their efforts to remain current in industry knowledge.
“The common themes are to be willing to serve, stay involved, and keep up on the latest technology,” said Ambrose. “Just get involved.”
The U.S. is still considered the Land of Opportunity, and each state has a chance to become even more attractive to the potential HVACR contractors of the future. According to Hoelscher, communicating the opportunities available includes advertising the local region’s median salary along with what HVACR contractors need to do to get to the top of the pay scale.
“The most important thing OEMs, contractors, educators, and others should consider is that we all have the opportunity to make our state the Top State to Work,” she encouraged. “We can help by supporting the HVACR tech schools with volunteering on advisory boards, supplying training tools and materials, employing and mentoring future technicians early in their planning cycle — middle school and high school.
“Be active promoting the HVACR trade, so we can satisfy the technician shortages in your areas,” Hoelscher urged.
Publication date: 9/10/2018