How Much Do HVAC Apprentices Make?

February 19, 2022

Are you interested in a career in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)? If so, you’re probably also interested in how much HVAC apprentices make. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary of practicing technicians falls just above $50,000 annually, or around $24.00 an hour. Apprentices make about half of that.

Anyone looking to break into the field will need to complete an apprenticeship. The requirement allows all aspiring professionals to receive on-the-job training, perfect blueprint reading, and learn safety practices and how to operate the necessary tools. HVAC apprentices are also allowed to earn wages during this period to help cover living expenses. 

After completing their training, apprentices can pursue entry-level jobs as HVAC technicians and mechanics. Read on to learn more about the apprenticeship experience and the salaries they help attract. 

What is an HVAC Apprenticeship?

An HVAC apprentice at work

Apprenticeships provide aspiring technicians with the practical knowledge and skills needed to work independently. At first, all apprentices work under the supervision of an assigned mentor. Employers may assign basic maintenance, duct replacement, and servicing duties as they progress. 

Typically, HVAC apprentices spend about three to five years in this stage before moving on to more advanced positions. To learn more, check out our article on how long it takes to become an HVAC technician.

Responsibilities of an HVAC Apprentice

Two Electricians Checking Air Conditioning Unit On Building

Some of your daily duties as an apprentice may include:

  • Assisting experienced workers with maintenance and repair
  • Installing and repairing HVAC systems
  • Testing and servicing parts and components
  • Replacing refrigerants
  • Performing electrical and electronic connections
  • Maintaining records of work performed

While most of your training will be hands-on, you’ll also have to spend some time in the classroom to learn the science and technology of HVAC. Theoretical lectures may include math, heating and cooling principles, energy transfer, and applications of HVAC.

Because they provide such valuable assistance, many employers offer competitive salaries to attract HVAC apprentices in need of training. These wages are also dictated by educational qualifications and location. 


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HVAC Apprentice Salaries

How much does an HVAC apprentice make?

As stated, some apprenticeships can last upwards of five years. Individuals in the later phases of this experience can expect to earn more than those who are just starting out. Below, we’ll look further into HVAC apprentice salaries and how they may be affected by location, experience, and industry trends.

Average Salary and Pay Scale data suggests that the average salary of HVAC apprentices is $31,000 per year, with the top 10 percent highest-earning professionals earning upwards of $38,000. Meanwhile, an entry-level position pays around $26,000 annually.

Other sources report slightly higher earnings. According to, the average HVAC apprentice salary is $34,125 annually. The platform reports experienced apprentices have the highest salaries at $46,800 per year. After completing their apprenticeship, entry-level technicians can expect further increases in wages.

Salary per Hour

Hourly pay rate also varies according to your experience and qualifications. An entry-level apprentice can expect about $13/hour, while the average salary ranges around $15 per hour. The highest-earning professionals in the field make about $18/hour.
An HVAC  apprentice reading the blueprint of a climate control system

Salary by Industry

BLS estimates show that education, retail trade and plumbing, heating and air conditioning contracting companies offer the best compensation for HVAC professionals. The organization also reports that the construction industry employs around 11.63 HVAC professionals and pays about $52,320 annually, while the manufacturing sector offers average salaries of about $56,080 a year. Meanwhile, Zippia also reports that technicians working in the energy sector can expect mean wages of about $33,228 per year. 

Salary by Location

An apprentice working on a cooling tower chiller

HVAC apprentice salaries can vary considerably depending on where they work. For instance, the mean annual wage in California is about $39,608 annually, while an average apprentice in West Virginia makes about $21,999 per year. Rhode Island offers one of the highest salaries to HVAC apprentices at $35,165 annually. Here’s a look at the expected salaries in each state:

StateAverage Salaries per yearMean Wages per hour
District of Columbia$39,122$18.81
New Hampshire$33,971$16.33
New Jersey$40,729$19.58
New Mexico$26,715$12.84
New York$35,482$17.06
North Carolina$26,598$12.79
North Dakota$32,598$15.67
Rhode Island$35,165$16.91
South Carolina$26,767$12.87
South Dakota$26,424$12.70
West Virginia$21,999$10.58

How Much Do Similar Occupations Make?

Electricians, roofing technicians, plumbers, and sheet metal workers perform similar duties to HVAC technicians. These professionals work in technology-oriented, practical-intensive domains. According to certain sources, roofing apprentices make about $27,500 annually, while an electrical apprenticeship pays about $36,500 annually.

HVAC Apprentice Skills and Specialties

Air Conditioning Technician

All apprenticeships begin with basic instruction on HVAC systems. However, as you proceed further in the field, you can choose a specialty before completing your training. The skills you gain and your area of expertise can majorly influence your salaries.

Some of the specializations that HVAC apprentices can focus on include:

  • System design
  • Duct design and repair
  • Customer services
  • Cost estimation and inventory management
  • Electricals and automation
  • Testing and air balancing
  • General repair and maintenance
  • Installations
  • Sales
HVAC Technician Testing Newly Installed Warehouse Ventilation System

You can also choose your speciality based on your familiarity with the area. While some apprentices work in a commercial setting, others work in more industries and project-based companies. Even household owners rely on the services of HVAC technicians for installing and repairing their heaters, air conditioners, and allied systems. You can also start your own business after obtaining adequate experience and licensure.

According to BLS, the following skills can help you build a fulfilling career as an HVAC technician:

  • Customer-service skills
  • Math and mechanical literacy
  • Physical strength
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Troubleshooting

Best Companies for an HVAC Apprentice

A technician working on an airconditioning unit

Some of the companies that offer the highest HVAC apprentice salaries include:

  • Miriam Hospital – $38,563
  • HB McClure – $38,151
  • Edmond Public Schools – $34,956
  • TDIndustries – $34,341
  • Lennox International – $34,090
  • JLL – $33,340
  • PeopleReady – $33,167
  • Comfort Systems USA – $33,081
  • Damuth Trane – $32,837
  • Roth Heating Co. – $32,821
  • Johnson Controls – $32,689
  • Aerotek – $32,398
  • HomeServe USA – $32,151
  • Carrier – $32,099
  • AGC – $32,063

Selecting the right organization early in your career is crucial. Besides the prospects of securing a good salary, what you learn and how you grow also depend on the company you choose.  

Does Education Impact the Salary of an HVAC Apprentice?

Many employers prefer apprentices who have completed formal education in heating, refrigeration, or allied fields. A certificate program or associate’s degree can also help reduce the time it takes to complete your apprenticeship.

You’ll also gain the theoretical and practical skills necessary to work as an entry-level HVAC technician throughout your program. Your college may even help you land an apprenticeship or include apprenticeships in their curriculum.

The New England Institute of Technology’s Associate of Science Program in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Heating (RACH) Technology will introduce you to the theory and practices of RACH in a hands-on laboratory setting. After completing the program, you can apply for entry-level positions in refrigeration and air-conditioning.

Pros and Cons of an HVAC Career

An apprenticeship is a long-term commitment. It can also influence the type of work you can pursue after you complete the training. Here are some benefits of choosing a career in HVAC:

  • You’ll work in a wide range of residential, commercial, and industrial settings, meaning your professional life will always be full of new challenges and opportunities. This also provides plenty of opportunities to learn new skills.
  • HVAC technicians earn more than other tradespeople working in similar fields. For example, general maintenance and repair workers make about $40,850 per year, while automotive mechanics have an annual median salary of $44,050. Comparatively, HVAC mechanics and installers have yearly mean wages of $53,410.
  • Problem-solving and troubleshooting can provide immense accomplishment and job satisfaction.

With that, there are some negative aspects of an HVAC career. They include:

  • A technician’s job is physically demanding and requires hands-on labor.
  • Apprenticeships can last for 3 to 5 years.
  • You may have to work long hours and attend on-duty calls at any time of the day.
  • You must constantly update your skills and knowledge to remain effective in the field.


Earn your degree in HVAC from NEIT and begin your new career path today!



An HVAC apprentice has excellent prospects of earning decent wages. Still, it’s important to note that the HVAC apprentice salary depends on your education, skills, and experience. Although an apprenticeship is ideal for individuals who intend to join the HVAC field, it can take anywhere from three to five years. A formal education program such as an associate’s degree can make it possible to start earning sooner.


How Much Do HVAC Apprentices Make in Rhode Island?

The average salary of an HVAC apprentice in Rhode Island is $35,165 per year or about $16.91 per hour. An apprentice’s pay can vary according to their skills, education, and experience.

What Does an HVAC Apprentice Do?

Apprenticeships help you gain the necessary knowledge and skills to kickstart your career as an HVAC technician. An HVAC apprentice assists experienced technicians in installing, repairing, and maintaining heating, refrigeration, and air-conditioning systems.

Is an HVAC Technician Job Hard?

An HVAC technician’s job can be physically demanding and require long working hours. However, there are plenty of opportunities to learn new skills on the job. Salary prospects also exceed those for similar skilled trades.

Is HVAC a Good Career?

A career in HVAC can be incredibly promising  for individuals who appreciate problem-solving working in a hands-on environment. Pay is competitive and the industry also offers plenty of opportunities for growth. According to BLS, the employment of HVAC mechanics and installers will increase by 5 percent in the next ten years, creating about 19,000 new jobs.