When the air-conditioning goes out or the heater starts blowing hot air in the middle of summer, it’s time to call heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics, also known as technicians. They keep climate control systems in working order. Their training can come from post-secondary programs that last from six months to two years, or from formal apprenticeships that take from three to five years to complete. Some states mandate licensing for the profession, which requires passing an exam.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, HVAC/R mechanics average $45,830 per year, or $22.03 per hour. Their yearly salaries can range from $27,330 to above $68.990, which equals hourly rates of $13.14 to $33.17.
Building equipment contractors are the biggest employers of the mechanics, hiring 167,370 out of the total 240,480 positions. They offer a mean annual $44,700, or $21.49 per hour. The best wages are with wired telecommunications carriers, averaging $67,190 per year, or $32.30 per hour.
The state with the most positions is Texas, where 21,020 earn a mean $40,660 per year, or $19.55 per hour. Alaska’s high cost of living pushes HVAC/R wages to their highest levels, averaging an annual $63,370, or $30.46 per hour.
Among urban areas, New York City shows the most HVAC/R positions, with 7,460 earning a mean $56,220 per year, or $27.03 per hour. Ranking first for pay is Santa Barbara, California, at a mean annual $68,250, or $32.81 hourly.
HVAC/R mechanics who show administrative acumen over several years of increasing responsibility can become supervisors. They average $62,540 per year, or $30.07, with lows below $36,480 annually, or $17.54 hourly, and highs beyond a yearly $92,690, or $44.56 per hour.