HVAC Training Schools in New York City (NYC)

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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 Sep. 2019) reported that openings in this field are expected to increase 13 percent nationwide between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the average growth projected in all occupations during that time period (5 percent).

Furthermore, the greater New York City area employs more HVAC techs and installers than any other metropolitan region in the country (BLS 2019). With 18.880 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 2019) found that HVAC techs in NYC make an annual average salary of $63,210, substantially higher than the average salary for all occupations at $53,490 (BLS 2019). 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. NYC’s dense, urban population, will mean that demand for HVAC to keep people cool in the hot, humid summers and warm in the frigid winters will be ever needed. In addition, there’s a huge market for HVAC businesses that are designing and installing HVAC systems that play a role in protecting the health and wellness of those in NYC—particularly in the COVID-19 era.

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 (2019) 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 are 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 New York City (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 (2020)—an affiliate of the US Department of Labor—points out that opportunities for HVAC workers in New York will swell 15 percent between 2016 and 2026. This equates to 2,100 new jobs in this field annually. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS Dec. 2019) offers more recent data on growth in HVAC positions nationwide—projecting a 13 percent increase between 2018 and 2028—resulting in an impressive 46,300 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 fourth top-employer in this profession (BLS 2019). 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:

  • Air Conditioning Contractors of America – Greater New York Chapter
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers – New York City Chapter (ASHRAE NY)
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of New York (NYMCA)
  • New York State Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors (NYSPHCC)

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 New York City (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 2019), the 342,040 HVAC mechanics and installers nationwide make an annual average salary of $51,420, a figure roughly on par with the mean salary for all occupations ($53,490).

For the 18,810 HVAC professionals in the state of New York, however, this average annual salary jumped to $59,660, 14 percent higher than the national average for HVAC technicians. In granular terms, here is a comparison of HVAC technician salaries and employment figures in the country versus New York (BLS May 2019):

United States New York State New-York NY; Newark, PA; Jersey City, NJ
Number of HVAC professionals employed 342,040 18,810 18,880
Average annual salary $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

Accredited HVAC Schools In New York City (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.

WSWHE BOCES / Meyers Education Center

The sole program in New York state accredited by HVAC Excellence is available at WSWHE BOCES / Meyers Education Center in Saratoga Springs, three hours north of NYC.

This two-year HVAC/R program—including coursework in blueprint reading, piping principles and 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.

  • Location: Sarasota Springs, New York
  • Accreditation: HVAC Excellence
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $23,482 for the program

Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning University

The only PAHRA-accredited program in NY state is in Rochester at Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning University. This school has an 1,800-sq-ft. 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.

The employee program involves two years of education followed by two additional years of specialty training. Issac also offers a 12-week bootcamp program to get new HVAC techs started in the field. Most impressively, Isaac has more than 90 NATE-certified technicians across 486 specialties—more than any company in the country.

  • Location: Rochester, New York
  • Accreditation: PAHRA
  • Duration: 12 weeks to four years.
  • Tuition: Participants are paid as they complete the program

Luckily for aspiring HVAC technicians in NYC, there are other, high-quality training options within NYC.

APEX Technical School

The APEX Technical School offers an air conditioning, refrigeration, and appliance/controls program to prepare graduates to work in residential and commercial HVAC. The program includes 450 hours of classroom learning nad 450 hours of hands-on training, as well as preparation to sit for the EPA section 608 certification exam.

Coursework in the program includes major home appliances, domestic refrigeration/air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and commercial air conditioning.

  • Location: Long Island City, NY
  • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Duration: 30 weeks
  • Tuition: $18,295 for the program

Suffolk County Community College

Just 50 miles from Manhattan, and part of the SUNY system, Suffolk County Community College offers an associate of applied science (AAS) and a certificate program in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration.

The 64-credit-hour AAS provides students with a well-rounded education to prepare them for the ever-changing field of HVAC, while the 34-credit-hour certificate may be best suited to those who are already employed, already have an associate degree, or are looking to change careers. Coursework in the programs includes electricity for HVAC/R, technical writing, HVAC/R control systems, interpersonal communication, and HVAC/R diagnostics and servicing.

  • Location: Brentwood, NT
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Duration: Two years
  • Tuition: $2,735 per semester (residents), $5,470 per semester (non-residents)

HVAC Licensing & Certification in New York City (NYC)

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.

Becca Brewer

Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by fostering healing, human wholeness, and next-world building through storytelling help, one-on-one self-awareness workshops, and customized team-alignment sessions. She offers these services at a rate of $0.00 to anyone interested (contact her at rkbrewer@gmail.com for more information). Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.