A new report, conducted by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, finds that contractors have more confidence and are more positive about job prospects than they were in January. The report also found that contractors expressed more confidence than they did in February 2010, another positive sign amid projections that HVAC jobs will grow 28 percent by 2018.

The ACCA, a large U.S.-based HVAC professional association, surveys its more than 60,000 members every month to gauge their confidence for short-term growth and job prospects. The organization’s findings from February 2011 show a gradual increase in contractor confidence, a positive sign that skilled labor jobs are in demand despite the down economy.

Kristyn Schiavone of the Tribune Media Services pinpointed the HVAC industry’s rosy job prospects to two main factors: an aging workforce and technological advancements, especially around energy efficiency. These changes have both opened up jobs and created pockets for new techs to exploit, allowing them to apply both their mechanical and technological interest.

Schiavone quotes Jerry Weiss, executive director of HVAC Excellence, a company that provides certification for technicians, on the impacts new technologies will have in the HVAC job market: “There was a time and place where someone who was clever could figure things out. … The equipment is now too sophisticated, and that day is gone.”

Read more about HVAC job prospects on The SmartVan.