Jersey City, New Jersey (NJ) is the second-largest city in the state, second only to Newark and is the Hudson County seat. It’s part of the New York metropolitan area and an important distribution center for the Port of New York and New Jersey port district.
Jersey City has nurtured economic diversity since the 1990s. Because expenses in Jersey City are significantly less than in nearby Manhattan and the city has engaged in “new state-of-the-art corporate developments,” businesses continue to relocate to Jersey City. The preponderance of banking and financial companies has led the area to be nicknamed “Wall Street West.”
Jersey City is situated between the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay to the east and the Hackensack River and Newark Bay on the west. The weather is humid, especially during the summer, and the region receives a generous amount of precipitation annually. The month of February averages slightly less than three inches of rain and October, December, and January each have more than three-and-a-half inches of rain, but no snow. The remaining eight months each receive more than four inches of rainfall each. May is the wettest month with close to four-and-a-half inches of precipitation. May is also the month that transitions from winter chill to summer warmth. Temperatures continue to climb through July, which is the hottest month with average highs in the low 80s F and average lows in the upper 60s. Temperatures begin falling in October, and lows from December through March drop below freezing. Winter highs hover in the 40s.
The warm, humid summers and damp, cold winters keep many residents of Jersey City indoors. They rely on heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) to keep them comfortable whether in their workplaces or relaxing at home. Many businesses depend on technology and often require the addition of refrigeration (HVAC/R) to keep electronic equipment operating efficiently. Products moving in and out of the port facilities often need climate-controlled areas as well.
Workforce data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019) shows that 19,250 HVAC mechanics and installers were employed in the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA area as of May 2018. The technicians and their employers received support and services from industry organizations such as the following:
These and similar associations serve all aspects of the HVAC and HVAC/R industry. They work with local groups and governmental agencies to establish educational, licensing, and performance standards to ensure the safety of technicians and the public.
Data collected by the BLS (2019) indicates an expected 13 percent increase in the demand for new HVAC and HVAC/R technicians nationwide between 2018 and 2028. BLS data also indicates that new jobs for all US occupations will only increase 5 percent during the same decade. New Jersey HVAC technicians have a more favorable outlook. Projections Central predicts a 17.8 percent statewide increase in new positions between 2016 and 2026.
Jersey City is growing. The influx of new businesses has created a demand for modern office space and its reputation for lower housing costs is drawing new residents. Virtually every building requires the installation of HVAC or HVAC/R. Older buildings that undergo remodeling or that are put to new use must have the aging equipment and systems replaced, retrofitted, or upgraded to meet contemporary energy efficiency and pollution reduction standards. In some instances, technological advances or changes in regulations mean that new equipment must be installed even if the structure was recently built.
Businesses driving the growth of Jersey City depend on telecommunications and other advanced technology that requires specialized climate-controlled areas, and the state-of-the-art development in Jersey City includes “smart” buildings with sophisticated climate control systems and equipment.
Trained HVAC and HVAC/R technicians are required for installing, maintaining, and servicing these systems. Technicians who are proficient with computers, understand electronics, and are skilled troubleshooters will have the best job opportunities. Those who work only on new installations may sometimes experience unemployment if construction declines. However, as Jersey City is a prosperous and growing city with a diversified economy, a decline isn’t expected in the foreseeable future.
Technicians who focus on maintenance and service can expect year-round employment as business and homeowners want to keep their systems in good operating condition regardless of the economy.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide received a median salary of $47,610 as of May 2018. The data also shows that technicians in the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA area received an annual median salary of $61,920 during the same year.
National, state, and regional salaries of HVAC professionals are detailed in the table below:
|United States||New Jersey||New York-Newark-Jersey City,NY-NJ-PA|
|Number of HVAC Professionals Employed||324,310||9,510||19,250|
|Average Annual Salary||$50,160||$59,630||$63,830|
|50th Percentile (Median)||$47,610||$57,640||$61,920|
In past years, workers were able to obtain employment as assistants and learn their skills as HVAC technicians through on-the-job training. Few opportunities for doing so are available in contemporary job markets. The climate control equipment and systems of today are complex, and workers must be skilled technicians. Those skills are gained by participating in apprenticeship programs or by attending formal classes. Trained technicians also potentially start at higher wages and earn more throughout their career.
Not every apprenticeship program is the same, but participants generally receive about 2,000 hours of on-the-job training combined with an average of 144 hours of classwork each year during a three- to five-year commitment. The New Jersey Pathways Leading Apprentices to a College Education, or NJ PLACE has information and resources for New Jersey workers seeking training.
A five-year HVAC apprenticeship is offered by UA Pipefitters Local 274 at their training center located in Parsippany, NJ. The program includes 1,700-2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 160 hours of classroom instruction each year. UA Plumbers, Pipefitters and HVAC Service Technicians Local 322 offers a five-year refrigeration apprenticeship at their Hazlet, NJ training center. Apprentices complete a total of 8,500 hours of on-the-job training and 1,080 hours of classroom instruction.
Morris County Vocational School District, Denville, NJ, currently offers a three-year HVAC/R apprenticeship program through the Continuing Education Department. The tuition is $1,299 each year.
Workers in Jersey City who are unable to attend a local apprenticeship program may obtain training from industry associations such as the following:
Details of their programs, schedules, and fees are available on their websites.
Workers who prefer formal classroom training instead of an apprenticeship need to ensure that they attend a school that is accredited. Accreditation means that the institution’s curriculum and instructors have been evaluated by an independent agency.
