The media leads you to believe there is a jobs shortage. The truth is there is only a skilled labor shortage.

Everywhere you look there is another story about the lack of jobs in America. A quick search of news stories finds headlines including: “Dismal jobs report”; “US jobs and sales figures indicate weakening economy”; “Students feeling lack of jobs”; and “Desperate for jobs”. 

All of these stories lead us to believe there is a major job shortage in America.  But actually, there are more jobs in America than there are people to fill them. The question is are the American citizens trained for the jobs available, and do they know about them?

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) service technician industry prospective:
  • In 2006, 22,000 positions for heating, ventilating and air conditioning technicians were unfilled nationwide.
  • In 2008 there are 60,000 unfilled positions, ranging from entry-level to senior technicians.
  • Over the next 10 years, 30,000 new technicians positions will be created annually.
  • U.S. Department of Labor projects the industry to grow by 18 to 26 percent by 2014 and the shortage to increase 24 percent over the next five years.
  • HVACR is a $200-billion-a-year U.S. industry, and second only to transportation as the largest consumer of energy.
The HVACR industry is a great example as to the true situation in America. Skilled labor jobs constitute roughly 65 percent of our jobs nationally. These jobs cannot be automated, nor can they be exported. Dental hygienist, emergency medical technician, fire fighters, carpenter, electrician, HVACR service technicians, and hundreds of other trades need to be performed by someone here in the United States.

To further show how there are more jobs than people,Eric Seleznow, executive director of the Governor's Workforce Investment Board of the State of Maryland, is quoted as saying: “It is estimated that 70 million Americans will retire in the next 10 years. Only 40 million workers will be available to replace them.”

ActorJohn Ratzenbergerhas instituted the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation (NBTF) to deal with the shortage of skilled workers in America. As too few young people develop the kinds of manual skills required by industries, an American crisis looms as older workers leave the workforce. Through mentoring programs, education and media awareness, NBTF will introduce young people to the pleasures of “tinkering.” And in that way, it hopes to create the next generation of artisans, inventors, engineers, repairmen and skilled workers ― in short, a self-sufficient, self-sustaining society.  

Why are these jobs going unfilled? 

People want large income potential.HVACR service technicians earn a great wage. In a 2005 member survey of the Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA), the average base hourly wage was $28.96/hr.

People are seeking good benefits.HVACR service technicians have access to a number of excellent benefits. MSCA member benefits include: health insurance, pension plans, employer-sponsored training, uniforms, service vehicles and tools. With raising fuel prices, having a company vehicle to get to and from work is a tremendous benefit.  

People want to enter a highly skilled field. Today’s climate systems use an increasingly sophisticated combination of machinery and computers to deliver comfort to building occupants. Those entering the field will be working on complex systems that require a unique combination of hands-on skill and problem-solving intelligence.

People are looking for abundant employment opportunities.There is an immediate need for qualified service technicians as new buildings are being built and older buildings require more service and maintenance. Developing areas of the field, such as indoor air quality and energy efficiency, means a need for more skilled technicians.

The Untold Story

Only 20 percent of all jobs in the United States require a bachelors degree or higher. Meaning that 80 percent of our jobsdo not. The majority of jobs in the United States require post secondary technical education. This information is not given to students by most high school guidance councilors as they seek to place as many people in colleges as possible.

In order to make more people aware of the number of jobs available,Barbara Dolimthe executive director of MSCA, has developed a new recruitment program to get the word out. The new program, called Five Star Careers, reaches out to students, parents and guidance councilors to explain the benefits of a career in the HVACR industry. The program consists of a new Web site that promotes the opportunities in the HVACR industry and dispels many of the misconceptions.

Additionally, Free HVACR industry recruitment brochures are now available to promote and learn about the exciting career opportunities in the HVACR industry.

As an added bonus, if an applicant is a graduate of an HVAC Excellence accredited program and has successfully passed his or her Employment Ready exams, the MSCA companies can fast-track these individuals to higher entry level positions.

The HVACR industry offers:
  • An in-demand profession
  • A good salary
  • Great benefits
  • College credits
  • A high-tech profession
  • Training while you get paid.
If this sounds like the ideal job, then a career as a heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration service technician is just what you’re looking for. Whether you are starting your career search or just getting into the job market, please consider the HVACR field as the place for you.

Find out more about the career opportunities in the HVACR industry by