HVAC Training Schools In New York City

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For aspiring HVAC technicians and mechanics in NYC, there is a bright outlook for both job growth and salary prospects. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2015) reported that openings in this field are expected to increase 14 percent nationwide between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average growth projected in all occupations during that time period (7 percent). Furthermore, the greater New York City area employs more HVAC techs and installers than any other metropolitan region in the country (BLS 2015). With 10,340 of these skilled professionals and climbing, NYC provides a uniquely promising career outlook in HVAC.

Furthermore, the salaries in this field can be very attractive, particularly in the NYC area. As proof of point, the BLS (May 2015) found that HVAC techs in NYC make an annual average salary of $58,250, substantially higher than the average salary for all occupations at $48,320 (BLS 2015). Especially for a job which generally requires only one to two years of postsecondary training, this earning potential is impressive. And for skilled technicians seeking to really go the distance, starting one’s own HVAC business is a possibility. The News (Sept. 2015) profiled two NYC brothers—Raymond and Joseph Kishk—whose HVAC contracting company takes in more than $10 million annually. With 50 employees and 26 work vehicles, their company called Interstate Air Conditioning & Heating is also on the front lines of technological change with additions to the business such as a mobile app to facilitate client communications.

So what is it that HVAC technicians do? HVAC training programs in NYC teach students how to install, maintain, and repair heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning units. Refrigeration is often part of HVAC training and many programs are designated as HVACR or HVAC/R, the “R” being for “refrigeration”, to signal that the program includes refrigeration training. In more detailed terms, HVAC professionals can expect to work with light commercial systems, electric motors, circuits, heat pumps, air ducts, tubing joints, boilers, unit heaters, thermostats, split systems, hermetic compressors, burners, furnaces, fans, humidifiers, and more. As the BLS (2015) points out, HVAC systems are continually growing in complexity with evolving technologies, changing environmental legislation, aging buildings, and vast commercial development, especially in the City That Never Sleeps. There is a variety of paths to join this high-growth career—including completing an apprenticeship—but many are taking on more formal training programs. And fortunately for residents of the Big Apple, there is a wealth of accredited HVAC programs in NYC. There is one mandatory certification for all HVAC professionals who work with refrigerants: the EPA Section 608 credential. Obtaining this necessary certification is part of many NYC HVAC schools.

Read on to discover the occupational outlook for HVAC techs in NYC, as well as the variety of accredited HVAC programs across the city.

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Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in NYC

As mentioned in the introduction, there is an anticipated explosion in job openings for NYC HVAC technicians and installers for the coming decade. In fact, Career One Stop (2014)—an affiliate of the US Department of Labor—points out that opportunities for HVAC workers in New York will swell 12 percent between 2012 and 2022. This equates to 530 new jobs in this field annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2015) offers more recent data on growth in HVAC positions nationwide—projecting a 14 percent increase between 2014 and 2024—resulting in an impressive 8,420 HVAC jobs created annually across the country.

These prospects are even brighter for residents of NYC for several reasons. First, NYC boasts the highest number of HVAC workers of any metropolitan region in the country, and the state of New York is the third top-employer in this profession (BLS 2015). Second, there’s a wealth of places of employment in this field. Prospective HVAC workers can find openings in private residences as contractors, building firms, large corporate HVAC operations, and various other types of companies. To improve their employability, some NYC HVAC techs even choose to specialize in a type of equipment such as solar panels, hydronic (i.e., water-based) heating systems, or commercial refrigeration. Finally, there is an abundance of professional organizations in New York to give people in this field the support they need. One such group is the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors of New York City (NYC SMACNA). This trade association was incorporated in 1898 and provides members with industry representation, apprenticeship opportunities, labor relation advocacy, and education. Some of their valued guides available for purchase include training in HVAC duct inspections, roof-mounted outdoor AC systems, and kitchen ventilation standards. NYC SMACNA even provides a free duct leakage tool. Additionally, members have access to informative seminars, publications, meetings, and trace conventions.

Other organizations that may interest graduates of HVAC schools in NYC include:

Many other state and nationwide HVAC organizations may be available and able to provide technicians and mechanics with educational and networking support and to grow their training through outreach and advocacy.

HVAC Technician salary in NYC

While HVAC mechanics and installers across the country stand to make relatively high salaries, those working in NYC have an even greater advantage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2015), the 274,680 HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide make an annual average salary of $47,380, a figure roughly on par with the mean salary for all occupations ($48,320). For the 13,330 HVAC professionals in the state of New York, however, this average annual salary jumped to $54,410 representing a 14.8 percent increase.

In granular terms, here is a comparison of HVAC technician salaries and employment figures in the country versus New York (BLS May 2015):

United States (274,680 HVAC technicians employed): $47,380 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $27,790
  • 25th percentile: $34,920
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,110
  • 75th percentile: $58,070
  • 90th percentile: $71,690

New York State (13,330 employed): $54,410 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $31,570
  • 25th percentile: $39,280
  • 50th percentile (median): $50,040
  • 75th percentile: $69,160
  • 90th percentile: $82,480

In hourly terms, these figures are:

United States: $22.78/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $13.36/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $16.79/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $21.69/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $27.92/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $34.47/hr.

New York: $26.16/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $15.18/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $18.88/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $24.06/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $33.25/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $39.65/hr.

And these figures were even more impressive in New York City. According to the BLS (May 2015), HVAC mechanics and installers in the two designated regions of NYC boasted the following employment figures, salary averages, and percentiles:

New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division (10,340 HVAC technicians employed): $58,250 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $33,640
  • 25th percentile: $42,760
  • 50th percentile (median): $57,500
  • 75th percentile: $73,440
  • 90th percentile: $87,080

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (16,140 employed): $58,610 avg.

