How to Become an HVAC Estimator?

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Blog summary

Estimating is a crucial job, and to be an HVAC estimator, is more crucial. So, here’s a detailed guide on how you can be the one. Even skills required, jobs to perform, salary, etc details are given.

Want to be part of the HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) industry?

Presently, the HVAC market is thriving. The market value of the HVAC is projected to reach around $367.5 billion by 2030. As the industry grows, there will be more demand for HVAC estimators.

📝Key Takeaways:

  • HVAC estimators play a crucial role in the industry because they help to manage and shape the project.
  • They prepare an estimate based on material and cost.
  • The estimator holds good knowledge about building construction like residential or commercial.
  • HVAC estimators can make or break an HVAC industry with their power, role, and responsibilities.

So, if you are planning to become one and are seeking an answer on how to become an HVAC estimator, you are on the right path.

In this blog, we will discuss everything you should know about HVAC estimators like qualifications, roles, responsibilities, salary, and work environment.

Who is an HVAC Estimator?

An HVAC estimator is a professional who estimates the cost of installing HVAC in commercial and residential buildings. The estimator plans and outlines the HVAC project, from installation design to generating an estimate for which one can use HVAC quote template.

The HVAC estimator have the technical knowledge to understand and plan the design project, and determines how it will work. In order to create an accurate estimate of cost, the estimator must know about the HVAC system and its functions.

Are you interested to be part of the HVAC industry as an estimator?

Let’s look at 4 methods to become an HVAC estimator in the next section.

4 Methods to Become an HVAC Estimator

To become a professional estimator and to enter the HVAC industry, you need these 4 methods:

1. Education

Like every other employee, the qualification requirements to be an HVAC estimator are as follows:

  • A minimum qualification to be an HVAC estimator is at least a high school diploma or pass the General Education Development(GED) test.
  • However, the candidate with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and maths has the preference over others.

A high school diploma or equivalent degree is the minimum qualification requirement for entry-level positions in the HVAC industry.


In the end, the employer is looking for candidates who hold good knowledge about the field. The HVAC estimator has to make an estimate of the material and HVAC system costs; thus, you need specialization in the subject.

2. Training and Experience

If you are already part of the HVAC industry and planning to become an estimator, this one is for you. As HVAC is a technical field, you need training for it. No employer wants to hire a candidate who does not have experience or is not trained.

The experience could be of an HVAC installer, HVAC technician, HVAC service installer, or HVAC service technician. The employer or client wants someone with practical knowledge about hvac system contractors.

It is helpful if you want to apply for the supervisory role.

Useful extra reading

Most employers prefer candidates with either:

  • post-secondary education or,
  • those who have attained apprenticeship programs or,
  • those who are licensed.

3. Certifications

There are several professionals who have bachelor’s degrees and want to opt for a higher role with higher pay; they choose certification. The reason for certification is to polish and upgrade their skills.

For certification, you need to go through a process where you need to qualify comprehensive exam which will be a written test.


Every state has different rules for state certification, so check your state rule before applying for the certification test.

The price for HVAC certification starts from around $40 to $150. It might be a long time process but if you are looking to get upgraded in your business; you should not miss it.

4. License

Will you allow a non-technical and inexperienced person to repair your air-conditioning system?


Mostly not, right?

And the reason is valid.

You cannot trust anyone when repairing the system.

Therefore, to become a professional estimator you have to get a license. A licensed HVAC technician or estimator shows that the person is reliable and trained for the job. To get a license and become a licensed HVAC estimator, you need to fill the requirements mentioned below:

  • The candidate should be 18 years or older
  • There should be no criminal record or break any violation
  • Should have a high school degree, diploma, GED, or college degree
  • The candidate must have certified training, on-the-job training, or HVAC training from any institute.

Those were the basic necessary qualification you require​​ to become an HVAC estimator. Let’s deep dive into skills.

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Skills to Become an HVAC Estimator

An HVAC estimator plays an important role in the HVAC project and industry. To perform such essential tasks, an HVAC estimator needs to have certain skills. We have compiled all the necessary skills required to become an HVAC estimator.

1. Communication skills

Several people have a misconception that an HVAC estimator has the role of creating estimates. Well, that is the foremost role, but another important task they do is communicate to everyone who is part of that project.

communication skills

Therefore to become an HVAC estimator, the candidate should have good communication skills. They should be able to convey messages clearly and effectively to build trust between clients and partners.

2. Technical skills

As we mentioned, an HVAC estimator is a professional who holds technical knowledge and knows how engineers work. Thus, it becomes vital for the HVAC professional to have technical skills.

As they have to communicate with other HVAC professionals like architects or HVAC technicians to outline the design and create the estimate for the overall project. With their technical skill, they can understand elements of HVAC systems and how they function and fits together.

Some of the technical skills required by HVAC estimators are

  • Basic knowledge about the systems, and components. For instance, ductwork, furnace, piping, boiler, and various other equipment.
  • Thorough understanding of local building codes & regulations in relation to HVAC systems.
  • Command over AutoCAD software, and HVAC load calculation programs for designing plans and blueprints of HVAC systems.

