HVAC Training Schools & Certifications in Delaware (DE)

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Although Delaware (DE) enjoys relatively mild winters compared to some neighboring states, the Small Wonder has an impressive track record in developing cutting-edge heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R or HVAC) technologies. ACHR News reported that tech start-up Xergy of Seaford partnered with the University of Delaware to invent an innovative, new method of refrigeration.

In research funded by the US Department of Energy, this team replaced the usual mechanical vapor compressor with an electrochemical system, an advancement that has made these units more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. UD’s Dr. Ajay Prasad—the Director of the school’s Center for Fuel Cell Research—was instrumental in this breakthrough and the team hopes to bring these developments to commercial and residential systems in coming years.

In addition to a thriving research community, Delaware also boasts a wealth of HVAC companies, contractors, and professionals. So what do these skilled workers in DE do? HVAC Classes analyzed common responsibilities across three sets of Delaware’s HVAC job postings (Monster, Indeed, and CareerBuilder), and found that these workers typically do the following: install, inspect, & maintain HVAC systems; troubleshoot & repair various components in commercial and/or residential HVAC equipment (e.g., heat pumps, electric motors, hermetic compressors, intake & exhaust fans, humidifiers, controls, boilers, furnaces, ducts, ductless splits, economizers, etc.); interpret & implement instructions from blueprints; calculate heat loads & losses; maintain active permits, certifications, and licenses; engage in continued learning through events, conferences & classes; make recommendations to clients to increase energy efficiency; keep detailed service records, and calibrate systems to manufacturers’ recommendations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2020) adds that nearly 7 percent of HVAC workers nationwide were self-employed in 2019 while a majority (66 percent) were employed by plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning contractors. Some of these skilled professionals work normal business hours, but others may be asked to work evenings, weekends, or holidays according to client needs, particularly during the busy winter season.

Also, since HVAC systems increasingly come with servicing contracts and need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, employment is relatively stable in this industry. And there is even evidence that this field may be growing more rapidly in Delaware than in other US states.

Read on to discover the bright employment prospects for HVAC workers in DE, as well as to learn about the expected salaries, accredited training programs, and licensing information in the state.

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Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Delaware

As noted above, not only is the nationwide employment outlook in HVAC bright, but there is some evidence that there will be even greater opportunities in Delaware. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019) estimated a 4 percent increase in HVAC openings across the country between 2019 and 2029, a figure which is as fast as the average percentage growth projected across all occupations during that period (4 percent). Projections Central (2021)—a partner of the US Department of Labor—anticipated that there would be a 10.8 percent increase in HVAC positions across Delaware between 2018 and 2028.

There’s no shortage of opportunities for qualified HVAC professionals in Delaware. As proof of point, Monster (2021) had 69 relevant postings in the state, advertising HVAC opportunities at places such as Staffmark, Apex Systems, Boulden Brothers, Horizon Services, and others. Additionally, Indeed (2021) provided 104 openings in HVAC in DE including positions at Lennox International, Hyett Refrigeration, FMC Corporation, and Rite-Air Mechanical Services. In sum, there is expected to be no shortage of work in this field in the years to come.

While these prospects are promising, it is important to note that HVAC workers in DE and nationwide incur a higher-than-average rate of injury on the job compared to other US occupations. These workers are more likely to suffer burns, muscle tears, electrical shock, and other problems. This is due to the nature of the work, which involves working with heavy equipment, sensitive chemicals, and electrical systems. However, with the proper training and use of safety equipment, these issues can generally be kept to a minimum.

Delaware HVAC Technician Salaries

For a profession that typically requires only one-to-two years of postsecondary training, HVAC workers are relatively well-compensated, especially in Delaware. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019) reported that there were 342,040 HVAC workers across the country with an annual average salary (annual mean wage) of $51,420; in DE, the 1,780 HVAC workers enjoyed an average salary of $52,470, a bit higher than the national average. In more detailed terms, here were the salary percentiles in this occupation in the US and Delaware specifically:

United States Delaware
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 1,780
Annual mean wage $51,420 $52,470
10th percentile $30,610 $36,530
25th percentile $37,660 $42,670
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $50,080
75th percentile $62,070 $62,740
90th percentile $77,920 $73,510

