Maryland is known for many things, but one of the most important is its dedication to the HVAC industry. If you are in MD and plan on starting an HVAC technician career, you are in the right spot.
This article will examine the best HVAC trade schools in Maryland. We will also cover factors to identify the perfect school for you and what it takes to become an HVAC technician in Maryland. Read on to find out everything you need to know to start your HVAC career today.
HVAC Certification Requirements in Maryland
Maryland has some of the strictest HVAC technician standards in the country, but it is worth it. The entire program is apprenticeship based, from apprentice through master technician; the entire process is regulated, tested, and licensed.
There are 5 steps in the entire process and it breaks down like this:
- Obtain an apprenticeship license and begin working under a licensed professional.
- After 3 years on apprenticeship license with at least 1,875 hours of HVAC supervised work and pass journeyman test (70% or better).
- At this point, you are a journeyman HVAC tech and can begin working on your own.
- After working as a journeyman for at least 2 years, with 1,000 hours on the job in the previous 12 months, you can test for a limited license (70% or higher passing grade) for your limited license.
- After 3 years as a journeyman HVAC tech (all 3 years under Master licensed supervision) with at least 1,875 hours in the previous 12 months and 70% passing grade on the test, you can become either Master Restricted or Master Technician certified.
Insurance and liability coverage is required at all levels except apprentice as well. For full details, you can see the Maryland Department of Labor page.
How To Become An HVAC Technician in Maryland
The first step to becoming a certified and licensed HVAC technician in Maryland is to get your high school diploma or GED. From there, you have two basic options.
The first option is to find and apply for an apprenticeship. You will be on your own and have to do research and interviews by yourself. There are many opportunities, though, and this route is a tiny bit faster than the second option, depending on when you get accepted into the program and start working.
The second option is to attend an accredited HVAC school where you earn your certification, diploma, or degree. These schools will generally count towards your 1,875 hours for the apprenticeship program work.
The schools also offer postgraduate programs to help you find and apply for apprenticeships, so you aren’t left doing it alone. Plus, once you enter the apprenticeship, you will have fewer work hours to complete and already have a decent understanding of HVAC equipment and procedures.
Quick Guide in Choosing Your HVAC School
Before you enroll in any school, you should think about the factors that go into that decision. Finding the right school can catapult your career, but choosing wrong could set you back.
The school’s location is important as it will dictate the ease in which you can attend. Depending on your class schedule, you may need to find a school closer to your current job or home.
Attending class for lab hours and instruction is crucial to your success. You don’t want to choose a school that is difficult to get to as you may end up missing too much.
School accreditation is also important. Without accreditation, any credits earned will most likely not transfer, should you decide to continue your education.
Accreditation can also nullify your experience gained or hours performed. If the school isn’t accredited, the time, money, and effort spent will very likely go to waste, leaving you back at step one. You can check online if your chosen school holds accreditation or not.
Offers Quality Education
Aside from accreditation, the level of education the school offers is something you should investigate deeply. You can’t just go by the school website or reviews posted on their site or with affiliates. You should always tour the campus first.
You can talk to current students and staff to get a feel of the process and how the school’s atmosphere feels to you. Seeing the labs and knowing the level of detail given to the students, along with the proper books, software, or training equipment, are all things you won’t learn reading their websites.
Offers Hands-on Training
Hands-on training, or lab hours, are needed for trade skills. In the HVAC industry, the equipment, tools, and system operation isn’t something you can understand from a book or lecture alone.
With the lab work, you will see, touch, and use the tools, diagnose systems, and perform repairs to raise your confidence and knowledge. Most schools offer more lab hours than classroom hours, as it should be. If your school has more classwork than lab time, you may want to reconsider.
The only exception here is with a degree program that will require other classes. Colleges and universities will still have lab hours, but the classwork my be more involved.
Connects you to an Apprenticeship/Internship Program
In Maryland, the apprenticeship is the key to the entire process. A school that has postgraduate programs will be your best bet.
Apprenticeship programs can be challenging to get into. Having the school staff connect you with the right people, help you with the applications, and see that you get noticed are things you can’t usually do on your own.
Offers Customer Service Skills Training
Customer service is a large part of the HVAC technician’s job. Dealing with customers daily takes understanding and experience. The best course of action is to make sure your school has at least 1 class on customer service, especially if you don’t have any prior experience.
8 Best HVAC Schools in Maryland
Below are the 8 best HVAC schools in Maryland, reviewed and compared for you. Each school is separated by region. Find the options close to you and find your next HVAC school today.
1. All State Career
2200 Broening Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21224
Best Choice For: All-around training and testing for apprenticeship qualifications
All State Career is the top trade school in Maryland that focuses on getting you the education you need to begin your apprenticeship off on the right foot. The instructors are all industry trained technicians with the knowledge and experience to show you the ropes.
