HVAC technicians are in high demand to build, install, and maintain our constantly evolving systems, and experts predict the demand of HVAC technicians will only rise through 2026. The Bureau of Labor Statistics specifically predicted a growth of 21 percent in the field between 2012 and 2022.

Why are HVAC technicians so sought-after? The answer lies in the fact that the HVAC industry continues to speed along, never stagnating in its quest for smarter and better ways to operate. These days HVAC systems are cheaper, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly than ever before. Today, many HVAC systems are connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), with computers handling tasks for automatic temperature control and air quality.

Although people in many professions are sweating over the fear of being replaced by robots and automated processes, it seems HVAC technicians don’t have much to be concerned about. Here are a few specific reasons why HVAC technicians are still — and will continue to be — in high demand.

1. New Tech Requires On-Site Installation

At the simplest level, the many technological developments in the HVAC field mean new systems are continually ousting the outdated ones. Some of the industry’s developments are led by changing regulations; from banning freon to introducing incentives to homeowners for environmental upgrades, necessity and advancements in scientific knowledge often drive innovation in the HVAC industry.

Each time there’s an advancement in HVAC technology, someone needs to build the new system, and someone needs to help homeowners and businesses make the switch from their old systems — this requires the skill of an HVAC technician. Even the handiest person will need the help of an HVAC professional when installing a new system.

All HVAC systems (new and old) also require skilled workers to maintain them. With 95 percent of houses built since 2000 containing HVAC technology, there are plenty of systems to keep technicians busy with maintenance, repairs, and more.

The HVAC industry has been innovating independently for nearly a century and a half now, with no signs of slowing down. There will be better systems to come that will replace even the most efficient designs today; and when they do, you’ll call in an HVAC technician to make the switch.

2.  Smarter Systems Require Trained Specialists

As new HVAC technologies become more and more sophisticated, technicians become more valuable for their experience and specific training. Today’s complex HVAC systems and their components require technically skilled technicians who can adapt to the changing landscape.

This is largely because HVAC systems are increasingly integrated into the digital landscape through IoT. Smart HVAC systems use technologies like sensors and timers to automate temperature control for our homes and buildings; setting them up and keeping them working properly requires the work of software specialists and tech-savvy technicians.

Sophisticated, smart systems are already popular and expected to become more common — experts predict the smart home market will be valued at $80 billion by the year 2022. The ability to control indoor climate floor-by-floor (and even room-by-room) and the flexibility offered by modern systems appeals to modern businesses as well as homeowners. They can maximize the money spent on temperature control, while minimizing their energy use and environmental footprint.

These days HVAC technicians need more than the tools in their literal toolbelt to deal with installation and maintenance — they need an education and understanding of the electronics and networks associated with modern systems.

3.  Grads Like Green

It’s clear there will be jobs in the HVAC industry for years — if not decades — to come. While this is great news for those looking for stable, lucrative careers, it’s good news for HVAC employers, too. As a leader in green energy, the HVAC industry is primed to attract new graduates.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, jobs that support energy efficient developments are on the rise. The regulatory environment and rapidly growing popular demand for energy efficient products make it one of the fastest growing fields. New graduates want to be involved in green work, and the HVAC industry’s energy efficient projects draw young talent.

The HVAC industry not only has an environmental draw, but also appeals to young professionals drawn to high-tech jobs, as HVAC systems are becoming more technologically advanced. There is ample room for innovation in this space, creating a dynamic work environment that is both stimulating and rewarding — which, along with social impact and sustainability, is precisely what new grads are looking for in a job.

4.  It’s Still Cool

At the end of the day, Americans like to be cool. The demand for comfortable workplaces and homes isn’t going to disappear any time soon — ensuring a steady stream of opportunities for those who build, install, and maintain HVAC systems for the foreseeable future.

While digital advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) may help HVAC technicians do their jobs more efficiently, it’s unlikely to replace the need for a human technician entirely. HVAC technicians’ ability to assess the unique situations presented by each system — and determine the proper course of action — suggests they will continue to be in high demand.

HVAC Technicians Must Continue Learning

The best HVAC technicians are those who have changed with the times; bringing a solid understanding of HVAC mechanics to the table, while also pursuing training opportunities to stay up-to-date with the latest trends.

While current HVAC technicians aren’t in danger of being replaced by robots, they may be outpaced by more tech-savvy peers if they don’t pursue continued education. Above all, HVAC technicians must be flexible and willing to learn in order to keep up with the fast-paced industry. Those who can adapt to changing technology and hold an understanding of the physical hardware that makes these systems work are destined to succeed as the field continues to grow over the next decade.

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