HVAC Schools in New Jersey – Degree Programs and Certifications

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As with so many states in the northeast, 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 launch 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 HVAC/R contractor license. Examinations and proof of experience and education are required in order to obtain this credential. While this does add another step to the process, it helps validate technician competency.

Demand for HVAC technicians continues to grow. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019), 10,430 HVAC maintenance and installation technicians work in New Jersey, and the number is only expected to increase both within New Jersey and nationally in coming years. 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 New Jersey

The New Jersey region has a decent demand for HVAC professionals, making it one of the best places for new HVAC techs to train and work. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019), the number of openings for HVAC technicians is expected to increase 13 percent nationally between 2018 and 2028, more than double the average rate for all occupations in the U.S. during the same decade (5 percent).

There are various reasons why 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 (2020) has 277 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 (2020) showed 434 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

The BLS (May 2019) reported that HVAC mechanics and installers nationally received a median salary of $48,730 as of May 2019. Technicians in New Jersey received an annual median salary of $56,860.

The table below is a comparison of national, and state salaries of HVAC professionals:

The BLS (May 2019) reported the following salary figures in New Jersey:

United States New Jersey
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 10,430
10th percentile $30,610 $33,080
25th percentile $37,660 $40,850
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $56,860
75th percentile $62,070 $75,620
90th percentile $77,920 $93,010


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

  • 10th percentile: $30,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $46,645
  • 90th percentile: $73,000

The BLS designated four regions within New Jersey for which employment data is available. Following are the detailed salary data for the four regions within New Jersey:

Atlantic City Ocean City Trenton Vineland
Number of HVAC professionals employed 550 180 480 160
10th percentile $31,570 $33,830 $39,250 $24,950
25th percentile $34,930 $39,820 $48,160 $33,050
50th percentile (median) $42,670 $47,880 $59,370 $41,110
75th percentile $58,980 $56,830 $71,600 $53,760
90th percentile $64,960 $62,090 $81,530 $65,160


HVAC Apprenticeships in New Jersey

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. Many aspiring HVAC workers in New Jersey either attend training programs or participate in an apprenticeship program.

In order to gain work experience, aspiring professionals in this field might choose to pursue an apprenticeship through an organization such as the United Association Of New Jersey Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Division. This apprenticeship offers modern training to applicants who wish to work in the exciting and technical HVAC/R service industry. The apprenticeship lasts five years and is divided into one-year sections. In each of these segments, students receive 1,800 hours of training on the job as well as 200 hours of classroom instruction. Students delve into topics such as basic refrigeration, servicing and electrical troubleshooting, heat pump fundamentals, and natural gas heating.

To apply for this apprenticeship, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid driver’s license. A copy of a birth certificate and high school diploma or its equivalent (GED), a copy of high school transcripts, and three letters of reference must also be presented.

Accredited HVAC Training Schools in New Jersey

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 in 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 of excellence. HVAC programs that are not colleges or universities may earn accreditation from the 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.

Lincoln Technical Institute

With two locations in New Jersey—one in Union and one in Mahwah—the Lincoln Technical Institute offers the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) program, which ultimately leads to an EPA certification. Using modern techniques and technology, students learn about green technology, green alternatives to cooling and heating systems, and geothermal and solar thermal green technologies.

Both HVAC certificates offered at Union and at Mahwah are made up of 57 credit-hours. The HVAC curriculum prepares students to confidently enter this vibrant field, providing them with fundamental skills required to troubleshoot, repair, and service commercial and residential indoor HVAC air management systems. The curriculum includes courses such as an introduction to climate control systems, electricity, basic refrigeration systems, hermetic systems, and air conditioning systems.

Upon completion of this program, graduates can expect to meet the essential entry level skills and knowledge required of an HVAC technician.

  • Location: Mahwah and Union, New Jersey
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Expected Time to Completion: Mahwah (day, 48 weeks; afternoon, 48 weeks; evening, 72 weeks); Union (day, 52 weeks; afternoon, 74 weeks )
  • Estimated Tuition: $28,380 total

Mercer County Community College

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 or applied mathematics.

The AAS program comprises 60 credit-hours, including courses such as the principles of refrigeration and air conditioning; refrigeration and air conditioning electrical controls; domestic heating and air conditioning systems; and the fundamentals of electronics.

Students learn how to determine air distribution, learn the laws of thermodynamics, laws of physics, as well as the principles of heat flow applicable to HVAC.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities such as service supervisor, service representative, system designer, laboratory technician, and estimator.

  • Location: West Windsor Township, New Jersey
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($190.75 per credit); non-resident ($242.25 per credit)

Monmouth County Vocational School District

Monmouth County Vocational School District offers an HVAC program, targeted at 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 and the EPA 608 certification.

The program trains students in basics such as reading pressure; drawing a basic refrigeration system and its components; using equipment such as a voltmeter and ammeter; and charging an A/C system.

Graduates of the program can have various opportunities. They can take up roles such as heating and air conditioning systems designer or installer, residential heating and air conditioning systems service and maintenance contractor, commercial refrigeration systems repair technician, and certified heat pump technician.

  • Location: Freehold, New Jersey
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: Varies
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact school for a customized tuition assessment

Eastwick College

Eastwick College offers a diploma program in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R). Successful graduates from Eastwick can be eligible for the universal EPA and R-410A certifications, and can earn recognition from the New Jersey Association of Plumbing – Heating & Cooling Contractors (NJPHCC) as second-year apprentices.

Students learn the basics of electricity, A/C installation and service, boiler and furnace installation and service, and piping and ductwork sizing and installation. They are also trained in troubleshooting and diagnosing malfunctions in appliances.

Students who successfully complete the program can take up roles in heating and air conditioning, installation, and service companies. Past graduates from the program have been hired by PSE&G in various utility fields, and have also secured jobs at companies such as A&E.

The program is made up of 89 credit-hours, including courses such as basic electrical and electronic concepts, refrigeration, heat pumps, air distribution and balancing, circuit systems operation, and control devices and motors, among others.

  • Location: Nutley, New Jersey
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months for full-time students, and 16 months for part-time evening students
  • Estimated Tuition: $16,000

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:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
  • HVAC Excellence

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 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 by municipality, HVAC/R professionals must perform due diligence before beginning any work to ensure that they have adequate credentialing for the task at hand.

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).