How Much Do HVAC Technicians Make?

Updated: 07/17/2022

HVAC technicians made an annual mean salary in Phoenix of $50,070 in 2020. This comes out to about $24.07 an hour. Wages for HVAC technicians, however, varied across industries and locations, with some earning less than average and others more.1*
See the full range of earnings for HVAC technicians and reasons for differences in incomes in this article.

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Section 1

The Work of an HVAC Technician

Understanding what HVAC technicians do can help lend some insight into why wages for these professionals may vary because, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, industry, employer and specific job tasks can all be reasons for differences in pay within the same occupation.2

The BLS’ occupational title for HVAC techs reveals a lot about what they do: “heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers.” They install, maintain and repair the equipment listed in their job title, along with the ventilation systems that can promote healthy indoor air quality.3

Some HVACR technicians specialize in a certain area of the industry or type of equipment. For example, one tech might focus on only radiant heating systems; another on testing and balancing; and others may specialize on solar panels or commercial refrigeration.3

An HVAC technician career overview can give you a more complete picture of this occupation.

hvac technician maintenance on ac

Section 2

Do HVAC Technicians Make Good Money?

Compared to the median hourly wage for all occupations in 2020, HVAC technicians earned healthy wages. That year, HVAC techs made a median hourly wage of $24.32 versus the $20.17 the BLS reported for all occupations.4*
About half of HVAC technicians earned more than the median wage and half earned less.

HVAC Technicians’ Range of Income in 2020

Percent of HVAC Techs
Annual Salary
Hourly Wage

Section 3

Where Do HVAC Technicians Make the Most Money?

Where an HVAC technician works can influence how much he or she earns. HVAC technicians can make more money in certain industries and geographic locations.

Top Paying Industries for HVAC Technicians in 2020

  • Natural Gas Distribution
    The Natural Gas Distribution industry employed 1,410 HVAC technicians in 2020. The median hourly pay for techs in this field was $38.83. On average, HVAC technicians earned $79,320 a year and $38.14 an hour.5*
  • Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing
    Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers made a median hourly rate of $41.13 in the Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing industry in 2020. This came out to an average hourly wage of $38.87, or about $80,850 a year. 610 of the 344,020 HVAC technicians employed in the U.S. that year worked in this field.1,6*
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
    The 250 HVAC technicians working in the Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution industry in 2020 made a median hourly wage of $32.34. Their average annual income was $70,560, which comes out to about $33.92 an hour.7*
  • Telecommunications
    Employing 150 HVAC technicians, the Telecommunications industry paid a median hourly rate of $35.79 in 2020. On average, techs in this field made $73,860 a year, or about $35.51 an hour.8*
  • Monetary Authorities—Central Bank
    The Monetary Authorities—Central Bank sector was yet another area employing a small number of HVAC techs (just 30) but compensating them well relative to other industries. HVAC technicians in this field earned a median hourly rate of $36.23. Their average annual income was $73,520, which comes out to $35.35 an hour.9*
  • Natural Gas Distribution

Top Paying States for HVAC Technicians in 2020

  • District of Columbia
    290 HVAC technicians worked in the capital of the United States in 2020.** They earned a median wage of $34.80 an hour. On an average annual basis, techs took home $73,460, or about $35.32 an hour.10*

    • Washington D.C.’s Economy at a Glance
      Home to the White House and other historical sites, Washington D.C.’s economy is, not surprisingly, dominated by tourism. Research and development factors in prominently in the local economy, as well. Small scale manufacturing and finance are other economic drivers.11HVAC technicians plied their trade in tourism-related industries like arts, entertainment and recreation in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.12
      The scientific research and development services sector was another employer of techs that year.

      Manufacturing was a major employer, with technicians playing a part in the production of everything from fruit and vegetable preserving to chemical and machinery manufacturing.12

  • Alaska
    Alaska proved to be a relatively lucrative job market for HVAC techs in 2020, employing 300 of these tradespeople.** Their median hourly pay was $37.89. The average annual salary was $79,630 and the average hourly wage was $38.28.13*

    • Alaska’s Economy at a GlanceThe industries primarily driving Alaska’s economy are:
      • Fishing
      • Military spending at the state and federal level
      • Oil production
      • Tourism
      • Research and development14

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates HVAC technicians were employed in some of these industries in 2020:

      • Agriculture
      • Forestry
      • Fishing and hunting
      • Amusement and recreation industries, which often play a role in tourism
      • Scientific research and development services12
  • Washington
    Ranked #4 in the nation for its economy by U.S. News & World Report, Washington had the second highest number of HVAC technicians employed among the top five paying states: 6,950.1,15 These tradesmen and women made a median hourly wage of $29.07. Their average yearly salary was $65,180, which comes out to $31.34.16*

