How to Become an HVAC Technician IN NJ
There is no one set path that HVAC technicians must take in order to manifest a successful career, but there are some common steps that will help aspiring professionals to build a solid foundation from which to work.
Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma or GED
Ultimately, New Jersey does not require that HVAC technicians have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree. However, completing a high school education is not only indicative of a technician’s ability to complete a project as well as his or her academic acumen, it can also open many more professional doors down the line. With HVAC in mind, students should try to take as many math, physics, and mechanical classes (such as wood shop) as possible.
Step 2, Option 1: Attend Accredited HVAC Program
After high school, prospective HVAC professionals may choose to attend an undergraduate program at a local college. Generally, these programs are offered at community colleges and trade schools, with many culminating in an Associate of Arts degree. HVAC programs can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the school, and will teach students the basics of working in HVAC. Applicants should look for programs that are accredited by an organization such as HVAC Excellence in order to ensure the curriculum meets state standards. Some programs also include national level certification (but not state licensure) as part of their standard courses.
Step 2, Option 2: Begin Apprenticeship with Certified HVAC Professional
For those individuals who would like to start work as soon as possible, New Jersey does allow HVAC certification to those that work under the supervision of a certified HVAC professional for at least 5 years. However, it should be noted that these types of apprenticeships can be difficult to obtain without personal connections.
Step 3: Apply for EPA Certification
Most students will complete their EPA certification during the course of their HVAC education. For those that do not, the certification is available upon completion of the exam and is necessary to work as an HVAC technician.
Step 4: Obtain New Jersey HVACR License
Upon completing either an undergraduate HVAC program or an apprenticeship, students are eligible to apply for a New Jersey Master HVACR Contractor license. It should be noted that graduating students applying for this credential who have not completed an apprenticeship must have at minimum a Bachelor’s degree. And to obtain an HVAC license in New Jersey, technicians must secure a $3,000 surety bond that is termed to expire with the license itself. As of last check (February, 2016), the bond cost $50.