Maryland HVAC Training Programs & Certification

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There is a wealth of opportunity at HVAC schools in Maryland, a state known for its groundbreaking technologies in this field. In fact, the Baltimore Sun reported that as of 2018, more people in Maryland worked in clean energy than in the state’s famous crab industry. Clearly, Maryland is dedicated to the technological advancement needed to keep the state running for decades to come.

Not only does the Old Line State boast some of the most exciting developments in HVAC technologies, it also has strong professional associations in the industry. By illustration, the Heating & Air Conditioning Contractors of Maryland (HACC) is based in Baltimore and advocates for the interests of people in this field, hosts a competitive apprenticeship program, and offers several training sessions annually. It is important to become integrated in trade networking since MD has some unique laws regulating these workers.

According to the Maryland Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, HVAC technicians and mechanics must be licensed in order to perform work in this state, a process which typically involves completing an apprenticeship. One of the benefits of completing an apprenticeship as opposed to a formal educational program is that apprentices generally get paid as they accumulate their on-the-job skills. Maryland is one of the few states which requires its HVAC workers to have at least an apprentice-level license with the Board to provide services.

So what do HVAC technicians in MD do? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that these professionals diagnose and repair issues with heating, cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration equipment; inspect HVAC systems regularly; offer preventative maintenance on system components; keep on top of legislation and licensure requirements; and educate consumers on latest technologies, including how to make machines more energy-efficient. Finally, this field is rapidly growing and is expected to provide ample job opportunities in MD and beyond in years to come.

Read on to discover the bright career outlook in this field, as well as to learn about the salary prospects, accredited HVAC apprenticeships and training in MD, and unique licensing procedures in the state.

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Demand For HVAC Technicians in Maryland (MD)

Fortunately for aspiring HVAC installers and mechanics in MD, the salary prospects are relatively bright, particularly for an occupation that does not generally require a four-year college degree. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2019) found that the 342,040 HVAC workers in the country had an annual average salary (annual mean wage) of $51,420. The BLS (2020) projected a 4 percent increase in job openings for HVAC mechanics and installers across the nation between 2019 and 2029.

In Maryland, HVAC technicians work in a range of environments, including offices, homes, schools, factories, stores, hospitals, and other types of buildings. While some work traditional hours, others may be called upon to work evenings, weekends, holidays, or overtime in order to satisfy customer demands, particularly during the summer and winter months when temperatures hit extremes.

It’s important to note that while all precautions are taken to protect the safety of people in this industry, it still has one of the highest rates of injury and illness among occupations (BLS 2020). That said, it’s a field that offers relatively stable employment opportunities since an increasing number of HVAC employers offer annual service contracts to customers, thereby keeping a steady flow of work for their technicians, installers, and maintenance employees.

In Maryland, there’s an abundance of organizations that offer employment opportunities in this industry. As proof of point, Monster (Nov. 2020) posted 708 job openings at companies such as Synerfac Technical Staffing, Duct Works, CyberCoders, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Spherion, Honeywell, Aramark, and Bright Horizon Construction, to name a few.

Indeed (Nov. 2020) posted 448 offerings through JLL, Frederick County Public Schools, Howard County Public School System, Centrica, Lennox International, Sunbelt Rentals, Clark Service Group, Daikin Applied, and AboveAir Technologies. In sum, there’s no shortage of openings in MD for HVAC workers.

HVAC Technician Salary in Maryland (MD)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019), there were 342,040 HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide with an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $51,420 and 7,320 HVAC mechanics and installers in Maryland with an average annual salary (annual mean wage) of $60,860. In more detailed terms, the BLS (May 2019) reported the following salary percentiles:

United States Maryland
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 7,320
Annual mean wage $51,420 $60,860
10th percentile $30,610 $36,190
25th percentile $37,660 $45,130
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $58,710
75th percentile $62,070 $74,210
90th percentile $77,920 $91,550

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

  • 10th percentile: $31,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,775
  • 90th percentile: $75,000

The BLS figures are generally considered more reliable due to the organization’s methods of data collection and relatively high sample size. 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 2020) found that Maryland was the 8th most expensive state.

