Rochester, NY HVAC Training Schools

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The extremely varied climate of Rochester, NY makes this city an ideal location to begin a new career in the field of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). By illustration, the Weather Channel (2017) reported that the average low temperature in Rochester during January is 18 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average high in July is 81. In light of this variation, there is a significant demand for skilled professionals in climate control, including those with training in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC).

Rochester is home to (or nearby) various HVAC societies that provide support, member discounts, events, networking, general advocacy, and other resources to professionals in this field. For example, HVAC engineers have the option of obtaining membership to the Rochester Engineering Society, an organization dedicated to HVAC professionals and other engineers in the area. Through this society, HVAC workers have access to myriad benefits, including an annual gala, a magazine subscription, a tutoring program, scholarship opportunities, and other forms of professional representation. Furthermore, HVAC workers also may choose to affiliate with the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers – Rochester Chapter, as well. This national society currently has more than 50,000 members across the country, and provides access to chapter meetings, a buyer’s guide, a monthly newsletter, and other information. Additionally, members have access to potential job opportunities. Overall, both of these societies, among others in Rochester and the surrounding areas, provide a slew of membership benefits.

So what should HVAC professionals in Rochester, NY be prepared to do? Here are some typical daily responsibilities in this profession:

  • Educate customers energy conservation practices
  • Perform heat load and loss calculations
  • Solder and braze parts
  • Maintain all necessary credentialing
  • Verify compliance with all local and federal regulations
  • Calibrate all controls to manufacturer specifications
  • Travel to job sites
  • Read and interpret blueprints
  • Calibrate all controls to manufacturer specifications
  • Keep service records
  • Test circuitry and components of HVAC equipment

Additionally, all aspiring HVAC workers in Rochester should know that anyone working with environmentally sensitive refrigerants must maintain active EPA Section 608 Certification; failing to do so is a violation of the law.

Ultimately, beginning a new career in the HVAC industry requires a strong understanding of the field, a desire to work in this capacity, and some type of HVAC-related education. For anyone considering a career in the HVAC field, the following provides a brief overview of the steps necessary to break into this industry, as well as other relevant information, including salary expectations, licensure and certification requirements, and a handful of accredited HVAC schools that provide education for prospective HVAC workers in Rochester.

Occupational Demand for HVAC Technicians in Rochester

Aspiring HVAC workers in the Rochester area enjoy a high-growth and relatively lucrative occupation, especially in a position generally requiring only one to two years of postsecondary education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2016) reported that there were 294,730 HVAC professionals across the country, making an annual average salary of $48,320; furthermore, the number of positions nationally was expected to increase 14 percent between 2014 and 2024 (BLS Dec. 2015), adding 39,600 fresh jobs. And the estimates for the state of New York surpass those for the rest of the nation. Projections Central (2017) posits a 26.5 percent increase in HVAC positions throughout New York over the same decade, adding 3,840 positions across the state. It’s worth noting that both the national and state-based job growth figures are higher than the average growth expected across all occupations between 2014 and 2024 (6.5 percent).

Various factors are propelling the growth of the HVAC industry in New York and beyond. To begin, nearly all buildings in Rochester are outfitted with climate-control technology, and virtually all new construction projects require the installation of an HVAC system. Additionally, routine maintenance is necessary to keep HVAC systems working properly, and these systems must still generally be replaced entirely every 10 to 15 years. Finally, rules and regulations affecting the HVAC industry are constantly evolving—as well as leading HVAC technologies and methods themselves— meaning that systems must continually be updated by talented workers with experience in the field.

One of the most direct ways to observe the strength of the HVAC industry in Rochester is by performing an online search for available jobs through various search engines. For example, Monster (July 2017) yielded 226 Rochester-based jobs in HVAC with companies such as the Superior Group, Betlem Service, Carestream Health, Inc., Cameron Craig Group, and Randstad Engineering, among many others. A similar search on Indeed (July 2017) yielded 213 job openings, including opportunities with the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester Regional Health, LaBella Associates, St. John Fisher College, Siemens, and many more.

HVAC Worker Salary in Rochester, NY

According to the BLS (May 2016), HVAC professionals earn fairly competitive salaries, particularly for the level of education required; in fact, the median salary for HVAC workers was approximately $45,910 per year, or $22.07 per hour. In more detailed terms, here were the salary percentiles for HVAC professionals nationwide:

United States (294,730 HVAC workers): $48,320 annual average salary

  • 10th percentile: $28,440
  • 25th percentile: $35,440
  • 50th percentile (median): $45,910
  • 75th percentile: $58,960
  • 90th percentile: $73,350

In hourly figures, these salaries amounted to:

United States: $23.23/hr. Average

  • 10th percentile: $13.67/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $17.04/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $22.07/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $28.35/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $35.26/hr.

The national figures were slightly different according to another source of data, Payscale (July 2017), which relies on self-reported salaries. Among the HVAC workers reporting their annual salaries, Payscale found these percentiles:

United States: 454 HVAC workers responding

  • 10th percentile: $28,000
  • 25th percentile: $35,000
  • 50th percentile (median): $43,242
  • 75th percentile: $54,000
  • 90th percentile: $67,000

An additional 2,547 HVAC workers gave Payscale their hourly salary figures, resulting in these percentile wages:

  • 10th percentile: $13.00/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $15.00/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $19.15/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $24.00/hr.
  • 90th percentile: $29.00/hr.

