Albuquerque, NM HVAC Training Schools

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Albuquerque is the most populous city in New Mexico (NM) and sits in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, a 140,000-square-mile area covering parts of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Although the surrounding mountains moderate weather extremes, residents experience summer temperatures in the 90s. The days are usually cloudless, and humidity is low, except for the June and July monsoon months. Although the winters are short, they are cold, with lows dropping below freezing. Snowfall averages about 10 inches annually.

A recent economic report described Albuquerque as being “on a roll” and cited the strong construction industry as a reason for steady growth. Another report attributed the growth to the improvement in the oil and gas industries. The Rio Grande River flows through the city, which is surrounded by the New Mexico Technology Corridor—a concentration of technology companies and government institutions. Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, and several universities have settled in Albuquerque. The area also features the International Balloon Festival, museums, parks, outdoor activities, and other tourist attractions.

Albuquerque’s residents rely on heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) for comfort during the hot days and cold nights. They especially need humidity control during the monsoon months. High-technology sectors, historical sites, entertainment venues, tourist attractions, and restaurants also often require climate-controlled rooms for electronic equipment, food and beverages, and the comfort of customers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2019), 570 HVAC mechanics and installers are employed in Albuquerque. There are several state and local chapters of industry organizations that provide training and support for these professionals:

  • Associated Builders & Contractors New Mexico Chapter (ABCNM)
  • Associated Contractors of New Mexico (ACONM)
  • Associated General Contractors New Mexico (AGCNM)
  • American Subcontractors Association of New Mexico (ASANM)
  • Mechanical Contractors’ Association of New Mexico (MCA)
  • Sheet Metal Workers Local 49
  • UA Local 412 Plumbers & Pipefitters

Read on to discover the HVAC employment outlook, salaries, credentialing, and accredited training programs within Albuquerque, NM.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Albuquerque, NM

Demand for HVAC and HVAC/R technicians is growing in the U.S. The number of openings is expected to swell 15 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. This is more than twice as fast as the national average for all occupations. Demand for technicians in New Mexico is growing at a slightly lower rate than the national average in the field. Projections Central predicted a 10.7 percent statewide increase for the same decade.

Several factors contribute to the growth of the HVAC and HVAC/R industry. A significant consideration is the increasing sophistication of climate control systems and the need to replace, retrofit, or upgrade older systems.

Industries that rely on technology and research facilities, such as those in Albuquerque, frequently require specialized systems to keep electronic equipment in operation. Public attractions create additional demand for climate control. The contemporary emphasis on energy efficiency and reducing pollution is a third factor leading to the installation of new equipment and systems.

Computer and electronics-literate technicians with excellent troubleshooting skills generally have the best job prospects. The economy is growing, and the city has a low unemployment rate. Permits for residential housing and industrial construction projects are increasing, and adverse weather conditions can lead to extensive rebuilding and repairs or replacement of equipment and systems. Maintenance and repair work tends to be stable as businesses and homeowners depend on their climate control systems year round. They need to keep their equipment in good working order regardless of economic conditions.

HVAC Salaries in Albuquerque, NM

HVAC mechanics and installers in the U.S. received a median annual salary of $47,080, and those in Albuquerque earned $43,400, according to the BLS (2017). Here is a comparison of salary figures at a national, statewide, and regional level:

United States New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
Number of HVAC workers 307,060 1,110 570
Average annual salary $49,530 $41,820 $42,830
10th percentile $29,120 $26,280 $27,020
25th percentile $36,150 $32,180 $32,830
50th percentile (median) $47,080 $41,270 $43,400
75th percentile $60,270 $50,460 $50,670
90th percentile $75,330 $60,860 $61,560

HVAC Apprenticeships in Albuquerque, NM

Formal HVAC training through apprenticeships can open up more employment opportunities with higher starting salaries for residents of Albuquerque.

Apprenticeships include around 2,000 training hours and 144 classroom hours annually for three to five years.The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions State Apprenticeship Office (NMDWS) manages the state’s apprenticeship programs. Here are some available HVAC apprenticeships in the area:

Sheet Metal Workers Local 49

The has an accredited four-year sheet metal apprenticeship that focuses on HVAC applications and a four-year HVAC service and controls technician apprenticeship. Both apprenticeships are a part of the Joint Apprenticeship Training Center (JATC) in Albuquerque. Apprentices are not charged tuition or fees for the classroom work and are paid during their on-the-job training. They receive an increase in pay every six months.

UA Local 412 Plumbers & Pipefitters

The five-year JATC apprenticeship offered by the UA Local 214 Plumbers & Pipefitters is registered with New Mexico and Texas. Potential apprentices must contact the organization in-person for further information, as they do not disclose details on their website.

