HVAC Training Programs in New Hampshire

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With the cold winters of the Granite State comes a thriving demand for workers in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R). According to the New Hampshire Board of Safety, boilers and water-heaters have a relief valve which requires annual testing and needs to be replaced every five years. To meet this requirement and other HVAC needs, the Plumbers, Fuel Gas Fitters and HVAC Association of New Hampshire supports these skilled professionals in their line of work, offering legal advocacy pertinent to issues in the the industry and other resources.

So what can an aspiring HVAC mechanic or installer expect to do in New Hampshire (NH)? These workers must understand the basic heating & refrigeration cycles; calculate heat loads & losses; install, troubleshoot, or repair HVAC systems & components (e.g., metering devices, ductless splits, motors, humidifiers, temperature controls, electrical wiring, economizers, pumps, valves, fans); interpret mechanical drawings & blueprints; solder & braze parts; maintain detailed client service records; keep up-to-date on latest advances in the industry; and give customers recommendations on how to improve the efficiency of systems. Additionally, some of these workers choose to pursue voluntary credentialing through the NH Department of Safety, and others may achieve national certification through entities such as HVAC Excellence or North American Technician Excellence (NATE), both discussed below in the ‘licensure’ section. Some HVAC workers choose to specialize in a type of equipment or method, while others have more broad-based skillsets. Regardless the specialty, contracting company, or equipment focus, all people nationwide who handle refrigerants must get the EPA Section 608 certification, also discussed below in the credentialing section.

Read on to discover the bright career outlook for HVAC professionals in New Hampshire and beyond, as well as to learn about the salary prospects in the industry, accredited training programs, and licensing information.

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Occupational Demand for HVAC Workers in NH

As mentioned above, the future looks bright for HVAC professionals in the US. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2015) predicts a 14 percent explosion in HVAC job openings between 2014 and 2024, double the average growth projected across all occupations during that time. With the expected addition of 39,600 fresh openings in this industry around the country—some of them in NH and surrounding states of the northeast—the employment climate looks promising for the coming decade.

There are varied forces contributing to the booming HVAC industry. First, these systems typically need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, producing a relatively steady stream of employment. Second, regular service contracts and manufacturer recommendations for maintenance lend themselves to a thriving employment for HVAC workers. Lastly, NH has very cold winters and as a result, there’s a seasonal boom during those months in the installation and repair of equipment.

While some HVAC professionals work normal business hours, others will be called upon to work weekends, holidays, or evenings, especially during the busy winter season. It’s important to note that people in this industry suffer a higher-than-average rate of injury compared to other American occupations. This is due to the type of equipment used and the physical nature of the job, demanding the lifting of heavy loads, dealing with sensitive chemicals such as refrigerants, and reconfiguring electrical wiring. These activities put workers at a higher risk for muscle strains and tears, as well as burns, electrical shock, and lesions. While these threats loom, they can generally be kept to a minimum with adequate training and the donning of proper safety equipment.

As further proof of the growing market for HVAC workers in NH, an analysis of common job post websites yielded some promising results. For example, Indeed (Dec. 2016) had an impressive 115 relevant job openings in HVAC at places such as SAM Mechanical Services, Patriot Heating & Cooling, Ingersoll Rand, ENGIE Services Inc., Heritage PHCE, AmeriGas, Supermarket Environment Services Company, Nashua School District, Proactive Comfort, Lamprey Energy, East Coast Heating & Air Conditioning, Jacobs, Dawn Home Management LLC, Sanford Temperature Control Inc., and Raven Services. Monster (Dec. 2016) boasted additional openings with employers including Precision Temperature Control and TEK Systems Inc. In sum, there’s ample evidence that opportunities in this field are on the rise.

New Hampshire HVAC Salaries

Not only is there a booming market for HVAC services in New Hampshire and across the country, but it is also one of the highest paying fields for people with one to two years of postsecondary training. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2015) reported that the 274,680 HVAC mechanics and installers around the country had an annual average salary of $47,380, only slightly lower than the average salary for all occupations (including people with bachelor’s degrees and beyond) at $48,320 (BLS May 2015). Notably, these figures are also substantially higher for New Hampshire HVAC workers as shown below.

For comparative purposes, here were the BLS’s salary percentiles among all HVAC workers in the country:

United States (274,680 HVAC workers): $47,380 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $27,790
  • 25th percentile: $34,920
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,110
  • 75th percentile: $58,070
  • 90th percentile: $71,690

Here were those same figures in hourly terms:

United States: $22.78/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $13.36/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $16.79/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $21.69/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $27.92/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $34.47/hr.