Salary figures do vary slightly by another source of data. Payscale—an aggregator of self-reported salaries—found the following percentiles among its HVAC respondents nationwide in December 2020:

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $48,246
  • 90th percentile: $75,000

As noted above, the average salary for HVAC workers in Delaware is slightly higher than the nation’s average salary. As with any salary projections, taking into account the cost of living is also important. As such, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2021) found that DE was ranked 36th in affordability, making it more expensive than the majority of states. For HVAC technicians this means relatively high salaries may still not go as far as lower salaries in other states, so that is something to keep in mind.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Delaware

Before seeking employment or Delaware licensure in HVAC, it is crucial to receive the proper training. Some aspiring HVAC professionals choose to enroll in an apprenticeship—a list of which is available from the Delaware Division of Industrial Affairs—while others complete a training program.

There are currently two predominant accreditation organizations for HVAC schools and programs: Two organizations evaluate and approve HVAC programs. The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) has certified one Delaware college. The program has been profiled below. The other accrediting entity, HVAC Excellence, has not approved any programs in the state.

To learn more about the accreditation process, visit the site for either program or the main HVAC Classes page.

Delaware Technical Community College

At DTCC’s Georgetown campus, students can complete either a diploma or an associate of applied science (AAS) program in HVAC-R (DTCC terms this Refrigeration Heating AC).

These programs provide students with the skills and knowledge needed for succeeding in this HVAC field. Offering a combination of hands-on training in state-of-the-art labs and classroom lectures, these programs prepare students for professional career opportunities. Students in these programs will also gain the skills and knowledge needed for successfully passing industry competency exams.

The AAS program requires successful completion of at least 66 credits, while the diploma requires 35 credits. Classes in both of these programs include the fundamentals of refrigeration, introduction to energy management, residential climate control, contemporary mathematics, industry competency exam (ICE) preparation, sustainability & society, air distribution & balancing, and building service systems.

Delaware Technical Community College also offers an HVAC maintenance technician certificate at its Stanton campus.

  • Location: Dover, Georgetown, Stanton, and Wilmington, DE
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; PAHRA
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (4 semesters); Diploma (2 semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: In-state ($152.50 per credit); out-of-state ($381.25 per credit)

Delaware Skills Center

The Delaware Skills Center of New Castle provides a 12-week HVAC program that boasts three solid weeks of on-the-job shadowing with experienced professionals. The program includes a combination of classroom instruction (which comprises HVAC, refrigeration, electrical, heating, piping, air distribution, and brazing, among others) and hands-on experience in labs which involves a job shadowing experience.

Made up of 420 clock hours, the curriculum, which is designed for those who have some HVAC experience but have not yet earned HVAC certifications, comprises units in HVAC installation, HVAC service technology, home energy auditing, weatherization, and commercial & residential building maintenance. Other topics covered in this rigorous hands-on program include reviews of safety protocols, blueprint reading, geothermal heat pumps, and AHRI Efficiency Standards. Those who complete this program may be eligible for several certifications, including:

  • NCCER (Level 1 & Core)
  • EPA Section 608 Certification
  • First Year Apprenticeship Certification
  • OSHA (10-hour)
  • Gas Tite Certification
  • R 410 A Refrigerant Certification

To be eligible for the program, students need to be at least 18 years of age, have a valid Delaware driver’s license, possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, and pass a criminal background check and drug screening.

  • Location: New Castle, DE
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: The class is free for residents of Delaware. There is a $140 fee to cover the cost of Background Check and Drug Screening.

POLYTECH Adult Education

Another HVAC/R training program in DE is available at Polytech of Woodside. The program introduces students to HVAC and refrigeration theories, practices, and the latest technological developments preparing them in installing, maintaining, and repairing various types of HVAC/R systems in commercial and residential environments.

Students completing the apprenticeship program that consists of four years of HVAC-related instruction and on-the-job training (8,000 hours) are eligible to earn a Journeyperson credential through the Delaware Department of Labor.

Polytech hosts an abundance of evening HVAC programs that impart fundamentals of the field such as how to work with gas & oil-burning furnaces, commercial & residential systems, heat pumps, motors, compressors, valves, tubing, hydronic & steam heating, and more.

