HVAC Training Programs in New Jersey

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As with so many states in the northwest, New Jersey (NJ) can have extreme weather in all seasons – from frigid winters where temperatures dip into the 30s and snow falls to hot, humid summers with temperatures climbing into the 90s. This kind of fluctuation means that many residents of the Garden State rely heavily on climate control systems to stay comfortable. Professional HVAC technicians have considerable opportunities in NJ, provided they have the necessary training.

While training as an HVAC technician in New Jersey can be a terrific way to start a lifelong career, there are a few new developments in the space of which students considering the career should be aware. The most notable change in HVAC training and education in New Jersey is the creation of the Master HVACR Contractor license. As of the fall of 2014, examinations and proof of experience and education are required in order to obtain the Master HVACR Contractor license. While this does add another step to the process, it helps validate technician competency.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, New Jersey is not only among the highest paying states for HVAC technicians but it is also one of the biggest employers of these professionals. The combination of a high availability of jobs and salaries that can sustain a comfortable lifestyle in the state makes New Jersey an ideal place to begin an HVAC technician career. Further, there are a number of HVAC technician schools in New Jersey that can prepare students to begin their new career in a matter of months.

Keep reading to learn more about how to become an HVAC technician in New Jersey.

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Demand for HVAC Technicians in NJ

The New Jersey region has a strong demand for HVAC professionals, making it one of the best places for new HVAC techs to train and work. From 2016 to 2026, national demand for HVAC technicians is expected to increase 15 percent, which is noted to be “much faster than average” as compared to overall job growth rate (BLS 2017). In New Jersey specifically, Projections Central indicates that demand will grow more than 17 percent over the same span of time, meaning an additional 1,290 jobs.

There are a number of reasons that the HVAC-R industry in New Jersey is strong and is likely to continue growing. For one, HVAC systems must be replaced approximately every decade and require routine servicing and maintenance, meaning a need for technicians to perform these duties. Furthermore, regulations and technologies within the HVAC-R and construction industries are constantly changing, which necessitates regular system updates.

As an evaluation of the industry and demand, online job board Monster (Nov. 2018) had 283 job postings for HVAC professionals in NJ, including opportunities with Haddad Plumbing & Heating, PIM Brands, Altima Construction and Johnson Controls, to name just a few. Indeed (Nov. 2018) showed 1,791 job opportunities in New Jersey, including those with the Black Horse Pike Plumbing and Heating, Horizon Services, Phillips Glenwood Construction, Hackensack University Medical Center, and many others.

New Jersey HVAC Technician Salary Data

In 2016, New Jersey employed 9,680 HVAC technicians at a mean wage of $58,770 per year, which is significantly higher than the national average. In fact, the mean wage across the country for HVAC technicians is just $49,530, so the salary difference in New Jersey is significant.

In more granular terms, here were the salary percentiles among HVAC workers in New Jersey and nationwide:

Annual salary Hourly salary
United States New Jersey United States New Jersey
Average $49,530 $58,770 $23.81 $28.25
10th percentile $29,120 $35,080 $14.00 $16.87
25th percentile $36,150 $43,080 $17.38 $20.71
50th percentile $47,080 $56,160 $22.64 $27.00
75th percentile $60,270 $73,150 $28.98 $35.17
90th percentile $75,330 $90,240 $36.22 $43.39

The national figures were a bit different according to another source of data, 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.

The BLS designated six regions within New Jersey for which employment data is available. The 2630 HVAC workers in the Newark, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division area earned the highest average salary in the state with a reported average wage of $59,810 with the lowest average found in Vineland-Bridgeton, NY at $48,720. Following are the detailed salary data for the state of New Jersey:

Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ (280 HVAC workers): $58,950 annual average salary

Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $58,950 28.34
10th percentile $41,420 $19.91
25th percentile $41,700 $23.67
50th percentile $57,760 $27.77
75th percentile $69,100 $33.22
90th percentile $80,040 $38.48

Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division (1480 HVAC workers): $54,140 annual average salary

Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $54,140 $26.03
10th percentile $32,970 $15.85
25th percentile $41,170 $19.79
50th percentile $53,020 $25.49
75th percentile $62,200 $29.90
90th percentile $78,560 $37.77

Newark, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division (2630 HVAC workers): $59,810 annual average salary

Newark, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $59,810/td>

10th percentile $35,420 $17.03
25th percentile $43,090 $20.72
50th percentile $58,560 $28.16
75th percentile $74,920 $36.02
90th percentile $88,980 $42.78

Ocean City, NJ (90 HVAC workers): $49,550 annual average salary

Ocean City, NJ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $49,550 $23.83
10th percentile $32,770 $15.75
25th percentile $37,330 $17.95
50th percentile $51,200 $24.62
75th percentile $60,040 $28.87
90th percentile $69,820 $33.57