HVAC Apprenticeships in Maryland (MD)

In Maryland, the preparation to become a licensed HVAC professional is distinct from most of the country. While most states recommend completing an HVAC training program accredited by an established entity such as HVAC Excellence or Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), MD typically requires that its HVAC workers complete an apprenticeship program instead.

In fact, there are no programs in MD accredited by either of these established entities, but pursuing an apprenticeship has some advantages. First, it is a very hands-on, empirical education to learn the tricks of the trade. Second, it can be a way to earn money while getting valuable on-the-job skills under the guidance of a mentor.

Maryland Division of Labor and Industry

The Maryland Division of Labor and Industry (DLLR) provides an apprenticeship and training page to connect aspiring HVAC professionals with sponsoring organizations. While completing one of these programs in MD, HVAC apprentices typically get a percentage of a journeyperson’s salary while they gain mastery in the field.

In MD, HVAC techs are one of 230 registered occupations with these types of training programs. In order to be considered an “apprenticeable occupation,” it must take at least 2,000 hours of training to gain entry-level proficiency. An apprenticeship also generally involves the completion of at least 144 hours of didactic instruction.

Please note that HVAC apprenticeship programs in MD typically take four years to complete. The DLLR serves as the main training-approval entity for apprenticeship programs within MD. To qualify for these programs, a candidate must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Be a high school graduate (or have a GED)
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have the physical ability to perform the job
  • Possess the required tools of the trade

Heating & Air Conditioning Contractors of Maryland

The Heating & Air Conditioning Contractors of Maryland (HACC) is a trade association in this field and one of the renowned sponsoring organizations for apprenticeships. Established in 1996, this program trains technicians to work in the HVAC industry and features courses such as basic electricity; trade math; fundamentals of brazing and soldering; AC/DC circuits, electric motors and starters; HVAC controls; wiring and testing; advanced refrigeration and pipe-fitting; boilers and hydronics; and air distribution systems.

The program requires four years to complete and also includes a classroom lectures component along with on-the-job training comprising 8,000 hours. During the program, apprentices may assist with tasks such as carrying materials, cleaning furnaces, insulating refrigerant lines, cutting and soldering pipes, and checking electronic and electrical circuits.

ABC Baltimore

Associated Builders and Contractors, ABC Baltimore, also offers a Maryland-approved HVAC/R apprenticeship program. The training is spread over several modules. Credit for the coursework may be transferred to colleges for those who wish to earn a degree. HVAC installers and mechanics work on HVAC/R systems to control air quality and temperature in buildings.

This program delves into topics such as introduction to HVAC, trade mathematics, soldering and brazing, basic electricity, introduction to cooling, introduction to heating, air distribution systems, commercial airside systems, introduction to the hydronic systems, air quality equipment, and basic electronics, among others.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Maryland (MD)

Community College of Baltimore County

For those interested in a more traditional college degree program, the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) offers several HVAC programs. These programs are designed to prepare students for careers in HVAC and related energy technologies industries.

The college offers the following programs:

  • An associate of applied science degree in HVAC
  • Advanced HVAC and Energy Technology certificate
  • Basic HVAC and Energy Technology certificate
  • Building Automation Systems certificate

The advanced HVAC and energy technology certificate is made up of 13 credit-hours and includes courses such as residential load calculations and air distribution, EPA refrigeration certification, advanced HVAC electricity, commercial control systems, and alternative and renewable energy sources.

The 17 credit-hour basic HVAC and energy technology certificate includes courses such as fundamentals of refrigeration, HVAC/R safety, tools and methods, EPA refrigeration certification, comfort cooling systems, basic HVAC electricity, and heating systems.

The building automation systems (BAS) certificate consists of 26 credit-hours. Some of the courses in the curriculum include commercial control systems, commercial HVAC systems, construction blueprint reading, introduction to data communications, advanced HVAC electricity, and basic HVAC electricity.

Finally, the AAS degree program comprises 60 credit-hours, including all courses from the basic HVAC and energy tech certificate, with additional coursework in construction blueprint reading, residential load calculations and air distribution, fundamentals of communication, advanced HVAC electricity, and finite mathematics and modeling, among others.