3. Solving skills

An HVAC estimator is known for bringing solutions to HVAC projects, thus solving skills are a must in aspiring HVAC estimators. The estimator finds solutions to the problem during the installation process along with the contractor.

Solving skills

The estimator should not only know how to solve issues logically but know how to keep track of teamwork. It is essential because for calculating estimates the need to keep track of multiple materials and equipment. It is also another part where communication plays an important role.

4. Monetary skills

Why do we require estimates in the HVAC project?

We need them so that we can know the financial outcome of the project. A budget can be prepared based on that estimate, therefore monetary skills are important for an HVAC estimator.

They are responsible for financial transactions and use their skill to decide the cost of projects like materials, labor, subcontractor, and equipment. Moreover, they design a profit margin for the project to know the estimation.

With these skills, you would have figured out how important the hvac duties and responsibilities of an estimator is in the HVAC project.

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Nevertheless, let’s discuss their responsibility and role descriptions briefly in the next section.

Roles and Responsibility of HVAC Estimator

To become an HVAC estimator, these are the HVAC technician job description:

  • Planned proposals to new clients and bid on new HVAC projects like construction projects and retrofits.
  • Meet and match the needs and goals of existing clients as per their standards and requirements.
  • Create online hvac estimate based on the cost of material, labor, and equipment (include tax and fees if required).
  • Gather necessary information like air-conditioning temperature range, project expenses, square foot area, heat temperature range, and requirement of equipment in the task or project.
  • To prepare design and drawings of space layout and require equipment to illustrate the scope of work and task.
  • Create accurate take-offs of HVAC products from construction documents and plans.
  • Prepare cost estimation by using excel or HVAC estimate software. Also, you can use a traditional method such as pen-paper but it is very time-consuming for multiple projects.
  • Co-ordinate with subcontractors to ensure that all task are performing as per planned and determined budget.
  • Keep updated with clients regarding the project progress and solve the concern problems.
  • Prepare work estimates by using blueprints, planned proposals, and documents.

For instance, here’s the picture of the template of recruitment looking for an HVAC estimator and this is what they are looking for in an estimator.

Now, you are aware of the methods to become an HVAC estimator, what skills are required, and roles and responsibilities; you will be wondering about one important aspect is left. Yes, it is how much you will get, what will be your salary and outlook.

Let’s find out what’s in the box for you.

HVAC Estimator Salary and Outlook

There is no certain fixed salary as the salaries of HVAC estimators depend on their work experience and education. Moreover, it also depends on the company size and from which country or state they belong. Still, if you want to know the range in which HVAC estimator’s salary fall, we have you covered:

HVAC estimator salary Actual salary as on Dec’22 Salary range
Hourly wage $31 $27 to $37
Average salary $65,248 $$56,814 to $76,093

However, the salary of an HVAC estimator depends specifically on various essential factors like education, certifications courses, training attended, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession, etc.

If we take an example, the average HVAC Estimator salary in San Francisco was $81,560, whereas the average HVAC estimator salary in New York was comparatively less at $70,011, as on December 2022. .
Source: hvac estimator salary

Talking about job outlook, according to a survey by BLS, the employment of HVAC estimators is expected to grow as the number of systems will increase.

Estimator Work Environment

Just like salary, there is no certain workplace for HVAC estimators. Their work environment depends on the projects such as sometimes they have to work in office premises using a computer and digital equipment. Whereas, sometimes they have to visit the site.

The reason for the site is to gather information and take measurements to determine the cost of the estimate. The HVAC estimator usually works for a 40-hour week.

And that was the wrap. Hope the blog was helpful and clear all your doubts to become a professional HVAC estimator.

However, if you still few doubts; let’s clear it on FAQs.

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Frequently Asked Questions
    1. What does an HVAC estimator do?

      An HVAC estimator analyzes the scope of an HVAC project to generate an estimate to know the project’s cost. Also, they analyze the project requirement and solve it for the client.

    1. How do you become an estimator?

      To become an HVAC estimator, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or engineering. You can also opt for certified courses to become an estimator.

    1. How long does it take to be an estimator?

      There is no certain amount of time to be an estimator, you can become one if you are eligible with education or specific experience in the industry.

  1. How can I be a good HVAC estimator?

    To become a good estimator, you need to fit in the following components:

    • Proposed an excellent outline for the new client and create an accurate estimate from it
    • Can read and understand blueprints and technical documents
    • Knowledgeable about HVAC elements and their different types
    • Have a strong command over communication skills


HVAC is a growing industry and becoming an HVAC estimator is a good opportunity. However, the HVAC estimator is a serious responsibility as the entire project’s budget is on them.

But we have an effective solution for it and that is estimate software InvoiceOwl. The software allows you to create estimates with the necessary information within a few clicks. So, the chances of mistakes in estimation are reduced.

Moreover, it helps you to save the time and effort you invest in creating manual estimates.

So, what are you waiting for? Avail and witness the boost in your HVAC career and business.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

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