The course itself is fairly intensive and covers the tools, equipment, books, and software needed in the HVAC field. You also get a lot of lab hours for hands-on training while learning how to conduct interviews in the classroom. With EPA testing included, you will be well on your way to journeyman level upon graduation.
Windsor Mill, MD
2. North American Trade Schools
6901 Security Blvd, Windsor Mill, MD 21244
Best Choice For: Exam prep and real world experience
With North America Trade Schools, you get a comprehensive and complete training designed to get you working in the HVAC industry upon graduation. The courses offered give you ample opportunity in the lab as well as theory learning in the classroom.
You will be prepared for the EPA testing, apprenticeship programs to work in the HVAC industry as a sales, counter, or inspection person. Each aspect of the course counts towards the apprenticeship level hours for licensing, and you can continue your education to gain knowledge for other exams needed during your career.
3. Lincoln College of Technology
9325 Snowden River Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21046
Best Choice For: Full HVAC training from start to finish
Lincoln Tech is one of the countries largest and most prolific trade learning centers and offers accommodations for out of state students. They specialize in getting you enrolled with financial aid and other assistance programs.
Once enrolled, you will spend most of your time in the lab learning diagnostics, repair and installation. In the classroom you will learn electrical theory, customer service, and interview techniques. Upon graduating, you can take your certificate and use the post-grad programs to find the ideal apprenticeship for your needs.
4. UA Mechanical Trade School
8421 Ardwick Ardmore Rd, Landover, MD 20785
Best Choice For: Apprenticeship and licensing requirements
The local steamfitters union 602 has an apprenticeship program and learning through the UA Mechanical Trade school in Landover. This course gets you in the 602 apprenticeships and teaches you hands-on everything you need to know.
From the first minute, your hours count towards the apprenticeship hours and training. You will also be prepped for the license exams as you progress.
When your hours and training are completed, you will also be offered the exams so you can continue your career path and gain that journeyman license needed for gainful employment.
5. Carroll County Career & Technology Center
1229 Washington Rd, Westminster, MD 21157
Best Choice For: Current high school students interested in HVAC careers
Carroll County Career & Technology Center offers high school students a hands-on learning approach to grow interest in the HVAC field and career choices. While the hours do not count towards the apprenticeship and licensing requirements, students get a head start.
With basic and fundamental HVAC knowledge obtained, the center offers students a fast track into the apprenticeship, bypassing more expensive and lengthy trade schools to save money and start their careers sooner.
6. Hagerstown Community College
11400 Robinwood Dr, Hagerstown, MD 21742
Best Choice For: Apprenticeship preparation courses
Hagerstown Community College offers the Construction Trades courses designed to get you ready for the apprenticeship programs and courses required along the way. It is an inexpensive alternative to taking these core classes later.
With Construction Core Trades Part 1 and Part 2, you will meet all the apprenticeship coursework requirements and can begin the more advanced learning as soon as you get into the apprenticeship.
The total cost for both courses is less than $300, and you have a flexible scheduling availability for attendance.
7. Frederick County Career & Technology Center
7922 Opossumtown Pike #2964, Frederick, MD 21702
Best Choice For: Hands-on training in a real-world environment
Frederick County Career & Technology Center offs you the best chance at real-world learning. Their HVAC program takes you through everything you need to know to work on HVAC systems, including customer service, electrical theory, refrigeration standards, and hands-on learning.
The school also has a joint project where students install, service, and maintain live systems on actual construction sites and residential homes for real-world training. No other local school offers this opportunity to get your hands dirty on actual, working systems.
8. Frederick Community College
7932 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, MD 21701
Best Choice For: Continuing education opportunities
Just up the road from the previous listing, the Frederick Community College courses offer you the opportunity to make better choices in your HVAC career. You can train in HVAC labs with hands-on learning and classroom theory to obtain over 600 hours towards the Maryland journeyman licensing and jump into an apprenticeship upon graduation.
However, because the FCC credit-hours transfer, you also can continue your education searching for the associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs at 4-year universities. With fast track graduation and the ability to transfer to most Maryland Universities, you can earn your HVAC bachelor’s degree in as little as 3 years.
HVAC Training School Costs in Maryland
School costs will vary based on several factors. For trade schools, the cost is determined by the school’s location, if testing is included and how long the courses are. Shorter courses are generally cheaper.
However, if the school includes certification tests, such as the EPA 608 exam or HVAC certification exams, then the cost may be higher to cover those fees.
For college and universities, you will pay by the credit-hour. The cost will also depend on the length of the course, the number of classes, and if there are other class requirements. You will also pay more for a degree program over a certification or diploma program.
On average, you can expect to pay between $4,000 and $9,000 for trade schools, with an average 12-month course length. Degree programs will cost between $20,000 and $30,000 for an associate’s degree, or double that to $40,000 to $60,000 for a bachelor’s degree.
