HVAC Training Programs in New Hampshire – Degrees & Certifications

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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 support these skilled professionals in their line of work, offering legal advocacy pertinent to issues in 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 of this page. Some HVAC workers choose to specialize in a type of equipment or method, while others have more broad-based skill sets. Regardless of 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 2019) predicted a 13 percent explosion in HVAC job openings between 2018 and 2028, more than double the average growth projected across all occupations during that time (5 percent). With the expected addition of 46,300 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 work for the professionals that know how to do this. Second, regular service contracts and manufacturer recommendations for maintenance lend themselves to a thriving employment landscape for HVAC workers. Lastly, NH has very cold winters and as a result, there is typically 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 in NH. 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 (July 2020) had 79 relevant job openings in HVAC at places such as Air Solutions & Balancing, Mechanical Air New England inc, ABM Industries, and C&W Services. Monster (July 2020) boasted additional openings with employers including Alpine Mechanical Services, Thermo Dynamics, and Lennox International. In sum, there’s ample evidence that opportunities in this field are on the rise in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire (NH) HVAC Tech & Installler 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 (May 2019) reported that the 342,040 HVAC mechanics and installers around the country had an annual average salary(Annual mean wage) of $51,420, only slightly lower than the average salary for all occupations (including people with bachelor’s degrees and beyond) at $53,490 (BLS May 2019).

Following are the more detailed salary percentiles for HVAC professionals nationwide as compared to New Hampshire (BLS May 2019):

United States New Hampshire
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 2,040
Annual mean wage $51,420 $54,270
10th percentile $30,610 $34,940
25th percentile $37,660 $42,990
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $54,650
75th percentile $62,070 $63,700
90th percentile $77,920 $75,740

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (July 2020), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $30,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $47,128
  • 90th percentile: $74,000

As noted above, the average salary for HVAC workers in New Hampshire is slightly higher than that of the rest of the nation. 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 NH 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.

The BLS designated six regions within New Hampshire for which employment data is available. The 380 HVAC workers in the Portsmouth, NH area earned the highest average salary (annual mean wage) in the state, with a reported average of $57,800 per year.

HVAC Training in New Hampshire

Prior to beginning work as an HVAC technician, mechanic, or installer in NH, a person must receive appropriate training. Currently, there are two main entities that are responsible for accrediting HVAC schools nationwide: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). There are no programs in NH accredited by either of these two organizations as of July 2020, although the New Hampshire Board of Safety does provide a list of heating technician training resources and programs.

Manchester Community College

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. Apart from an associate of applied science (AAS) degree, Manchester Community College also offers the following certificates: advanced HVAC certificate, air conditioning/refrigeration certificate, and heating services certificate.

The advanced HVAC certificate is made up of 24 credit-hours. It includes courses such as testing and balancing, DDC and building automation controls, gas equipment installations and service theory, and advanced HVAC.

The air conditioning/refrigeration certificate consists of 26 credit-hours. Courses include electricity (theory and lab), the fundamentals of refrigeration (theory and lab), residential and commercial air conditioning and heat pumps (theory and lab), and commercial refrigeration (theory and lab).

The heating services certificate comprises 26 credit-hours. Coursework includes topics such as related electricity, fundamentals of heating, fundamentals of gas heating and piping installation, hydronic systems, and warm air and steam system.

Finally, the AAS degree comprising 67 credit-hours includes coursework similar to that of the air conditioning/refrigeration and heating services certificate, with the addition of introduction to HVAC systems, MCC essentials, college composition, and other electives.

Students who graduate from this program will be able to read and interpret electrical diagrams, design and install HVAC systems, diagnose, repair faults and perform maintenance on HVAC systems, and demonstrate positive work traits and good customer skills. They can take up opportunities as HVAC contractors, fuel providers, property management companies, gas utilities, manufacturers, hospitals, and system design.

  • Location: Manchester, NH
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS degree, air conditioning/refrigeration certificate, and heating services certificate (two years); advanced HVAC certificates (one year)
  • Estimated Tuition: $215 per credit-hour

New Hampshire School of Mechanical Trades

The New Hampshire School of Mechanical Trades—also in Manchester—provides several certificate courses. For example, one of its 120-hour HVAC courses focuses on residential and commercial air conditioning units with preparation for the EPA Section 608 certification; another 120-class 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 and oil heat technician combo course.

The air conditioning course focuses on residential and light commercial air conditioning units and is designed for students who have little or no experience but desire a career in the HVAC industry.

The oil heat technician course has been developed over several years to provide students with the necessary knowledge and understanding required towards becoming qualified technicians in the oil heat industry. This course is designed to instruct students in the proper and safe operation of the equipment.

  • Location: Manchester, NH; Hampton, NH
  • Expected Time to Completion: Air conditioning technician course and oil heat technician course (15 weeks); air conditioning tech, day course and oil heat technician, day course (8 weeks); A/C and oil heat combo (25 weeks); A/C and oil heat combo, day course (14 weeks)
  • Estimated Tuition: Air conditioning technician courses and oil heat technician courses ($2,300); combo courses ($4,200)

Granite State Trade School

Lastly, the Granite State Trade School in Raymond not only provides distance-based learning but also has a two-year, on-campus evening course comprising 300 hours. Course content includes installation and repair of HVAC/R equipment, thermodynamics, maintenance practices, meters, tools, and measuring devices, refrigerant cycle, control systems, furnaces, condensers, heat pumps, general customer service, split systems, and more. It costs $6,800 in total, making it one of the more affordable four-semester programs in the country.

This in-person 300-hour certificate includes topics such as introduction to HVAC/R trade, energy efficiency, fundamentals, basic sizing techniques, commercial air conditioning and refrigeration, psychometrics, systems and components, adjusting and balancing techniques, heat pump systems and components, geothermal heat pumps, and air-source heat pumps, among others.

The highly experienced skilled instructors can help students achieve their career and educational objectives, whether they are licensed professionals looking for continuing education classes, or wish to start a career in the field. They will train with the best lab facilities, and also be provided with valuable on-the-job training that prepares them for real role challenges.

  • Location: Raymond, NH
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,700 per semester; Total certificate cost ($6,800)

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). Most HVAC-R training courses will include the training necessary to earn the 608 certification.

There are several other organizations that 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 that 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
  • An affidavit signed by one’s 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.

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).