TLC Plumbing & Utility

TLC, a plumbing and utility contractor, sponsors a four-year apprenticeship program for its employees, one of which is for HVAC technicians. All apprentices spend their first year learning basic skills, then take classes at the school of their choice while working full-time for TLC. The company pays for tuition and books as long as the apprentice meets the requirements of their agreement. Apprentices who complete the program receive journey-level status as well as the certificate or degree awarded by the school.

Workers seeking HVAC and HVAC/R apprenticeship programs can find several available through the following national industry associations. Details are available on their websites.

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)

HVAC School Accreditation in Albuquerque, NM

Accreditation is a process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of an educational institution’s program. When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited and which organization granted accreditation.

Two industry organizations evaluate and certify HVAC programs: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence.

PAHRA has awarded accreditation to Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque. HVAC Excellence has also accredited Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque and Eastern New Mexico University in Roswell. Although attending classes in Roswell would require a lengthy commute for Albuquerque students—about three hours—the school is profiled below due to its accreditation.

Accredited HVAC Programs in Albuquerque, NM

Central New Mexico Community College

CNM offers two certificate programs and one-degree program in HVAC/R via its School of Applied Technology. Students in all three programs learn about safety practices and how to design, build, and maintain HVAC or HVAC/R equipment and systems. Coursework consists of classroom lectures and hands-on lab training.

The 26-credit residential HVAC certificate program includes coursework in the basics of HVAC as well as electrical circuitry, troubleshooting, residential heat pumps, motors and controls, and retrofitting systems. Graduates are qualified to seek entry-level employment as residential HVAC technicians.

Students complete the same coursework for the 53-credit commercial, industrial HVAC/R and green building performance certificate program. Additional classes include hydronics and controls, hot water and steam generation systems, chilled water systems, code and safety requirements, commercial and industrial refrigeration, energy efficiency, green building standards, and green building code compliance. Students also design systems that take into account load calculations, duct design, and performance analysis.

The 65-credit HVAC/R technology degree program includes all of the coursework in the certificate programs as well as additional technology coursework. Students are also required to take general education classes in writing, mathematics, information literacy and systems, social and behavioral science, and a humanities elective. They are also required to complete 150 hours of supervised training at an approved HVAC workplace.

  • Location: Albuquerque, NM
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, HVAC Excellence, and PAHRA
  • Tuition: $55 per credit
  • Program length: 42 weeks for the residential HVAC certificate, 72 weeks for the commercial HVAC/R certificate, and two years for the degree

Eastern New Mexico University, Roswell

ENMU-Roswell offers a certificate and a degree program in HVAC/R technology as well as a certificate program in commercial refrigeration. Before enrolling in any of the programs, students are required to take the university skills placement test. The programs include classroom lectures and hands-on training in the lab.

The 37-credit commercial refrigeration certificate explores courses in entrepreneurship, an introduction to HVAC/R, introductory and advanced HVAC/R electricity, ice makers, HVAC/R controls, refrigeration cycle, refrigeration service and problem analysis, employability skills. Students also complete a co-op or internship training.

Students enrolled in the 41-credit HVAC technology certificate program complete the following curriculum in addition to the same introductory coursework as the HVAC/R certificate: heat pumps, air flow principles, duct design, heating systems, and customer service. They also complete a co-op or internship training.

The 65-credit HVAC/R technology associate’s degree includes all of the technology coursework required for the certificate programs and classes in computer skills, communication, English composition, technical writing, technical math, and multiplexed evaporative systems.

  • Location: Roswell, NM
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission and HVAC Excellence
  • Tuition: $94 per credit
  • Program length: 40 weeks for the certificate programs and two years for the degree

HVAC Certification & Licensing in Albuquerque, NM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires technicians who work with refrigerants to obtain a Section 608 Certification. Certification requires passing an exam on the safe handling of refrigerants. The four certifications are:

  • Type I for technicians who work with small appliances
  • Type II for technicians who work with high-pressure refrigerants
  • Type III for technicians who work with low-pressure refrigerants
  • Universal (Type IV) for technicians who work with all equipment

Practice exams are available online.

Technicians may complete additional training and HVAC certifications from the following industry organizations:

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

The New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department requires anyone performing construction-related contracting to be licensed. Self-employed technicians are regarded as contractors, except those doing handyman or minor work that does not exceed $7,200 per year.

Licensing requires passing two exams: one on business and law and the other on HVAC. The cost of each exam is $68.88. As well as proof of passing scores, applicants must submit a verification of work experience, a tax registration number, a $10,000 contractor bond, proof of workers compensation coverage, proof of financial responsibility, a notarized application form, and a $36 fee. The license is good for three years. Renewal requires up to five hours of approved continuing education credits.

As a final note, the Bernalillo County Planning and Development Service requires anyone doing business in the county to obtain a business license. Applicants must submit a completed application form and a $50 fee and renew their license annually. The City of Albuquerque also requires all companies to register and pay a $35 fee and renew their license annually.

All HVAC workers are urged to verify that they have all necessary credentialing prior to beginning work in Albuquerque or anywhere else.