Is HVAC a Good Career Choice in Maryland?
Maryland is a great place to have an HVAC career. Jobs are on the rise in the state, and the wages are better than average. While it does take a lot more to become certified to work as an HVAC Tech, the pay off is worth it.
Maryland Entry Level HVAC Salary
Entry-level positions in the state generally run between $23 and $28 per hour for techs with less than 2 years experience. The average for the state, according to indeed.com, is $25.85 per hour, plus some overtime and benefit bonuses.
Maryland HVAC Tech Salary
For techs with more years of experience, you can expect your wages to steadily increase with the years and knowledge you obtain. Techs with at least 5 years of experience report earnings as high as $45 per hour. According to salary.com most experienced techs earn over $49,000 per year.
The top 20% of wages int eh state see annual salaries, including overtime and bonuses, reaching over $90,000. Of course, these wages are for Master technicians with years of experience and working in the state’s highest-paying areas.
Return on Investment
Maryland makes you put in a lot more of your time, money, and effort than most other states. However, they also reward your efforts with higher wages and more jobs per capita than those other states.
Because of the cost to value ratio being so high, the ROI of becoming a licensed journeyman HVAC technician in Maryland is much higher than almost everywhere else. Only Michigan and a select few other states have a higher ROI than Maryland.
Demand for HVAC Jobs in Maryland
According to the BLS, the HVAC industry is set to see at least a 13% growth rate over the next 10 years. This is much higher than most other jobs and trades and is one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.
In Maryland, as reported by CareerExplorer.com, the growth rate in Maryland is near 15%. This means that HVAC technicians are currently in high demand and will remain in demand for the next several years. If you ever thought about becoming an HVAC technician, right now is the time to start your journey.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
How do I get an HVAC job in Maryland?
Getting a job as an HVAC tech in Maryland isn’t as difficult as it may sound. You should start with a trade school or college course in HVAC, which will count towards your apprenticeship hours. Using the school’s postgraduate programs, you can find the ideal apprenticeship and begin working while gathering the experience and hours needed for the journeyman license.
Can I get an HVAC certification license online?
You can get a certification of completion award for completing an online HVAC course. However, these courses will not certify you to work as an HVAC technician in Maryland, lack the hands-on/lab hours required for HVAC certification, and are not part of the Maryland HVAC apprenticeship program.
Are there HVAC apprenticeships in Maryland?
Maryland has a lot of apprenticeship programs. If you are in an HVAC trade school or college program, you can check with your postgraduate programs office to find information on apprenticeships being offered at this time. If you are doing the process alone, your best bet is to look at the Maryland Apprenticeship Program on the State’s website to find current and open apprenticeship opportunities.
Can I get into HVAC with no experience?
In Maryland, you can get into HVAC with little to no experience. Each apprentice either starts directly out of school or on their own at the bottom of the apprenticeship ladder. Once approved and hired into an apprenticeship, your learning will begin, as long as you can meet the minimum requirements (age, high school diploma/GED, etc.).
How long does it take to get a degree in HVAC?
An associate’s degree in HVAC takes about 2 years. The bachelor’s degree program is 4 years long. However, each of these may be shortened with prior credit-hour transfers or testing out of required courses, if those options are available.
When is online HVAC programs advisable?
Online HVAC programs are advised when there is no other option left. If you live far away from a trade school campus or cannot attend classes during the set times due to work or other engagements, then an online course can get you up to speed. However, in Maryland you will be required to have specific hours on the job training, lab work, and hands-on education that you cannot get online.
What is the highest HVAC degree?
The highest available HVAC degree is the bachelor’s degree in HVAC/R. If you wish to go beyond the bachelor’s program, you will need to switch to an engineering degree with a particular focus on HVAC system design.
What makes Maryland a great place to start an HVAC career?
Maryland is a great place to start an HVAC career as their technician apprenticeship program is among the best in the country, the wages are higher than average, and there is little leeway in how the process works. A simple, straightforward (albeit long) process takes you from no experience to journeyman HVAC technician in just a few years.
How long does it take to get a contractor’s license in Maryland?
If you are looking to start your own contracting business in the HVAC field within Maryland, you must hold a Master HVAC Tech license. This also comes with insurance and bonding minimums. To reach Master tech level, you will need a minimum of 6 years in the apprenticeship program. However, most master techs meet requirements and pass license exams after 10 years or more.
Maryland has some of the strictest guidelines for HVAC technicians (and other trades). However, their apprenticeship programs are among the best in the country. While the process is longer than most other states, the rewards are also greater.
The best step forward is attending the right trade school to get your classwork, hours, and hands-on training started. This article showcased the best HVAC schools in Maryland to give you a better start in your HVAC career.