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Career Paths for HVAC Technicians

Are you thinking about getting HVAC certified but not quite sure where you want to end up in the business? Maybe you already have your certification but you’re not happy where you are. Fortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” career path in HVAC. You have many options and, if you’re unhappy where you are, you can always try something else.

Commercial vs. Residential

This is the first choice that you’ll want to make when it comes to deciding where you want your HVAC career to go.


These systems are usually smaller and more straightforward to install, repair, and maintain than commercial systems are. However, working in the residential market means being an expert in customer service as well as HVAC.

Some companies even use their technicians to do sales. They may require you to upsell customers on bigger systems or system add-ons and the commission you receive from these sales may be part of your compensation plan.

Working in residential HVAC also means that you will do a lot more driving, since you’ll be going from home to home. You may have irregular hours and you may be required to be on call at night, over weekends, and even on holidays.


When you work in commercial HVAC, you will work at all kinds of businesses, designing, installing, repairing, and maintaining their HVAC systems. The larger the system, the more complex it will be and the more it will have to be specifically tailored to the building it is in and the people who are using it.

Many commercial jobs are more specialized than just “HVAC technician.” You may learn how to be:

  • A refrigeration mechanic
  • A sheet metal worker
  • A pipefitter
  • And more!

If you would like to specialize, this is the job path for you. However, it can be more difficult to get a commercial HVAC job, especially if you don’t already have specialized training.

Working in commercial HVAC can mean more regular hours, less on-call time, less driving, and often better pay, too.

Service vs. Installation

Working in HVAC service means you’ll be doing everything under the sun. You’ll troubleshoot problems when clients call, whether they are commercial or residential. You’ll perform standard maintenance tasks, figure out what has gone wrong with a unit or a system, and more. It’s likely you’ll be on-call at least some of the time, but you get to solve all sorts of problems.

Installation happens on the construction side of things. The hours are usually pretty regular and you know what you’ll face every day because you’ll do the same things day in and day out. There’s a lot of physical labor involved in these jobs, but they pay well and you’ll never face a problem you don’t know how to solve.

No matter what career path you want, our training programs can get you there! Call us today to find out how.

Once you have your EPA Section 608 certification, you can get whatever certification is necessary at the local level, then start work as an HVAC technician soon.