HVAC Installers: Salary Overview
HVAC installers, also called heating, aid conditioning, and refrigeration technicians, work on systems that control the temperature and air quality in buildings.
Their job description typically includes installing, cleaning, and performing maintenance on HVAC systems, installing electrical components, repairing and replacing worn parts, and keeping records of the operations performed.
HVAC installers face a variety of potential hazards that are associated with this profession, including electrical shocks, muscle strains, burns, and other injuries caused by handling heavy equipment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers was $48,730 in May 2019.
This means that half of all workers in this occupation earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary widely depending on a variety of factors, including the installer’s level of experience and education but also based on the industry of employment and local economy.
According to BLS, the top 10 percent of HVAC installers earned more than $77,920 a year while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,610.
The majority of HVAC installers (75%) earned more than $37,660 per year.
Your level of experience and education play an important role in determining your annual wage.
Graduating from a technical school or community college that offers a program in this field, completing an apprenticeship, and having several years of experience will give you a better chance at finding a job that offers an above-average salary.
HVAC Installer Salary by Industry
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers held about 367,900 jobs in 2019, the majority (64%) being employed by plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors.
About 9% of all HVAC installers and mechanics were self-employed and 9% of them worked in the industries of retail trade, educational services, and wholesale trade.
Their biggest employer, building equipment contractors, offered an average annual wage of $50,400 for HVAC installers and mechanics.
Merchant wholesalers of durable goods paid HVAC installers, on average, with $53,970 while direct selling establishments offered them a mean annual wage of $51,510.
A field where HVAC installers typically earn more than the average for this profession is the field of heavy and civil engineering construction- here installers earned a mean wage of $85,940 a year.
Installers who worked in the field of aerospace products and parts manufacturing earned an average annual wage of $77,180 while those who worked for monetary authorities were paid, on average, with $74,180 per year.
The telecommunication industry offered a mean annual salary for HVAC mechanics and installers of $71,310 while the field of scientific research and development services paid installers, on average, with $71,050 a year.
However, these better-paying industries offer only a few jobs to HVAC installers; for example, the industry of heavy and civil engineering construction hired only about 60 installers in 2019.
To find employment in these fields you may need special training and several years of experience in the field.
HVAC Installer Salary by Compensation Structure
HVAC installers may be paid an hourly rate or a fixed salary.
The hourly wage for entry-level installers is somewhere in the range of $15 while experienced workers can earn up to $38 per hour.
The cash compensation received by an installed who is paid on an hourly basis depends on the number of hours he/she works.
Some employers also offer bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing to motivate workers.
According to a report published by payscale.com in May 2020, on average, HVAC technicians earned $1,023 per year in bonuses, $4,865 a year in commission, and $2,027 in profit sharing.
These benefits also vary depending on the installer’s level of experience, skills, and position within the company.
According to the same report, many HVAC technicians received medical insurance and some of them also received dental and vision insurance.
* Based on information from the May 2019 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for HVAC Installers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.