HVAC Schools in Maine
Before seeking work in Maine’s thriving HVAC industry, people in this field must receive the proper training. Some aspiring professionals choose to complete apprenticeship programs that last from three to five years, comprising at least 144 hours of technical education and hands-on instruction under the guidance of qualified HVAC workers, amounting to 2,000+ hours of on-the-job experience. Others may complete a more formal training program through one of Maine’s many HVAC schools.
These HVAC programs last from six months to two years and typically involve both didactic coursework on the fundamentals and opportunities to put one’s skills to the test through externships, internships, or lab sessions. To qualify for either an apprentice program or an HVAC training school, candidates must generally be 18 or older; possess a clean record; submit a copy of their high school transcript with proof of qualifying coursework (e.g., math, English); and have a driver’s license.
First, there is a wealth of national organizations which provide apprenticeship programs or resources for aspiring HVAC professionals who are interested in apprenticeships, including the following:
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America, Inc.
- Associated Builders and Contractors
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association
Please reference individual websites to learn about opportunities specific to Maine.
Second, there is also an abundance of training programs within the Pine Tree State. The traditional accreditation agencies for HVAC schools are HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA); as of April 2021, there were no programs accredited by either agency in ME. That said, there are still training options for people aspiring to join this high-growth industry.
Southern Maine Community College
Southern Maine Community College has campuses in South Portland and Brunswick and offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in heating, air conditioning & refrigeration, or heating & plumbing. These hands-on practical programs prepare students in installing, repairing, and maintaining HVAC/R equipment. Students learn to read blueprints and get a complete understanding of electronics and temperature control, and about the construction and components of HVAC/R systems.
With a unique focus on green technologies, SMCC’s programs feature coursework in residential heating systems; basic refrigeration; electronics for HVAC; print reading; introduction to welding; system design & industrial heating; and various general education classes. The AAS degrees typically take 4.5 full-time semesters to complete (65 credits).
SMCC also provides individual certificate programs in heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and plumbing. Impressively, 92 percent of SMCC graduates secure employment or continue their studies within nine months of graduation.
On successful completion of the program, graduates will be ready for entry-level employment in the HVAC/Plumbing fields. They will be experts at assembling steam, hot water, and warm air systems, troubleshooting and repairing fuel and electrical systems, assembling, charging, and operating HVAC/R systems, and recovering, recycling, and working safely with refrigerants.
- Location: South Portland, ME; Brunswick, ME
- Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
- Expected Time to Completion: 4.5 full-time semesters
- Estimated Tuition: Maine Residents ($96 per credit); non-residents ($192 per credit)
Northeast Technical Institute
The Northeast Technical Institute of Scarborough and Bangor has part-time and full-time programs for prospective workers in HVAC. Students at NTI may qualify for various certifications such as the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) credential and the CETP gas/propane certification.
The full-time HVAC/R diploma program offers hands-on training opportunities at Northeast Technical Institute’s HVAC/R labs. It provides students with the knowledge and theory required for installing, maintaining, and repairing light commercial and residential systems.
Comprising 810 hours, this program will allow students to specialize in a specific area of HVAC/R. Students can specialize in refrigeration or heating systems or; installation only. Combining hands-on training with classroom instruction, the program provides students with a detailed understanding of both the important current issues and fundamentals in the HVAC/R industry.
Students in this program will learn about safety measures, develop skills in electrical and mechanical applications, perform corrective and preventive maintenance to gas, electric, and oil furnaces, and develop an understanding of the different types of HVAC/R systems.
- Location: Scarborough, Bangor, and Auburn, ME
- Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education
- Expected Time to Completion: 27 weeks
- Estimated Tuition: Contact Institute for details
Eastern Maine Community College
Eastern Maine Community College of Bangor offers an AAS HVAC degree with hands-on instruction for competency exams such as the Limited Electrician in Refrigeration license; EPA Section 608 (refrigerants); Oil Burner Journeyman license; and the Propane/Natural Gas license (CETP). Students are provided with opportunities to become proficient in installing, maintaining, and repairing HVAC/R equipment.
Made up of 64 credits, the curriculum includes courses such as refrigeration components & physical principles, refrigeration systems & flow controls, electricity, technical mathematics, heat pump systems, gas heating systems, HVAC systems, and commercial refrigeration systems.
Graduates will be able to find employment in a variety of industrial and commercial settings, with air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration contractors, and in sales positions. They will be able to follow National and State codes involving HVAC/R equipment, work safely with tools and test instruments for servicing HVAC/R equipment, apply the knowledge and skills for pipe fitting techniques related to brazing, pipe threading, and soldering.
Apart from the AAS degree, the college also offers a refrigeration certificate which comprises 34 credits.
- Location: Bangor, ME
- Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
- Expected Time to Completion: AAS (2 years); Certificate (1 year)
- Estimated Tuition: In-state ($96 per credit); out-of-state ($192 per credit)
The MEMA Technical Education Center (mentioned in the introduction) also provides preparation for several trade-specific certification exams, including the HVAC Pro certification and EPA Section 608 exams, as well as specialized training in gas and propane heating.
Lastly, some students may find it difficult to attend an on-campus program. For those aspiring HVAC professionals, there are various web-based classes available. To learn about how to join one of these convenient programs across the country, check out the online HVAC programs page.