People looking for new careers as HVAC technicians can find opportunities across the country -- although some states offer more work than others, according a new study from Emerson Climate Technologies.

The company recently compiled a list of the top 10 states to find employment in the heating and cooling industry. It was created after surveying contractors, instructors and students about where industry needs are greatest, and using data from the U.S. Labor Department, Census Bureau and North American Technician Excellence. Emerson augmented the figures with some of its own data.

“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, Emerson Climate Technologies’ vice president of marketing and distribution services. “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.”

According to trade group Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, more than 57,000 new workers are needed annually to replace those retiring each year.    

The top state to find an HVAC career, Emerson says, is California. The Golden State has more than 2,000 NATE-certified technicians, lots of cooling-degree days, high wages and plenty of industry jobs.

Ohio comes in second, due to its high number of HVAC wholesalers and opportunities for industry training.

Florida is No. 3. The Sunshine State offers lots of chances to install air conditioners but markedly lower wages than California.

Texas is No. 4 on Emerson’s list. A top state for residential air-conditioning sales, its lower commercial service numbers keep it from placing higher.

Illinois is fifth. There are not as many technician jobs available, but those who work in the industry are paid well, Emerson says. Illinois also has lots of wholesaler locations and commercial service opportunities.

Mitch Byrne of Northeast Cooling LLC the state has served him well.

“Illinois is a great state to work in the HVACR trade,” he said. “Commercial refrigeration service is in high demand due to all the businesses related to food service and the restaurants in the Chicago area. We stay busy year-round thanks to Chicago's extreme weather conditions.”

Illinois provides the chance to work on a wide variety of projects, Byrne added. Working in the trade is an adventure every day,” he said. “We may start off the day working in a max security prison and then end up working on a cruise ship docked at Navy Pier. You never know what the day will bring when working the trade in Illinois and that's what keeps it interesting.”

The rest of Emerson's top 10 states are New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia.