HVAC Schools in Long Island, NY – Degrees & Certifications

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A varied climate throughout the year is only one of the reasons that many heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC) professionals choose to work in Long Island, NY.

These workers also enjoy local support and advocacy provided by various organizations and trade associations. For example, the Long Island and New York Mechanical Contractors Association (LINYMCA) promotes a high standard of business practices in the HVAC industry, offering members myriad benefits including help with finding apprenticeship programs, a regular newsletter, legal assistance, and more.

HVAC workers in the area can also enjoy the support of the Long Island Geothermal Energy Organization (LI-GEO), whose purpose is to “educate and advocate for the advancement of geothermal ground source heating and cooling systems on Long Island.” Ultimately, this non-profit organization aims to organize a regional trade organization around the use of geothermal heating and cooling systems, providing members access to industry resources and discounts, along with other advantages.

Finally, HVAC workers in the area can also receive assistance from the Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors of Long Island (PHCCLI), a local chapter of a national trade organization that hosts exclusive events and boasts other member benefits.

These organizations are integral to the well-being of HVAC workers and the strength of the industry as a whole. For the unaware, however, what exactly are the responsibilities and day-to-day tasks of HVAC workers? In general, HVAC professionals perform the following duties, among others:

  • Ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and laws
  • Test HVAC circuitry and components
  • Maintain necessary credentials for their job
  • Lay wiring and piping structure for all HVAC equipment
  • Travel to job sites when commuting is required
  • Read and interpret blueprints
  • Conduct maintenance and repair
  • Educate customers on best practices for saving resources

It’s important to note that this is certainly not an exhaustive list, and HVAC workers in Long Island may find themselves with a number of additional responsibilities. Also, aspiring professionals should know that all HVAC workers in Long Island who work with environmentally sensitive refrigerants need to maintain active EPA Section 608 certification, as failing to do so can lead to legal penalties.

In general, pursuing a career as an HVAC worker demands a thorough knowledge of the intricacies of both the job and the industry, as well as a significant amount of education in the field. The guide offers a career path for aspiring HVAC professionals, including salary expectations, certification and licensure requirements, and accredited HVAC programs in Long Island, NY.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Workers in Long Island, NY

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers promising employment projections for aspiring HVAC workers. In fact, salary expectations for these professionals are fairly generous and the industry is slated to grow significantly into the future.

According to BLS (2020) estimates, 15,100 new HVAC/R jobs will be created between 2019 and 2029, amounting to a nationwide increase of approximately 4 percent.

This rate is much higher for New York state HVAC opportunities, as Projections Central (2020)—a data organization partnered with the US Department of Labor—reported that there would be a 10.7 percent increase in HVAC positions across New York between 2018 and 2028. With the predicted addition of 2,290 fresh HVAC positions in NY, there is ample evidence that this is a promising profession in this state and across the country.

There are varied reasons for the rapid growth in the HVAC industry over the coming decade. For one, HVAC systems need routine maintenance and servicing and generally must be replaced every 10 to 15 years by skilled workers. In addition, HVAC regulations and laws regarding the HVAC industry are constantly changing, as well as industrial technology, all forces which necessitate constant system updates. It’s worth pointing out that nearly all structures in Long Island retain some form of climate control, and any new construction in the area requires the installation of new systems.

An online search for HVAC positions in Long Island illustrates the high demand for these professionals. For example, a search on Indeed (Sept. 2020) yielded 129 relevant results, including positions with Sears Home Services, Air Design, Transformco, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, and Tek Express, to name a few.

HVAC Technician Salary in Long Island

According to data provided by the BLS, HVAC professionals earn relatively high salaries, particularly in a career typically requiring two years or less of postsecondary education.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019) reported that there were 342,040 HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide with an average annual salary of $51,420, and 18,810 HVAC mechanics and installers in New York—the fourth-most among all states in the nation—with an average annual salary of $59,660.

The BLS does not have salary percentiles for the Long Island area; however, here are the salary percentiles of HVAC professionals across the US, New York State, and the greater NYC metropolitan area specifically:

United States New York State New York – Newark – Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 18,810 18,880
Annual mean wage $51,420 $59,660 $63,210
10th percentile $30,610 $34,290 $34,800
25th percentile $37,660 $42,980 $45,420
50th percentile (median) $48,730 $56,800 $61,420
75th percentile $62,070 $75,120 $81,090
90th percentile $77,920 $93,110 $96,540

Salary figures do vary by source of data. Payscale—an aggregator of self-reported salaries—found the following percentiles among its HVAC respondents nationwide in September 2020:

  • 10th percentile: $30,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $46,963
  • 90th percentile: $74,000

It’s worth noting that while HVAC workers in New York State boasted much higher salaries than the national figures, the state also has a significantly higher cost of living, as well.

To be sure, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC 2020) asserts that New York is the third most expensive state in the country, behind only Hawaii and the District of Columbia. That is certainly an important consideration.

Accredited HVAC Schools in Long Island, NY

Multiple pathways exist for aspiring HVAC workers to obtain the necessary education and training to begin a career in this field. For example, these individuals may choose to complete an apprenticeship, enroll in a formal program, or obtain training in another way.

Apprenticeship programs vary but typically require a three- to five-year commitment. All provide on-the-job training averaging 2,000 hours annually, and an average of 144 hours of classroom work each year.

Examples of associations offering apprentice programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
  • Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
  • Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors

In addition to apprenticeships, aspiring HVAC professionals in Huntsville can pursue a degree or training program. When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited, and if so, what agency accredited it.

