If you’re thinking about becoming an HVAC technician, now is the right time! The overall job outlook for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry is quite bright at the moment, with an expected growth rate of 15 percent in the United States between 2016 and 2026.
This is actually more than double the average growth rate across all occupations in the U.S.
Washington on the West Coast is a great destination for aspiring HVAC technicians. The state’s economy is strong, demand for HVAC techs is high and the diverse climate allows for job variety.
Job Prospects for HVAC Techs in Washington
Generally speaking, job prospects are positive for HVAC technicians who have completed vocational training and are familiar with tablets and electronics.
Employers usually prefer candidates who completed postsecondary training like HVAC classes. A thorough training program can help you develop a wide range of skills and prepare you for entry-level positions across the country – including a place like Washington State that can have quite varied climates.
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HVAC technicians are in high demand in Washington State. While the U.S. economy has been continuously recovering, Washington has been fairing especially well.
In 2016, the state’s economy ranked first among all U.S. states and territories. Washington’s GDP grew by 4.2 percent, compared to the country’s 1.5 percent growth rate.
Although the outlook for HVAC employment is promising in all states, Washington is among the highest-paying states in the U.S. HVAC techs in Washington earn better salaries than their peers in neighboring states.
Washington Climate and HVAC Job Responsibilities
In addition to studying the basic mechanics and technology of refrigeration and air conditioning systems, HVAC students also learn how these systems operate in various climates.
In a mild climate such as in Washington, where air conditioning issues are typically less urgent, many local HVAC employees are called on to deal with refrigerator malfunctions. Specializations in this field include refrigeration installment, restaurant refrigeration or low-temperature refrigeration.
Washington State is quite humid and has very wet winters, so you may be responsible for maintaining proper dehumidification and positive building pressurization to prevent any problems caused by excessive moisture.
Western Washington is drier and can get a lot of snow in the wintertime, so there may be a high demand in repair for heating systems.
Since summers in the Western part of the state can get pretty dry and hot, HVAC responsibilities likely also include fixing air conditioning systems and humidifiers.
HVAC Licensing in Washington
You don’t need an HVAC license to work as an HVAC technician in Washington, but you do need an electrical license.
You can either obtain a trainee or journey level electrical license. For a trainee electrical license, you don’t need prior training or experience, but you can only work under the supervision of a journey or master level electrician.
There are two types of journey or master level electrical license: 06a or 06b. The 06a license requires a minimum of 2,000 work hours, while the 06b license requires at least 4,000 hours.
In Seattle, you will need a license if you work in refrigeration. Three main types of licenses are available:
- The journey refrigeration mechanic license: For installing, repairing or altering refrigeration or air conditioner equipment.
- The refrigeration operating engineer license: For techs who work in buildings owned or operated by their employer.
- The refrigeration and air conditioning contractor’s license: for businesses that install, repair or alter refrigeration or air conditioner equipment. 
Washington is an excellent place for HVAC technicians. Whether you prefer to work on the mild coast or in the colder Western region, the Evergreen state has plenty of opportunities.
Be prepared for pursuing a job in Washington by learning the HVAC Licensing Requirements in the Pacific Northwest.