It’s important to add that these figures varied by source of data. In fact, Payscale (Dec. 2016)—an aggregator of self-reported wages—found the following percentiles among its 451 HVAC respondents nationwide:

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $42,886
  • 75th percentile: $53,000
  • 90th percentile: $67,000

Another 2,486 HVAC workers chose to give Payscale (Dec. 2016) their salaries in hourly terms, represented by the following percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $18.00/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $29.00/hr.

While the Payscale figures are useful for a comparison, they are not considered to be as reliable as BLS figures due to the sample size and polling method of the reports.

As mentioned above, the HVAC professionals in New Hampshire enjoyed higher salaries than the national average. While Indeed (Dec. 2016) reported that NH HVAC workers made an annual average salary of $40,000, the BLS (May 2015)—again, considered more reliable than other sources of data—found that the 1,610 HVAC workers in the Granite State enjoyed an annual average salary of $51,990, or 9.7 percent higher than the national average. In more detailed terms, here were the percentiles for HVAC professionals in NH:

New Hampshire ($51,990 HVAC workers): $51,990 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $34,590
  • 25th percentile: $41,640
  • 50th percentile (median): $50,540
  • 75th percentile: $59,710
  • 90th percentile: $76,080

And in hourly figures:

New Hampshire: $25.00/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $16.63/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.02/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $24.30/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.71/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $36.58/hr.

Before examining the salaries within NH, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the cost of living in NH is substantially higher than many other states. In fact, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2016) found that NH was the twelfth most expensive state in the country, although it did boast some savings in transportation compared to other US states. Please keep this in mind while evaluating all regional salaries.

According to the BLS (May 2015), there were eight metropolitan and nonmetropolitan regions designated within the state; Manchester was both the top-employing and top-paying region for HVAC workers. Here were the numbers of HVAC workers employed, average salaries, and percentiles among the BLS’s regions of NH:

Central New Hampshire Nonmetropolitan Area (150 HVAC workers): $49,090 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $38,180
  • 25th percentile: $43,120
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,780
  • 75th percentile: $55,570
  • 90th percentile: $60,880

Dover-Durham, NH-ME (170 employed): $44,660 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,780
  • 25th percentile: $36,800
  • 50th percentile (median): $44,280
  • 75th percentile: $53,040
  • 90th percentile: $59,680

Manchester, NH (420 employed): $61,970 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $38,880
  • 25th percentile: $46,590
  • 50th percentile (median): $57,840
  • 75th percentile: $82,600
  • 90th percentile: $92,900

Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division (240 employed): $50,670 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $34,460
  • 25th percentile: $42,800
  • 50th percentile (median): $52,480
  • 75th percentile: $58,780
  • 90th percentile: $63,570

Northern New Hampshire Nonmetropolitan Area (60 employed): $42,350 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,560
  • 25th percentile: $37,940
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,260
  • 75th percentile: $47,650
  • 90th percentile: $51,030

Portsmouth, NH-ME (250 employed): $53,390 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $38,820
  • 25th percentile: $47,560
  • 50th percentile (median): $54,120
  • 75th percentile: $60,340
  • 90th percentile: $67,390

Southwest New Hampshire Nonmetropolitan Area (130 employed): $50,920 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $36,730
  • 25th percentile: $41,640
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,590
  • 75th percentile: $60,130
  • 90th percentile: $73,190

West Central New Hampshire Nonmetropolitan Area (160 employed): $45,370 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $32,430
  • 25th percentile: $37,610
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,460
  • 75th percentile: $54,110
  • 90th percentile: $60,230

Lastly, here were the salaries for the aforementioned eight regions in hourly terms:

Central New Hampshire Nonmetropolitan Area (150 HVAC workers): $23.60/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $18.35/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.73/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $23.45/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $26.72/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $29.27/hr.

Dover-Durham, NH-ME (170 employed): $21.47/hour avg.

  • 10th percentile: $15.76/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.69/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $21.29/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $25.50/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $28.69/hr.

Manchester, NH (420 employed): $29.79/hour avg.

  • 10th percentile: $18.69/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $22.40/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $27.81/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $39.71/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $44.67/hr.

Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division (240 employed): $24.36/hour avg.

