HVAC vs Electrician: Which is Right for You?

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated June 14th, 2024

Have you narrowed down your career options and want a little more insight into working as an Electrician vs. HVAC Technician? Then you have come to the right place!

Both of these career paths are good ones, but there are definitely some differences which we will outline below. You will also find some resources and quotes from others in each field to help you get some insight into whether becoming a HVAC technician or Electrician is right for you.

What Do HVAC Technicians and Electricians Do?

In case you are just starting your search we wanted to give you a short glimpse of what each job entails.

HVAC Technician

HVAC (short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technicians are professional trained to repair, install, and maintain equipment that moves air through a building or home. This can include working on heating or cooling units, ventilation systems, or refrigerations systems.

You can read our career guide on how to become an HVAC technician to get more details about what to expect in this career.


Electricians are trained professionals that work on electrical systems. This includes the design, installation, maintenance, and even troubleshooting of electrical components of a home or business.

HVAC Technician vs Electrician: How Do They Compare

Below are the basics when it comes to choosing a career as an electrician or HVAC technician. The chart is based on the suggested path to becoming an electrician or HVAC technician.

We will do a deeper dive into the differences of each career below.

ElectricianHVAC Technician
Median Wage$48,630
Job Growth5% growth through
Education High School Diploma or GED
Trade School or Associate’s
High School Diploma or GED
Trade School or Associate’s
Certification Program (Approx. 1 year)
Apprenticeship 4-5 Years
Includes classroom + on-the-job-training
3-5 Years
May include coursework + on-the-job-training
or just training
Certification EPA Certification (refrigerant handling)

Difference In Work Environments For HVAC and Electricians

There are some subtle differences in what a work environment may be like for each of these careers. It will also be dependent on certain aspects of your job like if you choose residential work versus commercial. But generally the below will give you an idea of what each job would be like in terms of environment.

Electricians: As a residential electrician you may find yourself working inside peoples home or outside. You might drive a company vehicle from house to house and service clients that are having electrical issues. You may have to go into basements or other small spaces to access certain components. Commercial electricians may have to go to higher locations and work longer on one site.

HVAC: HVAC technicians can also be working indoors and outdoors. Similar to an electrician you might drive from home to home to fix issues with heating and cooling systems.

How To Choose Between A HVAC or Electrician Career?

You will not go wrong with either career.

It is going to come down to a few factors which include:

  • How much you hope to earn in the future (Electricians typically offer a bit more in terms of salary)
  • How much time can you spend on an apprenticeship or training
  • Do you want more opportunity to do something different everyday or do you enjoy repetitive tasks? (Electrician careers tend to be more repetitive while HVAC offers more variation in work)

The HVAC vs electrician debate is one that many people have and below you can find some discussions about this exact thing. Reading through these may offer some help in making the decision.

If you work as an electrician or HVAC professional, what do you love or hate about your career choice? Your thoughts could help someone else, so share away!

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.