    • Washington’s Economy at a Glance
      Manufacturing plays a significant role in the economy of Washington, especially aircraft and aerospace production. Since the 1970s, “high-technology manufacturing of electronic systems and computer software” has become an important part of the economy in the state.17As mentioned above, HVAC technicians found work in manufacturing industries in 2018.12
  • Hawaii
    The 910 HVAC technicians employed in Hawaii in 2020 enjoyed more than the tropical weather.** Ranked the 3rd highest paying state for these pros, Hawaii reported a median hourly rate of $30.37. HVAC technicians working in the state made, on average, $65,640 a year and $31.56 an hour.1,18*

    • Hawaii’s Economy at a Glance
      The top three industries in Hawaii are tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.19 These are all industries that employed HVAC technicians in 2020.12
  • Massachusetts
    Ranked the 5th top paying state for HVAC techs in 2020, Massachusetts had the biggest job market for these tradespeople compared to the other highest paying states, with companies there employing 7,620 technicians.1**The median hourly pay was $30.66 for HVAC techs. Yearly annual salaries were, on average, $64,760, and hourly wages were $31.13.20*

    • Massachusetts’ Economy at a Glance
      Research and development, tourism and educational services are the main drivers of the economy in Massachusetts. Ranking among the top U.S. states in value of fish landings, Massachusetts is also home to a robust fishing industry. Other economic drivers are telecommunications, biotechnology, finance law, insurance and health care.21As mentioned above, HVAC technicians worked in tourism-related fields, education services, fishing and finance in 2020. They also found employment in the telecommunications and health care industries.12

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas

  • Fairbanks, Alaska
    The BLS indicates that HVAC technicians employed in Fairbanks, Alaska, made an average hourly wage of $44.15 and a yearly salary of $91,840.22*
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
    A total of 4,010 HVAC technicians worked in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue region of Washington in 2020.** They earned $35.03 an hour on average, which comes out to $72,860 a year.22*
  • Anchorage, Alaska
    Companies in Anchorage, Alaska, employed 120 HVAC technicians in 2020,** paying them $36.41 an hour, on average, or about $75,740 a year.22*
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
    The Santa Cruz-Watsonville metro area of California had an average annual salary of $76,440 for the HVAC technicians employed there,** which comes out to $36.75 an hour.22*
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
    The 1,850 HVAC technicians working in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region of California made $36.05 an hour on average.** This is an average annual salary of $74,980.22*
  • Napa, California
    The 80 HVAC techs working in Napa, California, made $39.74 an hour on average,** or $82,650 a year, in 2020.22*
  • Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii
    A total of 110 HVAC technicians worked in the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina area of Hawaii in 2020. They made an average annual salary of $70,550 or $33.92 an hour.22*
  • Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
    The Santa Maria-Santa Barbara region of California reported an average annual salary of $72,060 for the 170 HVAC technicians working there in 2020. This is $34.64 an hour.22*
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
    HVAC technicians earned an average yearly salary of $76,180, or about $36.62 an hour, in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area in 2020.22*

hvac maintenance on commercial ac

Section 4

Why Do Earnings Vary for HVAC Technicians?

What’s clear from the information above is that earnings for HVAC technicians can vary with industry and geographic location. This can be because the working conditions, vocational training requirements and clientele can differ across employment settings.

Variations in demand for HVAC service and repair, cost of living and wages from one state or city to the next can account for geographic differences in pay.2

Below are some other factors that can help explain why some HVAC technicians make more than others.


Workers with HVAC certifications and licenses may earn more than those without such credentials. This is especially the case because the federal government requires EPA certification, and many states have licensing laws for HVAC technicians.23

Job Duties

Technicians who handle more complex tasks or jobs with greater responsibility may earn more than those with simpler duties or entry level positions.

Skills and Experience

With greater experience often comes higher productivity and more skills. Consequently, workers who’ve been in the industry longer may earn more than their entry level counterparts.

Performance and Success

In fields where pay is tied to performance, wages may be higher for those with a track record of success.2

Section 5

What Else Makes HVAC a Good Career?

Pay is an important consideration when thinking about training for a new career. As you can see, HVAC technicians can make healthy wages.

Why else is HVAC a good career? Other factors that may appeal to you include daily variety of tasks, healthy job growth and the opportunity to fix things and help people.3,24

*Phoenix Area’s annual mean wage is $50,070 for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (499021) reported by BLS as of May 2020 Average starting salary for Refrigeration Technologies is $35,670 for RSI graduates employed during the 12 month period of 7/1/19-6/30/20.

**According to BLS data Arizona employed 10,000 Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (499021) through May 2020

Additional Sources