Two organizations evaluate and award accreditation to HVAC programs:

  • HVAC Excellence
  • Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA)

As of Semptember 2020, there are no programs in Long Island that are accredited by these two organizations. However, the WSWHE BOCES is included in the list below as it is the only program accredited by HVAC Excellence in New York State.

Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES)

One source for education for HVAC workers in Long Island is the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), which provides a host of different courses covering various subjects.

The Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology of Eastern Suffolk BOCES offers an HVAC program that includes training in the installation, service and repair of air conditioning, cooling, heat pump systems, and electrical theory and service. The program has strong emphasis on green technology such as indoor air quality and HEPA filtration, solar and geothermal hot water heating, and air sealing.

The curriculum of the program includes courses such as residential air conditioning, marketing, electrical theory, indoor air quality, freezers and freezing systems, cooling and heat pump systems, efficiency rating, service procedures and troubleshooting, commercial refrigeration, air and duct sealing, alternative energy, energy efficiency, ice machines, air conditioning systems, and controls, circuits and instruments.

Upon graduation, students can take up roles such as service technician, service manager, installer’s helper, parts manager, air quality control specialist, heating and air conditioning mechanic/installer, manufacturer’s representative, and labor union apprentice, among others. Students will also have the opportunity to earn national licensing and certification in refrigerant handling from the EPA as well as gas and oil heat servicing certifications from NATE and NORA.

  • Location: Long Island, New York
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: One to two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $12,000

Suffolk County Community College

Those looking for HVAC training also have the option of pursuing HVAC programs at Suffolk County Community College, which prepares graduates for a career in the field. It offers both a certificate and an associate of applied science (AAS) degree program in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. These programs prepare students for challenging and rewarding positions in an ever-changing and growing HVAC/R industry.

The heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) technology certificate is made up of 34 credit-hours and all credits earned in this certificate program can be applied towards the associate degree. The curriculum includes courses such as refrigeration and air conditioning systems, standard freshman composition, technical writing, computer applications for technology, technical mathematics I, interpersonal communication, heating systems, HVAC/R control systems, HVAC/R diagnostics and servicing, and electricity for HVAC/R.

The heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R) technology associate degree consists of 64 credit-hours. It includes all courses from the certificate program with the addition of technical physics I, HVAC/R commercial systems, HVAC/R system design, and HVAC/R internship, among others.

At the end of the program, graduates will be able to effectively design, diagnose and service HVAC/R products and systems, communicate effectively, interpret, analyze and evaluate technical materials, and identify and explain industrial safety issues related to the HVAC/R field.

  • Location: Long Island, New York
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (two years); certificate (one year)
  • Estimated Tuition: Residents ($2,735 per semester); non-residents ($5,470 per semester)

WSWHE BOCES

Career and Technical Education – a division of the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES – offers an HVAC program, with a current curriculum that meets the industry demands and needs. The program trains students in areas such as installation, servicing and repairing of HVAC/R equipment, and systems in both residential and commercial applications. The program also focuses on safety and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements and regulations.

The curriculum includes topics such as safety and environment, blueprint reading, electrical principles, electric motors, piping principles and practices, refrigeration principles and practices, heating principles and practices, air conditioning principles and practices, commercial refrigeration, residential plumbing, commercial plumbing, residential wiring, and trade-related carpentry, among others.

Students completing the program successfully qualify to work as entry-level electricians, HVAC technicians, HVAC installers, and plumbers.

  • Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Accreditation: HVACExcellence
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two years
  • Estimated Tuition: $16,940

These are only a few of the HVAC training programs open to people in Long Island, NY. Please note that there are also accredited online HVAC programs available, which can accommodate geographical or time-related difficulties of attending an on-campus program.

HVAC Certification & Licensing in Long Island, NY

Prior to working in the industry, aspiring HVAC workers must first obtain the necessary certification and licensure as required by law. First, all workers who handle environmentally sensitive refrigerants must possess EPA Section 608 certification. This certification is split into four different types: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). Many HVAC/R programs ensure that graduates are fully prepared to sit for these certifying examinations.

Furthermore, other national organizations offer skill-based, employment-ready certifications. The following includes a short breakdown of some of these entities, along with sample certifications:

  • Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) – EPA Section 608, commercial air conditioning, dynamic compression, HVAC/R electrical, etc.
  • North American Technician Excellence (NATE) – air distribution, heat pump [air-to-air], hydronics gas, commercial refrigeration, light commercial refrigeration, etc.
  • HVAC Excellence – Heating, Electrical, Air-conditioning Technology [HEAT], HEAT Plus, residential heat load analysis, green awareness, etc.

A detailed list of national credentials can be viewed on the HVAC certifications page.

In addition, HVAC workers in Long Island are required to meet all local licensing requirements before performing any related work. While there isn’t a NY state license for HVAC professionals, municipal and county-level license requirements must be followed.

For example, HVAC contractors in Suffolk County must apply for a license through the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing & Consumer Affairs. Please note that there are both electric and plumbing categorizations in HVAC contracting, and separate applications and exams are required for each. To qualify for the country’s HVAC contractor license examination, applicants must submit the following:

  • Proof of at least seven years of experience during the past ten years
  • A detailed written statement about work experience
  • An “Affirmation Form”
  • A “Background Information Form”
  • Passport-style photo
  • An application fee

Above all, HVAC workers in Long Island, NY should ensure that they have all necessary local credentialing prior to beginning work.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.