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HVAC vs. Electrician

The trades have a well-earned reputation for offering good jobs with a reliable income, and Electricians and HVAC Technicians are no different. For each of these jobs, there is no high school diploma required, though specialized training is necessary and industry certifications will get you hired. Both pay above average, allow you to work in a technical capacity, learn greater skills on the job, and progress professionally. So which will you choose- Electrician or HVAC Technician? Here we take a closer look at the two trades, so you can determine which is right for you.

When it comes to income, both trades pay above average- more than $45,000 annually for each of the professions. Electricians come out on top here, the median pay was $54,110 per year in 2017 (BLS). HVAC Techs, on the other hand, earned a little less, $47,080 per year (BLS). Most Electricians and HVAC Technicians work full time, but part-time workers also earn a high hourly rate: Electricians earned $26.01 per hour in 2017, HVAC Techs earned $22.64. These numbers represent averages, however, and there is great variety in pay in both of these trades. Years of experience, industry certifications, specialty knowledge and skills, and geographic location all contribute to determining the level of pay for these jobs. All in all, both Electricians and HVAC Techs earn a solid living doing technical, hands-on work.

When it comes to growth in the market, HVAC Techs are in the better position. In 2017, the growth rate for Electricians was 9%, just slightly above average (BLS). For HVAC Techs, the growth was an astonishing 15% (BLS). Significantly higher than average, this rapid growth indicates there is numerous and varied opportunities in this industry. For HVAC Techs, the job growth is not solely tied to new construction, as many have been misled to believe. Jobs for HVAC Techs are not just on construction sites, but more often are in repair and maintenance of existing HVAC systems- in everything from private homes to large-scale commercial businesses, hospitals to high-tech data centers, server rooms and beyond. HVAC Techs are employed by HVAC companies, mechanical contractors, private business and government entities.

With growth in the industry like this, it’s no surprise the shortage of qualified workers is already being felt. Employers report that finding HVAC Technicians with computer and electronic skills is especially difficult, and demand for skilled technicians only increases with all the technical developments made to HVAC systems in the last few years. The best job candidates have industry certifications and training from an accredited school; even more competitive are those with on-site experience and a working, technical knowledge of electrical, plumbing, and computer systems.

The HVAC training program at IBT is designed to train students across the board, so they enter the industry with actual experience working not only with HVAC systems, but with electrical systems, plumbing systems, and computer technology. IBT’s program provides in-class instruction from industry professionals combined with hands-on technical training. The HVAC program is accredited by HVAC Excellence, and IBT is accredited by ACCET (the Accrediting Council on Continuing Education) and ACCSC (the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges). Students at IBT graduate from the HVAC program prepared to sit for the EPA ESCO certification exam, as well as the OSHA, the 410A, and the HVAC Excellence certification.

Likewise, the Electrician program at IBT is an industry-recognized, competitive program from an accredited school. The Electrician program is approved by the Dept. of Apprenticeship Standards – Electrician Certification Unit. Graduates of IBT’s Electrician program will be prepared to test for the State of California Electrical Trainee (ET) certification. Just like the HVAC program, the Electrician program at IBT is taught by industry professionals, in a hands-on environment.

Whichever you choose, a career as an Electrician or as an HVAC Tech is a sure bet for a steady future. Consider carefully your options, and give our friendly Admissions Representatives a call to talk it through. At IBT, our staff is always available to future, present, and past students, to support you, guide you, and do everything we can to help you get on your way to a rewarding future. Don’t hesitate any longer, your future is waiting for you!