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 of this page. 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 2017) predicts a 15 percent explosion in HVAC job openings between 2016 and 2026, double the average growth projected across all occupations during that time. With the expected addition of 48,800 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 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 (Nov. 2018) had 116 relevant job openings in HVAC at places such as Laconia Refrigeration, SAM Mechanical Services, Ethical Home Pro, and Palmer and Sicard. Monster (Nov. 2018) boasted additional openings with employers including PanArctic Logistics, Thermo Dynamics, and Environmental Systems, Inc. In sum, there’s ample evidence that opportunities in this field are on the rise in New Hampshire.

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 (2017) reported that the 307,060 HVAC mechanics and installers around the country had an annual average salary of $49,530, only slightly lower than the average salary for all occupations (including people with bachelor’s degrees and beyond) at $50,620 (BLS 2017). Notably, these figures are somewhat higher for New Hampshire HVAC workers as shown below.

Annual salary Hourly salary
United States New Hampshire United States New Hampshire
Average $49,530 $50,470 $23.81 $24.26
10th percentile $29,120 $33,850 $14.00 $16.27
25th percentile $36,150 $41,190 $17.38 $19.80
50th percentile $47,080 $50,570 $22.64 $24.31
75th percentile $60,270 $59,830 $28.98 $28.76
90th percentile $75,330 $65,650 $36.22 $31.56

The national figures were slightly different according to Payscale (Nov. 2018), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

United States: 889 HVAC workers responding

  • 10th percentile: $29,000
  • 25th percentile: $36,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $44,532
  • 75th percentile: $56,000
  • 90th percentile: $71,000

An additional 4,873 HVAC workers gave Payscale their hourly salary figures, resulting in these percentile wages:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.24/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $30.00/hr.

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 2018) found that NH was ranked 35th 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 eight regions within New Hampshire for which employment data is available. The 510 HVAC workers in the Manchester, NH area earned the highest average salary in the state with a reported average of $55,200 per year. Following are the detailed salary data for the state of New Hampshire:

Central New Hampshire nonmetropolitan area (280 HVAC workers): $44,520 annual average salary

Central New Hampshire nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $44,520 $21.40
10th percentile $28,810 $13.85
25th percentile $33,800 $16.25
50th percentile $43,330 $20.83
75th percentile $56,580 $27.20
90th percentile $62,000 $29.81

Dover-Durham, NH-ME (180 HVAC workers): $52,650 annual average salary

Dover-Durham, NH-ME
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $52,650 $25.31
10th percentile $36,240 $17.43
25th percentile $45,190 $21.73
50th percentile $54,820 $26.36
75th percentile $60,760 $29.21
90th percentile $64,920 $31.21

Manchester, NH (510 HVAC workers): $55,200 annual average salary

Manchester, NH
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $55,200 $26.54
10th percentile $39,170 $18.83
25th percentile $44,780 $21.53
50th percentile $53,570 $25.75
75th percentile $63,580 $30.57
90th percentile $76,150 $36.61

Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division (330 HVAC workers): $51,680 annual average salary

Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $51,680 $24.85
10th percentile $33,260 $15.99
25th percentile $43,160 $20.75
50th percentile $54,830 $26.36
75th percentile $60,840 $29.25
90th percentile $64,670 $31.09

Northern New Hampshire nonmetropolitan area (70 HVAC workers): $42,180 annual average salary

Northern New Hampshire nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $42,180 $20.28
10th percentile $31,580 $15.18
25th percentile $36,440 $17.52
50th percentile $43,380 $20.86
75th percentile $48,440 $23.29
90th percentile $51,690 $24.85

Portsmouth, NH-ME (230 HVAC workers): $51,640 annual average salary

Portsmouth, NH-ME
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $51,640 $24.83
10th percentile $37,920 $18.23
25th percentile $42,950 $20.65
50th percentile $52,620 $25.30
75th percentile $59,750 $28.72
90th percentile $65,020 $31.26

Southwest New Hampshire nonmetropolitan area (100 HVAC workers): $49,670 annual average salary

Southwest New Hampshire nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $49,670 $23.88
10th percentile $41,650 $20.02
25th percentile $44,500 $21.39
50th percentile $49,250 $23.68
75th percentile $55,410 $26.64
90th percentile $61,350 $29.50

West Central New Hampshire nonmetropolitan area (220 HVAC workers): $46,670 annual average salary

West Central New Hampshire nonmetropolitan area
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $46,670 $22.44
10th percentile $32,050 $15.41
25th percentile $38,450 $18.49
50th percentile $46,480 $22.35
75th percentile $55,850 $26.85
90th percentile $62,000 $29.81

HVAC Training in NH

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 which accredit HVAC schools nationwide: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). There were no programs in NH accredited by either of these two organizations as of November 2018, although the New Hampshire Board of Safety does provide 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 $19,150 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 $2,200 and focuses on residential and commercial air conditioning units with preparation for the EPA Section 608 certification; another 120-class (also $2,200) 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 in 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). Most HVAC-R training courses will including the training necessary to earn the 608 certification.

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.