HVAC Training in New York State

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The Empire State has a long history in heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration (HVAC-R or HVAC). American Weathermakers notes that in 1903, the New York Stock Exchange building was one of the first structures in the world to use an air conditioning system.

With frigid winters and hot, humid summers, it’s no surprise that the people of New York (NY) have become dependent on HVAC systems. Indeed, NYC’s many residential tenants enjoy a Warranty of Habitability, a law that makes landlords or property owners responsible for making the building “safe and livable” at all times. Habitability can apply to heating or cooling systems, and this law is one of many factors contributing to a thriving employment climate for HVAC workers in NYC across New York.

Not only is there evidence of high demand for these skilled professionals, but several professional associations support these workers in their jobs with legal advocacy, ongoing training, and networking opportunities. For example, the Metropolitan Air Conditioning Contractors (MACC) of New York offer abundant technical information, promote sound business practices, and provide targeted influence for public policy.

So what exactly do HVAC technicians in New York do? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that these trained workers install and repair HVAC systems and components (e.g., refrigerant controls, hermetic compressors, filters, belts, split systems, ductless splits, electric motors, heat pumps, unit heaters, electrical wiring, humidifiers, etc.); solder and braze system parts; interpret blueprints & mechanical drawings; calculate heat loads & losses; offer customers advice on maximizing efficiency, and maintain compliance with regional and federal legislation.

Read on to discover the bright employment outlook for New York HVAC workers and learn in-depth about the salary prospects (statewide and regionally), accredited HVAC programs, and credentialing in this industry.

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HVAC Occupational Demand In New York (NY)

Luckily for HVAC technicians nationwide, particularly in New York, there is expected to be a growing demand for qualified professionals in this field in the coming decade. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 5 percent increase in openings for HVAC workers around the country between 2021 and 2031, as fast as the average growth expected across all occupations during that period (5 percent).

The outlook is even brighter for residents of the Empire State. As proof of point, Projections Central (2023) found that demand for HVAC professionals in New York specifically is expected to grow 19.7 percent between 2020 and 2030, which means an additional 3,810 openings for these professionals.

As mentioned in the introduction, nearly all New York residential structures depend on climate control systems due to seasonally inclement weather. HVAC workers in NY are employed in residences, factories, schools, hospitals, retail areas, restaurants, and more. While some of these workers service specific job sites daily—especially in larger buildings with more complex systems—others may be called upon to travel to different locations to fulfill service contracts.

Also, some HVAC techs in NY work normal business hours, although they may be called upon to work evenings, holidays, or weekends during the winter and summer months when services are most in-demand.

The BLS notes that people in this profession incur a higher-than-average injury and illness rate than other occupations. This is likely due to the physical nature of the work, as well as the type of equipment and chemicals to which workers may be exposed. These factors can result in muscle strains, burns, electrical shock, and other maladies. Therefore HVAC workers need to receive the proper training to ensure safety.

The good news is that there’s no shortage of opportunities for qualified HVAC technicians, mechanics, and installers who have the right training under their belts. Indeed (September 2023) had 1,128 job postings for HVAC workers in NY, including openings at Petro Home Services, G.A. Bove Fuels, Northwell Health, AFGO Mechanical Services, Carrier, and Power Cooling. In sum, this is expected to be a high-growth career for New Yorkers in the years to come.

New York (NY) HVAC Technician Salary Data

Not only are HVAC occupations among the fastest growing in New York, but the state also employs the fourth most workers in this field relative to other US states. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2022) reported 20,150 HVAC mechanics and installers in the state with a high concentration in NYC. The New York City metropolitan area (which includes parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania) employs 19,480 HVAC workers–more than any other metropolitan region in the country.

Furthermore, the state boasts higher-than-average wages for HVAC workers. As proof of point, the United States employs 374,770 HVAC workers with an average annual salary (mean annual wage) of $57,460. In NY, the average salary in this field is $69,540.

In more detailed terms, here is a breakdown of the salary percentiles among all HVAC workers in the country compared with New Yorkers (BLS May 2022):

United States New York
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 374,770 20,150
Annual Mean Wage $57,460 $69,540
10th percentile $36,170 $38,900
25th percentile $44,100 $49,710
50th percentile $51,390 $64,690
75th percentile $65,630 $81,140
90th percentile $82,630 $99,260

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, PayScale (September 2023), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles for the US:

  • 10th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $54,371
  • 90th percentile: $84,000

It is important to note that while the wages in New York are higher than national wages, so too is the cost of living. By illustration, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2023) reported that NY is the fifth most expensive state in the country, particularly for housing. The Empire State comes in behind only Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and California. A high cost of living means that even higher than average salaries will not go as far as they would in other states, so prospective HVAC workers should keep that in mind while evaluating the state’s salary data.

Not surprisingly, the wages for HVAC workers tended to vary by region within the state of New York as well. The 19,480 HVAC techs in New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA earned the highest average salary of $72,820.