  • 10th percentile: $34,210
  • 25th percentile: $42,940
  • 50th percentile (median): $57,310
  • 75th percentile: $73,570
  • 90th percentile: $88,140

In hourly terms, these NYC salary figures equated to:

New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division: $28.00/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $16.17/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.56/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $27.64/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $35.31/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $41.87/hr.

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: $28.18/hr. average

  • 10th percentile: $16.45/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.65/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $27.55/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $35.37/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $42.38/hr.

Not surprisingly, these figures also tend to vary based on source of data. For example, while the BLS (May 2015) offers the most comprehensive look at wages across common occupations and regions available, self- or HR-reported salaries for HVAC technicians sometimes were different. In fact, Indeed (2016) found a $56,000 average annual salary for HVAC technicians in NYC. Payscale (2016)—an aggregator of self-reported salaries—reported the following figures among its 33 responding HVAC professionals in NYC:

  • 10th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $20.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $25.00/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $34.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $39.00/hr.

Finally, Salary.com (May 2016) relies on human resource department reports and found that HVAC mechanics in NYC make an annual average salary of $49,248 with the following percentiles:

  • 10th percentile: $35,963
  • 25th percentile: $42,294
  • 50th percentile (median): $49,248
  • 75th percentile: $57,839
  • 90th percentile: $65,660

Overall, salaries for HVAC mechanics and installers in NYC will vary by many factors, including training, specialization, employer, years of experience, and other variables.

Accredited HVAC schools in NYC

Aspiring students in this field are encouraged to check the accreditation status of their HVAC programs in NYC. Although getting a career diploma, certificate, or degree from an accredited program may not be a prerequisite to employment, it can be important for several reasons. First, accreditation agencies such as the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence have established standards for curricula, quality of instruction, school finances, student outcomes, and other measures of HVAC program efficacy. Second, some employers may prefer graduates of established HVAC training programs in NYC, and it can even enhance one’s earning potential and networking.

To learn more about accreditation, please check out the main HVAC programs page.

The sole program in New York state accredited by HVAC Excellence is available at WSWHE/BOCES in Saratoga Springs, three hours north of NYC. This two-year HVACR program—including coursework in blueprint reading, piping principles & practices, commercial refrigeration, and commercial conditioned-air systems—prepares graduates to take several certification exams such as the mandatory EPA Section 608 in refrigeration, various HVAC Excellence credentials, and OSHA 10 & 30 hour certificates. The only PAHRA-accredited program in NY state is in Rochester at Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning University. This school has an 1,800 sq. feet training lab for technicians boasting state-of-the-art equipment, advanced training with all Isaac products, and education in 21 specialized training modules such as industry codes and gas furnaces. This program involves two years of education followed by two additional years of specialty training. Most impressively, Isaac has more than 90 NATE certified technicians across 524 specialties, more than any company any in the country.

Luckily for aspiring HVAC technicians in NYC, there are some quality training options in the city as well. The Technical Career Institute (TCI) of New York focuses its HVAC associate degree on commercial & residential climate control and has evolved its training standards with the rise of “smart buildings.” In more detailed terms, students learn about safety codes, energy management, electric circuit analysis, and the principles of refrigeration, to name a few areas. TCI also offers preparation for Industry Certification Exams (ICE), the North American Technician Excellence exam (NATE), and the EPA’s Section 608 certification on refrigerant handling. This program costs $27,500, and 58 percent of enrollees finished in two years. The APEX Technical School has a 30-week program with units in basic refrigeration & air conditioning and major home appliances. Sixty-six percent of enrollees finished this program in 30 weeks, and it has an impressive 65 percent job placement rate among graduates. Finally, in nearby Bohemia, the Branford Hall Career Institute provides an HVAC technician training program with classes in residential systems, commercial systems (packaged & hydronics sub-modules), and indoor air systems. Branford Hall prepares graduates not only for the EPA Section 608 certification and OSHA 10 exams, but it also has a stellar career placement services department.

NYC HVAC Licensing & Certification

Many different types of certifications are available for graduates of HVAC schools in NYC. These certifications demonstrate a technician’s or mechanic’s competence through successful written or hands-on testing and may lead to improved chances for employability or better pay.

The aforementioned EPA 608 certification is required by law for those planning to work with refrigerants, which were historically ozone-depleting substances. Four EPA certification types are offered, one of which is universal and includes the other three. HVAC Excellence—founded in 1994 to improve competency and validation in HVAC education—offers specialized certifications in fields such as green awareness, duct testing, and system performance. Also, North American Technician Excellence (NATE)—a non-profit certification organization founded in 1997—has certification in varied areas such as air conditioning, air distribution, and others.

For a detailed exploration of the credentials available, please visit the HVAC certifications page.

While not all work in NYC requires specific certification, there are some regional licensure restrictions regarding the installation and maintenance of HVAC systems. In fact, HVAC workers in NYC must obtain a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) license prior to making certain changes on residential and commercial properties. The NY Department of Consumer Affairs controls licensure in this field. To apply for an HIC license, applicants must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Proof of business and home addresses
  • Sales tax ID number or a Certificate of Authority Application confirmation number
  • Workers’ compensation insurance information
  • Proof of enrollment in a DCA Trust Fund ($200) or a copy of a Surety Bond
  • Contractual compliance agreement
  • Home Improvement Exam ($50)
  • Fingerprints and a processing fee ($75)
  • A list of employees (if applicable)
  • Granting Authority to Act (if applicable)
  • Licensure fee

Finally, NYC Buildings provides a mechanical/HVAC (MH) work permit for specific types of HVAC work within the city. For the most up-to-date permitting information, please contact the Department of Consumer Affairs or NYC Buildings.