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, which is 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 the great state of New York.

Not only is there evidence of high demand for these skilled professionals, but there are also several professional associations that 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 HVAC workers in New York, as well as to 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 and 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 2021) projected a 4 percent increase in openings for HVAC workers around the country between 2019 and 2029, as fast as the average growth expected across all occupations during that period (4 percent).

The outlook is even brighter for residents of the Empire State. As proof of point, Projections Central (2021) found that demand for HVAC professionals in New York specifically is expected to grow 10.7 percent between 2018 and 2028, which means an additional 2,430 openings for these professionals.

As mentioned in the introduction, nearly all residential structures in New York are dependent 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 (May 2020) notes that people in this profession incur a higher than average rate of injury and illness compared to 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 (August 2021) had 460 job postings for HVAC workers in NY, including openings at Leyden High School, Johnson Controls, Triton College, ABC Plumbing Heating Cooling and Electric Inc, CaptiveAire Systems, and Advocate Aurora Health. 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 2020) reported that there were 16,730 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 17,120 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 344,020 HVAC workers with an average annual salary (mean annual wage) of $53,410. In NY, the average salary in this field is $63,080.

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 2020):

United States New York
Number of HVAC Professionals Employed 344,020 16,730
Annual Mean Wage $53,410 $63,080
10th percentile $31,910 $36,860
25th percentile $39,320 $45,060
50th percentile $50,590 $59,250
75th percentile $64,350 $78,460
90th percentile $80,820 $97,550

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, PayScale (August 2021), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles for the US:

  • 10th percentile: $33,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $49,507
  • 90th percentile: $78,000

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 2021) reported that NY is the third most expensive state in the country, particularly for housing. The Empire State comes in behind only Hawaii and the District of Columbia. 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 17,120 HVAC techs in New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA earned the highest average salary of $67,780.

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, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).

WSWHE BOCES

There is one HVAC Excellence-accredited program in NY available at the WSWHE BOCES / Meyers 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: HVAC Excellence
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Part-time (24 months); full-time (12 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: Contact 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 an additional two years of specialized training. Notably, this is the sole contractor-run training program with PAHRA certification, and the faculty includes 90 NATE-certified technicians with 460 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 who have very 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 the 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: $10,580

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 is made up of 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 and 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
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (24 months); certificate (less than a year)
  • Estimated Tuition: Residents ($228 per credit); non-residents ($456 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 is made up of 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
  • Format: On-campus
  • Expected Time to Completion: Certificate (two semesters); AAS degree (four semesters)
  • Estimated Tuition: New York State resident ($196 per credit); non-resident ($392 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 not be convenient for everyone, 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)

There is one mandatory certification for all HVAC professionals who work with refrigerants in NY and nationwide: 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.

To learn in-depth about these options, check out the main HVAC certifications page.

Finally, before seeking work as an HVAC technician in NY, it’s crucial to receive the proper local license or permit. Although there is currently no requisite state license for HVAC professionals in NY, cities may require a municipal license.

For example, in NYC, HVAC contractors are required to 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 be sure to verify any licensing or certification requirements for that specific 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.