HVAC Apprenticeships in New York (NY)

To prepare for employment in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration, it’s crucial to receive the proper training. Some workers receive their training on the job through apprenticeships, which last from three to five years and comprise 2,000 hours of on-the-job learning; others choose to attend a diploma, certificate, or degree program.

Luckily, there are several accredited schools throughout New York to prepare people for this high-growth career.

Accredited HVAC Schools in New York (NY)

One way to distinguish between programs is by examining a program’s accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that an objective accrediting body has evaluated its program for its curriculum, faculty, facilities, and learning outcomes. The two main accreditation organizations for HVAC training schools are HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).


One HVAC Excellence-accredited program in NY is available at the WSWHE BOCES / Myers Education Center of Saratoga Springs. Combining classroom lectures with hands-on training, this two-year school provides competency-based certification training in the installation, service & repair, and routine maintenance of HVAC equipment.

With a unique emphasis on shop operations, customer service, and business ethics, coursework covers wide-ranging topics such as blueprint reading; planning & estimating jobs; refrigeration principles & practices; electrical motors; and trade-related carpentry. The curriculum also includes the Home Performance ENERGY STAR program and an internship.

Various skill-based credentials can be earned through this school, including multiple HVAC Excellence certifications, Fork Truck Licensure, and OSHA 10 & 30-hour certificates.

On successful completion of the program, graduates will qualify to work as HVAC installers, entry-level electricians, HVAC technicians, commercial technicians, plumbers, service managers, and job estimators.

  • Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Accreditation: N/A
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Part-time (24 months); full-time (12 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the center for details

Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning Inc.

There is also one PAHRA-accredited program in New York at Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. of Rochester. Isaac’s new training and education center in Rochester has extensive HVAC training programs available. Their new 30,000-square-foot lab includes all the kinds of equipment that their technicians install, service, or maintain.

The program comprises two years of HVAC education and two additional years of specialized training. Notably, this is the sole contractor-run training program with PAHRA certification, and the faculty includes 75 NATE-certified technicians with more than 400 specialties, more than any other program in the country.

Furthermore, Isaac received the 2003 Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) “Excellence in Training” Award.

  • Location: Rochester, NY
  • Accreditation: PAHRA
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact the university for details

Electrical Training Center Inc.

The Electrical Training Center Inc. of Long Island offers an HVAC certificate program which is ideal for those with little or no experience in the HVAC-R industry but wish to begin a career in this industry. The program also provides certifications in EPA 608 Exam & OSHA 30.
Comprising 600 clock hours the program includes courses in trade mathematics; introduction to hand tools; basic electricity; introduction to cooling; air distribution systems; soldering & brazing; metering devices; heat pumps; troubleshooting gas heating; commercial airside systems; and air quality equipment.

Students will progressively complete each course to acquire entry-level skills in each unit of the course. On successful completion, graduates will receive a certificate of completion. They will have the necessary knowledge and skills for starting a career in the HVAC-R industry.

  • Location: Copiague, NY
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Day sessions (20 weeks); evening sessions (27 weeks)
  • Estimated Tuition: $11,130 plus fees

Suffolk Community College

Additionally, Suffolk Community College provides an associate of applied science (AAS) degree and certificate in HVAC-R preparing students to enter the workforce as HVAC-R technicians.
The certificate comprises 34 credits while the AAS degree program comprises 64 to 66 credits. This competitive program includes internships, laboratory sessions, and didactic coursework in refrigeration & air conditioning systems; electricity for HVAC-R; technical writing; HVAC-R control systems; and interpersonal communication.

Students will develop the required knowledge and skills. They will also learn about basic refrigeration, fabrication and joining techniques, heating, commercial refrigeration, air conditioning, electrical fundamentals, design of HVAC-R systems, and HVAC-R controls.

  • Location: Selden, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (24 months); certificate (less than a year)
  • Estimated Tuition: Residents ($235 per credit); non-residents ($470 per credit)

Monroe Community College

Monroe Community College of Rochester also offers a certificate and an AAS degree in HVAC technology. Affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY), Monroe Community College provides students with a thorough understanding of the applications and theory necessary for the operation of the system.

The certificate program comprises 31 to 32 credits including coursework in heating systems; air conditioning theory; HVAC workplace training; preparatory physics; electric & motor controls; basic refrigeration theory; commercial air conditioning & heat pumps; a math elective; and additional HVAC electives.

The associate degree program consists of 61 to 64 credits including all courses mentioned above with additional coursework in introduction to technical mathematics; college composition; personal money management; introduction to sociology; and public speaking, among others.

Graduates of the program will be ready to take up roles such as preventative maintenance mechanic, installation or service technician, service representative, construction field estimator, sales representative, and systems detailer or designer.