Students through these programs are trained to identify and work with advanced HVAC systems, design heating and cooling systems for residential and commercial use, use appropriate servicing methods, and understand the cycle of refrigeration.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificates (two semesters); AAS (four semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: Baltimore County, Maryland residents, in-county ($122 per credit-hour); Maryland residents, in-state, out-of-county ($241 per credit-hour)

North American Trade Schools

North American Trade Schools heating, refrigeration, ventilation, and air conditioning technology program provides students with entry-level skills and HVAC/R training for repairing and installing heating, refrigeration, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. The focus of the program is on metal fabricating, installing, diagnosing, and repairing HVAC/R equipment systems, HVAC/R electrical requirements, understanding of HVAC/R accessories and parts, and ductwork.

Comprising 68 credit-hours, the program curriculum includes courses such as practical HVAC applications, electricity for HVAC, heating systems and heat pumps, basic cooling systems, service and install concepts, air systems and planned maintenance, print reading, and sheet metal to name a few.

On successful completion, graduates will receive the EPA 608 Certificate and other specialty certifications valued in the field. They will gain a fundamental understanding of HVAC/R. Graduates will be ready to take up positions such as parts and counter person, building maintenance, air conditioning installation and service technician, furnace installer, including sheet metal fabricating and refrigeration technician.

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Accreditation: ACCSC (Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 40 weeks
  • Estimated Tuition: $18,418

Lincoln College of Technology

Lincoln College of Technology offers a lower division certificate program in air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating technology with day and evening classes available. The primary objective of this program is to introduce students to green technology and how it can be applied to HVAC systems. Students also learn about refrigerant recovery and recycling and are encouraged to take the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exam.

This 45 credit-hour program includes courses such as electricity, introduction to climate control systems, basic refrigeration systems, air conditioning design and layout, air conditioning systems, commercial refrigeration control, warm air heating, commercial/industrial refrigeration and air conditioning lab, and energy efficiency and green technology systems. After completing this certificate, graduates will be qualified to seek entry-level positions as technicians.

Students through this program will gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to troubleshoot, repair, and service residential and commercial indoor HVAC air management systems. Graduates who have additional experience may eventually be able to take up independent work projects, or supervise other technicians or teams, or start their own HVAC business.

  • Location: Columbia, MD
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Day (40 weeks); evening (74 weeks)
  • Estimated Tuition: $23,220

HVAC Licensing & Certification in Maryland (MD)

There is a range of established national certifications available in HVAC from organizations such as North American Technician Excellence (NATE), HVAC Excellence, and Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES). The one federally mandated credential for HVAC workers—particularly ones who deal with refrigeration—is the EPA Section 608 certification. This certification is typically acquired during an apprenticeship program in MD.

To learn more about these national credentials, please visit the HVAC certifications page.

In Maryland, the State Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors regulates HVAC licenses and requires these workers to have a contractor credential prior to working independently. In addition to the HVAC Apprenticeship license, there are currently four types of HVAC worker licenses available in MD:

Journeyman License

Prerequisites: Hold an Apprentice license at the time of application, have at least 1,875 hours of experience in the year prior to the application, pass the Journeyman exam with a score of at least 70 percent, fulfill insurance requirements

Limited Contractor License

Prerequisites: Hold a Journeyman license (or higher) with at least two years of experience under an HVAC/R master, have at least 1,000 hours of experience in the year prior to the application, pass the Limited Contractor exam with a score of at least 70 percent, fulfill insurance requirements

Master Restricted License

Prerequisites: Hold a Journeyman license (or higher) with at least three years of experience under an HVAC/R master, have at least 1,875 hours of experience in the year prior to the application, pass the Master Restricted exam with a score of at least 70 percent, fulfill insurance requirements

Master License

Prerequisites: Hold a Journeyman license (or higher) with at least three years of experience under an HVAC/R master, have at least 1,875 hours of experience in the year prior to the application, pass the Master exam with a score of at least 70 percent, fulfill insurance requirements

Please note that only those with the Master license are authorized to perform all HVAC systems and components. Some journeymen licensees have “restricted status,” which means that they are authorized to do work on a particular aspect of HVAC systems (e.g., hydronic heating, forced air heating, air-conditioning, refrigeration, ventilation).

To connect with a local apprenticeship sponsor and learn more about how to get started in an HVAC career in MD, please visit the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program (MATP) page.

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).