A growing U.S. population will need more places to live in, work, play and shop. The structures that can satisfy this growth will need systems for ventilation, heating and air-conditioning. This is just one factor behind the incredible demand for HVAC mechanics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HVAC jobs will increase by 34 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is more than double two predictions: the 15 percent growth for all installation and repair occupations, and the 14 percent increase for all other jobs in the country.
Another cause for the employment increase is the need to replace existing HVAC systems, which typically need replacement every 10 to 15 years. Concerns over air pollution and energy efficiency will also provide more jobs as HVAC mechanics upgrade, retrofit or change climate-control equipment.
As for salaries, HVAC mechanics earn a mean $45,830 per year, which is close to the mean annual $45,790 for all other jobs. However, the top 10 percent of HVAC professionals make over $68,990 annually. Their best-paying employers are wired telecommunications carriers, which offer $67,190 yearly. Pay is highest in Alaska, where the high cost of living pushes average annual wages to $63,370. In cities, Santa Barbara, California, tops the wage list at a mean $68,250 yearly.
To earn the highest salaries, HVAC mechanics need technical training either by undergoing a formal apprenticeship, or studying at a community college or technical school. Those with expertise in computers and electronics will find greatest opportunities as new systems become more technologically sophisticated.
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