Trenton, NJ (480 HVAC workers): $55,800 annual average salary

Trenton, NJ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $55,800 $26.83
10th percentile $37,860 $18.20
25th percentile $46,430 $22.32
50th percentile $56,610 $27.21
75th percentile $63,950 $30.74
90th percentile $75,050 $36.08

Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ (90 HVAC workers): $48,720 annual average salary

Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ
Percentile Annual salary Hourly salary
Average $48,720 $23.42
10th percentile $30,350 $14.59
25th percentile $34,090 $16.39
50th percentile $40,950 $19.69
75th percentile $61,790 $29.71
90th percentile $79,150 $38.05

Finding Accredited HVAC Training in New Jersey

An HVAC education does very little good when the graduating student cannot obtain a job. High employment rates and comfortable salaries in New Jersey make it one of the best places to study to become an HVAC technician and quickly start earning a good living.

For younger students who are interested in pursuing higher education along with a career as an HVAC technician, HVAC training in NJ is available in the form of a program called NJ PLACE, which stands for New Jersey Pathways Leading Apprentices to a College Education. This program allows high school graduates to train as an HVAC apprentice while also earning college credits that can transfer to a four-year university at the completion of the training program.

Those that choose not to go the apprenticeship route may instead look for an accredited HVAC program at a technical school or community college. Accreditation is a process that allows for a thorough assessment of a school’s curriculum and facilities. Finding an HVAC program that has earned accreditation means choosing a program that is committed to providing consistent and relevant education to its students.

HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) are the only national accrediting bodies specific to HVAC programs.

Schools may also earn accreditation for their educational facilities as a whole. The state generally recognizes institutions of higher learning, including community colleges and universities, that have been accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Colleges join the organization on a voluntary basis and are assessed and reviewed by peer evaluators from similar institutions. While HVAC training NJ from an MSCHE accreditation does not guarantee post-education employment as an HVAC technician, it can help to ensure that the facilities and staff meet a certain standard threshold. HVAC programs that are not colleges or university may earn accreditation from  Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), which is focused on technical education.

In order to be eligible to apply for an HVAC-R license from New Jersey without apprenticeship experiences, students must graduate from an institution that is accredited by a body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, such as the programs below.

With two locations in New Jersey — one in Union and one in Mahwah — Lincoln Technical Institute is the only school in NJ with HVAC Excellence accreditation. The LTI program allows students to learn using modern techniques and technology and earn their EPA certification. A full-time student can expect to complete the program in 48 weeks while students who opt for evening classes will be enrolled for approximately 72 weeks. Completion of the program does not result in a degree. Applicants can use the LTI price calculator to estimate the cost of completing this program.

Students at Mercer County Community College can earn an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in HVAC-R. The MCC program is offered in conjunction with Mercer County Technical Schools. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a high school diploma (or equivalent) and at least one semester of Algebra. The AAS program requires between 60 and 64 units to complete, with the majority of required classes offered in the evenings to accommodate those who work during the day. The school, which has campuses in both West Windsor and Trenton, is accredited by the MSCHE.

Monmouth County Vocational School District offers a PAHRA-accredited HVAC program. This program is specifically targeted at enrolled high school students to prepare them for employment upon graduation. Students who complete the program can earn college credits to apply to a future degree in addition to an MCVSD Program Certificate, EPA 608 Certification and the Residential Industry Competence Exam.

Finally, the Nutley, New Jersey campus of Eastwick College offers a diploma program in HVAC-R. The program can be completed in as little as 12 months for full-time students ad 16 months for part-time evening students. Successful graduates from Eastwick will meet all requirements for Universal EPA and R-410A certifications and are recognized by New Jersey Association of Plumbing – Heating & Cooling Contractors (NJPHCC) as eligible for second-year apprentice status. The program is accredited by Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Although it has not earned its accreditation from HVAC Excellence, Eastwick College is an authorized HVAC Excellence training and testing center

HVAC Certification and Licensing in New Jersey

Before looking for a job, all HVAC-R professionals in New Jersey must first obtain the proper certification and licensing necessary.

As referenced earlier, one specific certification is required for all individuals who handle environmentally sensitive refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 Certification. This certification is broken down into four types:

  • type 1 (small appliances)
  • type 2 (high-pressure appliances)
  • type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and
  • type 4 (universal)

Most HVAC-R programs will include preparation for the certification exam as part of the curriculum.

In addition, there are other entities nationwide that provide skill-based, employment-ready trade certifications. A handful of these organizations are listed below:

For more information regarding the extent of available national credentials, make sure to visit the HVAC certifications page.

Finally, all HVAC-R professionals in New Jersey have to obtain the required local licensure prior to beginning work. HVAC-R professionals in New Jersey must obtain licensure through the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors. License applications must be submitted online along with a $100 application fee, proof of requisite experience, and any other required documentation.

Because licensure requirements can vary even within a single state, HVAC-R professionals must perform due diligence before beginning any work to ensure that they have adequate credentialing for the task at hand.