  • Location: Woodside, DE
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: 634 Hours
  • Estimated Tuition: $349 to $398 per class

Dawn Career Institute

Dawn Career Institute offers an HVAC technician diploma program training students in proper safety practices to design, build, and maintain various types of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, heat pump, and refrigeration accessories. Graduates are prepared with basic knowledge in residential HVAC/R careers. Students complete an externship practicing the skills learned throughout the program.

Made up of 43 credits, the program includes courses such as the theory of heat, HVAC concepts, HVAC electrical systems and circuits, HVAC mechanical systems and motors, field operations, automatic control systems, electric and gas heat, and refrigeration concepts, among others.

Graduates will be ready to work for residential customers, or commercial businesses such as hospitals, schools, office buildings, retail stores, and factories.

  • Location: Wilmington, DE
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 36 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: $15,825

Delcastle Technical High School

The heating, ventilation & air-conditioning program at Delcastle Technical High School covers training on the installation of electrical power wiring, refrigerant piping, temperature control and monitoring devices, as well as the interpretation of design specifications, electrical schematics, and blueprints, and the interpretation of E.P.A. refrigerant laws.

Upon graduation, graduates can take up roles such as air conditioning installer, furnace installer, evaporative-cooler installer, sheet metal duct installer, and oil burner installer and service.

  • Location: Wilmington, DE
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Expected Time to Completion: N/A
  • Estimated Tuition: N/A

Lastly, for some aspiring HVAC workers in DE, it can be difficult to attend an on-campus program. For those that live in more rural regions of the state or have time commitments that prevent them from completing a traditional, brick-and-mortar course sequence there is a wide range of distance-based HVAC programs available.

To learn about the details of web-based instruction in this field, check out the online HVAC programs page.

HVAC Licensing in Delaware

In addition to completing an HVAC training program in DE, these professionals also must receive the proper credentialing before seeking employment. There is one mandatory credential for all people nationwide who work with refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 certification. This is due to the environmentally sensitive nature of chemicals involved in refrigeration, as well as to protect workers, ensuring that they’re educated in the safe disposal and transportation of these substances.

Most HVAC training programs will include training for section 608 certification and many include the certification test as part of their program. There are four kinds of this credential which vary by type of equipment used:

  • Type 1 (small appliance)
  • Type 2 (high-pressure appliances)
  • Type 3 (low-pressure appliances)
  • Type 4 (universal)

There are other national certifications available through entities including North American Technician Excellence (NATE), HVAC Excellence, and the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES).

To discover the array of national, competency-based HVAC credentials available, check out the details on the main HVAC certifications page.

In Delaware, it is also necessary to have the proper state licenses before working in this field. According to Delaware’s Title 24, only “master HVACR (restricted) licensees” may provide HVACR services without supervision. Apprentices, journeymen, mechanics, and others may work in this field, as long as the work is overseen by a qualified professional and they have the proper training certificate (e.g., journeyman certificate).

In DE, the main state licensing organization in this field is the Delaware Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Examiners.

To become a master HVACR licensee, candidates must have:

  • Journeyman’s certificate from any state following the completion of a qualifying training program and two years of experience; or seven years of experience and have completed a Board-issued equivalency test
  • EPA Section 608 certification
  • A clean record
  • Processing fee made out to the “State of Delaware” ($141)
  • Passing score (70 percent or higher) on a comprehensive examination

There are two subtypes of state licensure: Master HVACR and Master HVACR Restricted. The former is a universal license type, whereas the latter must be restricted to one of the following specializations:

  • Heating (forced air systems, ventilation & gas piping)
  • Heating (hydronic systems & gas piping)
  • Commercial hood systems
  • Refrigeration
  • Air conditioning
  • Gas piping

These licenses must be renewed every two years by October 31st of even years. Since continuing education (CE) requirements for renewals vary, check out the current policies on the main DE Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Examiners website.

Finally, local laws and permitting may differ within Delaware as well. Before completing any HVACR work, professionals are strongly advised to contact the local governments to ensure they hold all necessary credentials.


Farheen Gani

Farheen is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).