  • 10th percentile: $16.57/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.58/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $25.23/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.26/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.08/hr.

Northern New Hampshire Nonmetropolitan Area (60 employed): $20.36/hour avg.

  • 10th percentile: $15.65/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $18.24/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $20.80/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $22.91/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $24.53/hr.

Portsmouth, NH-ME (250 employed): $25.67/hour avg.

  • 10th percentile: $18.66/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $22.87/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $26.02/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $29.01/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $32.40/hr.

Southwest New Hampshire Nonmetropolitan Area (130 employed): $24.48/hour avg.

  • 10th percentile: $17.66/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.02/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.88/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.91/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $35.53/hr.

West Central New Hampshire Nonmetropolitan Area (160 employed): $21.81/hour avg.

  • 10th percentile: $15.59/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $18.08/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $21.86/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $26.01/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $28.96/hr.

HVAC Training in NH

Prior to beginning work as an HVAC technician, mechanic, or installer in NH, a person must receive appropriate training. Traditionally there are two main entities which accredit HVAC schools nationwide: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). There were no programs accredited by either of these two organizations as of December 2016, although the New Hampshire Board of Safety provided a list of heating technician training resources and programs.

For example, Manchester Community College offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree program in HVAC technology. As part of the curricula, students receive preparation for several certifications such as the EPA Section 608, NORA Bronze, OSHA 10, and NH Gas Piping Installation. Classes include electricity theory; fundamentals of refrigeration; heating; warm air & steam systems; hydronic systems; and a capstone project. This 74-credit program typically takes two years to complete. Additionally, MCC offers certificates in air conditioning & refrigeration; electrical technology; heating systems; and advanced HVAC skills. The AAS program costs approximately $16,796 total.

The New Hampshire School of Mechanical Trades—also in Manchester—provides several certificate courses. For example, one of its 120-hour HVAC courses costs $2,000 and focuses on residential and commercial air conditioning units with preparation for the EPA Section 608 certification; another 120-class (also $2,000) focuses on becoming an oil heat technician and provides preparation for the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) certification exam. For a more comprehensive course, aspiring HVAC workers might consider the 120-hour HVAC/R program or the 240-hour HVAC & oil heat technician combo course.

Lastly, the Granite State Trade School of Raymond not only provides distance-based learning, but also has a two-year, on-campus evening course comprising 300 hours of education total. Instruction covers topics such as thermodynamics, refrigerant cycles, measuring devices, heat pumps, split systems, and more. It costs $6,800 total, making it one of the more affordable four-semester programs in the country.

For some prospective HVAC students in NH, attending an on-campus program can be difficult, particularly for people living in more remote regions of the state. Luckily there are some e-learning opportunities available. To learn about the distance-based training options available, check out the online HVAC schools page. 

New Hampshire HVAC Licensure & Certification

In addition to getting the proper training, HVAC professionals in New Hampshire are strongly advised to seek out proper credentialing prior to beginning work as well. There is one mandatory certification for all people nationally who work with refrigerants, the EPA Section 608 certification, of which there are subtypes: type 1 (small appliance), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal).

There are several other organizations which offer national credentialing in this field as well. For example, HVAC Excellence has two main programs—Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology (HEAT) and HEAT Plus—as well as other more specialized certifications in areas such as heat oil combustion and systems diagnostics troubleshooting.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) also has specialized certifications which vary by proficiency level and subfields. In its installation-specific certification program, for example, there are five subfields: air conditioning, air distribution, heat pump, oil heating, and gas heating.

Additionally, the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) has specialized credentialing in commercial refrigeration, domestic service, and dynamic compression, to name a few areas.

In short, there is a wealth of national credentials available, and interested HVAC professionals are advised to check out the main HVAC certifications page for all of the details.

Lastly, as mentioned in the introduction, the New Hampshire Department of Safety has a voluntary certification for oil heating technicians. The application requires:

  • Completed application (DSFM 87 form)
  • Proof of identity (e.g., driver’s license)
  • Proof of 4,000 hours of field experience
  • Affidavit signed by employer
  • Copy of at least one qualifying certificate (e.g., NORA, NATE, etc.)
  • Fee ($50)

To maintain these voluntary licenses, HVAC workers must complete six hours of code update during every two year renewal cycle. Also, since local ordinances and permitting may vary between cities, HVAC workers should check with local authorities to ensure that they have all necessary regional registrations, licenses, or other necessary credentialing.