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Air Conditioning Technology Salary, Career and Training Program Info

Air conditioning technology professionals require significant formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Air conditioning repair and installation professionals earned a median annual salary of $45,110 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest average salaries in this field were over $70,000 per year. The BLS projects faster-than-average employment growth of 14% from 2014 to 2024 for these professionals.

Essential Information

Air conditioning repair and installation professionals understand the basics of air conditioning technology and how to keep these complex systems operating. Most earn associate's degrees in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems (HVAC-R) or get real world experience as apprentices. Some states and cities require that HVAC-R technicians be licensed, and optional professional certifications are available as well.

Required Education Associate's degree or apprenticeship is most common
Other Requirements Some jurisdictions require licensing
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 14% for HVAC-R repairers and installers
Median Salary (2015)* $45,110 for HVAC-R repairers and installers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic and installer in 2015 was $21.69 per hour. The BLS also reported that the top-paid 10% in the field earned $34.47 or more per hour, or $71,690 annually.

Besides salary, many repair and installation workers in the air conditioning technology field belong to a trade union, which usually offers competitive benefits such as retirement and health care plans. Union contracts also traditionally include periodic rate increases based on experience and performance.

Career and Training Information

Many technical colleges around the country offer comprehensive majors in air conditioning and industrial maintenance technology. Earning an Associate in Applied Science degree gives graduates the technical know-how to succeed, with courses such as electronics, wiring, drive systems, problem analysis, compressors and condensers. Since many air conditioning mechanics and installers work with the general public, students may also take courses in business writing and public speaking.

After graduation, many mechanics and installers enter the workplace as apprentices to experienced professionals. This gives them the opportunity to learn more about their trade, while also gaining valuable experience and a steady paycheck.

The BLS reports that job opportunities for HVAC-R mechanics and installers are expected to increase faster than the national average in coming years, growing at a rate of 14% from 2014-2024. Since the new systems have become more energy efficient and reliant on computer technology, there is also a need for qualified professionals who understand the new technology.

Most job opportunities are expected to be for established plumbing, heating and air conditioning companies. Office buildings and apartment complexes also usually hire their own air conditioning professionals as part of the establishment's maintenance force.

Air conditioning repair and installation professionals typically complete an associate's program or an apprenticeship to prepare for their career, and can complete their training as an HVAC-R repairer and installer. This qualifies them to work on heating systems and refrigeration equipment as well as air conditioning systems. They may work for companies, office buildings or apartment buildings.

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