Two industry organizations accredit HVAC programs. The Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) has awarded accreditation to Monmouth County Vocational School, in Freehold, NJ. HVAC Excellence has accredited Lincoln Technical Institute’s Mahwah and Union NJ campuses.
The New Jersey Council Of County Vocational–Technical Schools includes 21 institutions. The schools offer several programs that qualify high school students to seek employment in a trade when they graduate, as well as programs that are designed to help adults improve their workplace skills and qualify for certifications that improve their employability.
HVAC and HVAC/R programs are included in these offerings. The participating school districts closest to Jersey City that offer an adult HVAC/R program include:
Programs may be offered at one or more schools within each district, but not all programs are available at all schools at all times. Most of the schools offer classes both during the day and in the evening. Students may attend full-time or part-time at most schools, and programs take six months to two years to complete. Each district determines its own fees and curricula.
Fortis has campuses in Lawrenceville and Wayne, New Jersey, and Wayne is the closest to Jersey City. The Institute offers an HVAC/R diploma program. Coursework is presented in classroom lectures combined with hands-on practice in a fully equipped lab. The curriculum includes an introduction to craft skills, trade math, electricity, thermodynamics, controls and motors, refrigerants, advanced air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, electric and gas heating, oil heating, heat pumps, water-based heating, HVAC system design, troubleshooting, service calls, and career development.
Students are also prepared to take the Section 608 certification exam. Graduates are qualified to seek entry-level employment as residential and commercial HVAC and HVAC/R technicians.
As noted above, Hudson County is part of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational–Technical Schools system. It is profiled separately, as it is closest to Jersey City.
The adult HVAC/R programs are currently available at the Bayonne campus. Classes are held two nights a week. The HVAC/R I program includes instruction on compressors, condensers, sub-cooling, receivers, pump-down, dryers, metering devices, evaporators, superheat and heat transfer, soldering, and refrigerants. The HVAC/R II requires the completion of HVAC/R I.
Coursework includes diagnostic tools, electricity, transformers, thermostats, motors, symbols, and safety practices. Students also receive practice in hands-on electrical troubleshooting. They may opt to prepare for and take the Section 608 certification exam.
Lincoln Tech is a private school offering HVAC/R certificate programs at the Mahwah and Union campuses. Both campuses include hands-on training in a “Green House,” where students practice on HVAC equipment.
Students attending the Mahwah campus can take classes during the days, afternoons, or evenings. Classes at the Union campus are available only during the days and afternoons.
The curriculum at both campuses includes an introduction to HVAC, electricity, controls, mechanics, refrigeration, hermetic systems, commercial refrigeration design, energy efficiency, and green technology systems. Graduates have the skills to troubleshoot, service, and repair commercial and residential HVAC systems.
As noted above, Monmouth is part of the New Jersey Council Of County Vocational–Technical Schools system. It is profiled separately, as it is the only one with PAHRA accreditation.
The HVAC certificate program at Monmouth is designed to prepare high school students for entry-level employment. Students can transfer part of their credits to the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Coursework is presented through classroom lectures, followed by hands-on training. The curriculum includes HVAC and HVAC/R fundamentals and how to use diagnostic tools.
Students also prepare for and take the exam for Section 608 certification. The Adult Education program includes an HVAC/R apprenticeship, but further details on the curriculum are not disclosed on the web site. Prospective students must contact the school directly for that information.
An HVAC certificate is available from the Institute. The program includes classroom lectures and hands-on training via externships. Details of the curriculum are available only by direct contact with the school and are not disclosed on their website. However, the program requires 400 hours of contact that is designed to develop the skills and knowledge needed to seek employment as entry-level technicians.
Students at Raritan may choose an HVAC/R technician and installer certificate program or complete the degree program in environmental control technology. Coursework for both programs includes classroom lectures and practice in the lab. The lab experience includes a focus on troubleshooting.
Students in the certificate program complete 31 credits that include refrigeration, electricity, HVAC systems design, HVAC controls, energy and the environment, and English composition. Graduates are qualified for entry-level positions as HVAC/R technicians.
Degree-seeking students build on the curriculum presented in the certificate program by completing additional coursework in technical math, physics, computer-aided drafting, HVAC/R controls, interpersonal communication, organizational and technical communication, and cooperative education. They complete 62 credits to earn their degree. Graduates acquire the skills for employment as commercial and residential HVAC/R technicians.
Workers in Jersey City may find that online HVAC training at an accredited online school will meet their needs if they are unable to attend a local school.
The refrigerants used in HVAC systems can be hazardous to the environment. Accordingly, technicians are required by federal law to pass the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 608 Certification exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. Exams encompass four levels of certification:
Practice exams and additional information are available on the EPA website.
Technicians may obtain Section 608 certification and other certifications from industry organizations such as the following:
Details are available on each organization’s website. Further information is available on the HVAC certifications page.
Finally, HVAC and HVAC/R contractors are required by the New Jersey State Board of Examiners of Heating, Venting, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors to obtain a license. Applicants must submit proof of education, which may be a specified combination of formal classwork, apprenticeship, or journey-level work experience under the supervision of a licensed contractor.
Licenses are renewable bi-annually and require proof of five credits of continuing education. The initial licensing fee is $100, and the renewal fee is $160. Additionally, all businesses are required to register with the state.
The City of Jersey City does not require HVAC or HVAC/R technicians or contractors to obtain a business license.
As requirements are always subject to change, HVAC professionals are encouraged to confirm that they are in compliance with current guidelines before starting a project.