  • Location: Rochester, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificate (two semesters); AAS degree (four semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: New York State resident ($204 per credit); non-resident ($408 per credit)

Hudson Valley Community College

Hudson Valley Community College offers an associate in occupational studies program in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technical services preparing students to enter the HVAC industry with a solid background in designing, installing, and servicing residential and commercial HVAC-R systems. Combining hands-on work experience with classroom lectures, the program offers students a unique educational experience that will provide them with the training necessary for successfully entering the workforce.

Made up of 63 credits, the program includes courses such as refrigeration principles; electricity for HVAC-R; HVAC-R electrical systems application; heat transfer systems; HVAC-R systems design; refrigeration and AC systems applications; diagnosing and servicing; and HVAC-R control systems.

  • Location: Troy, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Four semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($211 per credit); non-resident ($422 per credit)

Dutchess Community College

Dutchess Community College offers an air conditioning & refrigeration technology certificate program preparing students for HVAC employment. Dutchess Community College’s new Mechatronics Lab has a dedicated HVAC Lab that focuses on heat pump systems and refrigeration, so students can graduate with the experience they need to start their careers.

This certificate will equip students with the specialized knowledge needed for entry-level employment in the commercial HVAC-R field. Graduates will be qualified to install, repair, and maintain HVAC equipment and will be prepared for positions in offices, food markets and processors, manufacturing plants, apartments, schools, and more. Comprising 29 to 30 credits, the program includes air conditioning and refrigeration; fundamentals of electricity; technical math; and technical drawing.

  • Location: Fishkill, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($200 per credit); non-resident ($400 per credit)

SUNY Erie Community College

SUNY Erie Community College offers a heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology certificate program preparing graduates to apply technical skills and knowledge in installing, servicing, repairing, and maintaining the equipment used in HVAC-R systems.

Consisting of 31 credits, the program includes courses such as tools, equipment, and materials; refrigeration principles; electricity for HVAC-R; heating systems; energy management; plumbing systems; industrial refrigeration; commercial air conditioning systems; and air conditioning and ventilation.

  • Location: Williamsville, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($217 per credit); non-resident ($434 per credit)

Mohawk Valley Community College

Mohawk Valley Community College offers an associate in occupational studies program in air conditioning technology preparing students to meet the growing needs of the commercial, industrial, and residential HVAC-R industries. Graduates will be prepared for careers such as heating and cooling service technicians, lab technicians, installers, and facilities maintenance mechanics.

The program comprises 64 credits and includes courses such as refrigeration; air conditioning principles; proper refrigerant usage; systems diagrams; air conditioning systems; commercial-industrial wiring; systems design; HVAC diagnostics; and AC motors and controls.

Mohawk Valley Community College also offers a 34-credit heating and air conditioning certificate.

  • Location: Utica, NY
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificate (two semesters); AAS degree (four semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: Resident ($215 per credit); non-resident ($322 per credit)

To learn more about training available specifically in New York City, check out the NYC HVAC programs page.

Lastly, on-campus programs may only be convenient for some, particularly those with unbreakable time commitments or those who live in more rural regions of the state. Luckily there are some high-quality, accredited online HVAC programs as well. Please visit the online HVAC programs page to learn more about these options.

HVAC Certification & Licensing in New York (NY)

One mandatory certification for all HVAC professionals who work with refrigerants in NY and nationwide is the EPA Section 608 certification. Due to the difficulty and environmentally sensitive nature of handling refrigerants, these workers must be specially trained and nationally credentialed. There are four categories of this certification: type I (small appliances), type II (high-pressure refrigerants), type III (low-pressure refrigerants), and type IV (universal).

In addition to the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) and HVAC Excellence certification programs discussed above, the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) also provides professional credentialing.

Check out the main HVAC certifications page to learn about these options.

Finally, before seeking work as an HVAC technician in NY, receiving the proper local license or permit is crucial. Although no requisite state license exists for HVAC professionals in NY, cities may require a municipal license.

For example, in NYC, HVAC contractors must get a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) license through the NY Department of Consumer Affairs to work on residential or commercial properties. Also, NYC Buildings offers a mechanical/HVAC (MH) work permit for HVAC work within the city. Please visit the Department of Consumer Affairs to learn more about the local laws and necessary credentials in NYC.

Other cities have differing legislation and license-granting bodies. Here is a list of a few municipal organizations which issue HVAC credentialing and permits:

  • Rockland County Board of Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Examiners
  • Ithaca Building Department
  • Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs
  • Putnam County Plumbing & Mechanical Trades Board
  • Syracuse City Board of Mechanical Examiners

Ultimately, HVAC professionals who want to work in any area of NY should verify any licensing or certification requirements for that area before beginning work.

Jocelyn Blore

Jocelyn Blore is the chief content officer of Sechel Ventures and the co-author of the Women Breaking Barriers series. She graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley and traveled the world for five years. She also worked as an addiction specialist for two years in San Francisco. She’s interested in how culture shapes individuals and systems within societies—one of the many themes she writes about in her blog, Blore’s Razor (Instagram: @bloresrazor). She has served as managing editor for several healthcare websites since 2015.