Overall, HVAC workers in New York earn, on average, more than those throughout the rest of the country. As proof of point, the BLS (May 2016) highlighted that the mean annual salary for NY’s HVAC workers was $55,650 with the following percentiles:

New York (15,930 HVAC workers): $55,650 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $32,290
  • 25th percentile: $40,530
  • 50th percentile (median): $52,790
  • 75th percentile: $68,530
  • 90th percentile: $86,590

In hourly figures, these equated to:

New York: $26.76/hour average

  • 10th percentile: $15.53
  • 25th percentile: $19.48
  • 50th percentile (median): $25.38
  • 75th percentile: $32.95
  • 90th percentile: $41.63

In addition, the BLS (May 2016) offered regional statistics. There are four BLS-designated locations within 100 miles of Rochester with the following numbers of HVAC workers employed, average salaries, and wage percentiles:

Rochester (1,200 HVAC workers): $47,130 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $30,370
  • 25th percentile: $35,300
  • 50th percentile: $44,360
  • 75th percentile: $56,310
  • 90th percentile: $68,790

Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls (790 HVAC workers): $47,000 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $27,660
  • 25th percentile: $31,920
  • 50th percentile: $41,290
  • 75th percentile: $57,420
  • 90th percentile: $79,830

Ithaca (60 HVAC workers): $51,440 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $29,980
  • 25th percentile: $41,180
  • 50th percentile: $48,150
  • 75th percentile: $67,180
  • 90th percentile: $76,770

Syracuse (690 HVAC workers): $46,200 average annual salary

  • 10th percentile: $29,100
  • 25th percentile: $34,940
  • 50th percentile: $44,110
  • 75th percentile: $55,970
  • 90th percentile: $66,710

Accredited HVAC Schools in Rochester

Aspiring HVAC workers in Rochester should be aware of the multiple pathways leading to this career. In general, prospective professionals can obtain education in a formal academic program, complete an apprenticeship, or receive training in another manner.

For one, prospective HVAC workers have the option of pursuing an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree through Monroe Community College, which is affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY) system. This program prepares students to pursue a bachelor’s degree or to move straight into a career. It includes courses on air conditioning and basic refrigeration theory, electric and motor controls, energy management, HVAC workplace training, and many more. This will also prepare students to sit for the EPA Section 608 examination and the NATE examinations. Tuition for New York residents completing this program is set at $2,140 per semester, excluding additional fees.

Those interested a new career in HVAC (but don’t wish to commit to a full undergraduate degree) may be interested in obtaining training at the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Center for Workforce Development. This institute provides a 20-week (600-hour) training for aspiring HVAC workers, which requires students to take courses Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 3:00. Tuition for this program is $7,700, which includes books and examination fees, and this program also prepares graduates for the EPA Section 608 examination, among other credentialing exams.

Also, prospective HVAC workers in Rochester, NY also have the option of completing an apprenticeship program, which is possible through the UA Local #13 Plumbers & Pipefitters, for one. This highly-selective apprenticeship program fully prepares apprentices for a career in this field by requiring them to work under a skilled HVAC professional with years in the field. After the completion of the apprenticeship program, which may take up to five years, the HVAC worker will have a comprehensive knowledge of all the tasks required of a professional in this industry.

Finally, some aspiring HVAC workers in Rochester complete a certificate or degree from an accredited program, which generally takes between six months and two years. Currently, two main organizations offer accreditation for local HVAC programs: the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) and HVAC Excellence. Prospective HVAC professionals are advised to look at the websites of both of these organizations to develop a thorough understanding of the accreditation process. There is one PAHRA-accredited program available in Rochester through Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning, which boasts a four-year education program (two years of HVAC education, two years of specialized training) with a state-of-the-art technician lab; 21 education modules; and preparation for various NATE certifications.

Rochester, NY HVAC Certification and Licensing

As mentioned, all HVAC professionals who handle refrigerants in their job must possess the EPA Section 608 Certification. Four subtypes of this certification are available: type 1 (small appliances), type 2 (high-pressure appliances), type 3 (low-pressure appliances), and type 4 (universal). However, virtually all training programs will prepare graduates to successfully complete this examination.

Furthermore, a number of additional skill-specific certifications are offered in New York through HVAC Excellence (e.g., Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology Plus); North American Technician Excellence (e.g., Industry Competency Exams, ICE); the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (e.g., entry-level Certified Assistant Refrigeration Operator); and a number of others. These credentials document that the possessor retains specific qualifications, which can be beneficial when searching for a new job or negotiating for higher compensation. To discover more information about the national certifications offered for HVAC workers, visit the main HVAC certification page.

Future HVAC workers in Rochester should also note that while not all work in New York demands a specific certification, some regional licensure restrictions exist. To sit for the licensure examination to become registered as a refrigeration operator in Rochester, applicants must submit the following information :

  • Name and address
  • Name and additional information about previous employers
  • An exam fee of $60
  • An additional fee for licensure, which depends on a number of factors

Here, HVAC workers should note, however, that a license is not explicitly required to perform any type of work in this industry. Instead, according to the city code, an individual must obtain licensure if they need to work with equipment necessary to perform a refrigerating process that circulates refrigerants, or if they intend on operating a boiler or steam plant.

In short, before working in HVAC, these professionals are still advised to perform thorough research regarding any potential licensure requirements to ensure they are staying within the regional bounds of the law.