When potential HVAC technicians look up the best HVAC schools in NYC, they may forget there are schools closer to home. While HVAC techs are needed and trained in and around New York City, the state offers plenty of other options between its borders.
This article attempts to narrow down your choices and help you find the best HVAC school for your training and certification so you can work in NYC or any other part of the state.
HVAC Certification Requirements in New York
HVAC certification in the state of New York is not required. However, this does not mean that individual cities, townships, and municipalities have different regulations. Buffalo, NY, for example, requires that heating technicians have a license, while New York City does not.
These regulations include Long Island, Brooklyn, and Rochester. Even in Albany, NY, HVAC regulations are sparse. It is highly recommended you check with the city hall in your area to find out what requirements are currently in place.
You are required by federal law to obtain the EPA 608 certification. This is a single exam made up of 3 parts. You can pass any or all of the sections to become certified (Type I, II, or III); however, you must pass all three to be certified “Universal.”
HVAC schools will help you get ready for this exam, and some even have proctors so you can take the exam during the course of the program.
How To Become An HVAC Technician
In New York, you will need to determine what the local regulations are for the area you wish to work in. While most of the state does not require an HVAC license, some areas do. It is in your best interest, though, to become certified, so that you can further your career and be more valuable than someone just off the street.
The first step is to obtain a high school diploma or GED. Almost every employer in the state will require this, even in the specialty trades.
At this point, you can find an EPA 608 exam proctor and pay to take the exam, becoming EPA certified. However, it is better for your career and income potential if you are HVAC certified. This will entail enrolling in an HVAC program through a community college, university, or trade school.
Upon graduation, you will either be certified (through the school) have a degree, or be prepared for the certification exam.
Some employers will also require that you have hands-on experience. In these instances, you should seek out an internship or apprenticeship program. Military experience will usually count for this experience as well.
Once all of these steps are completed, you will be professionally certified for HVAC repairs, installations, and diagnostics.
Quick Guide in Choosing Your HVAC School
There are several things you need to consider before you open the search engine and click on the first school that pops up. Below is a guide to help you determine which factors of a school are important to you and how to tell the good from the bad.
The first thing to think about is where the school is physically located. It would be pointless to pay and enroll in a school you can’t get to. Hands-on training, lab work, and social interaction are an important portion of the courses, and if you aren’t there, you will miss out.
Accreditation is a process that schools go through to verify they adhere to specific educational regulations. You can check online to see if your chosen school is accredited. If it is not, you may want to pass.
While you can still get a certification, or learn things, a certificate or degree from a non-accredited school is almost worthless in the working world.
Offers Quality Education
Quality education is important. You are paying for this opportunity, and you need to get the most out of it. Part of this is learning from qualified and experienced instructors, having lab work and hands-on training, and small class sizes.
If the reviews are poor from students who attended, pay attention to what they are complaining about. If it is a lack of attention or a rushed lecture process, you may want to pass on the school.
Offers Hands-on Training
As mentioned a few times, hands-on training is invaluable. It is easy to open a book and learn that you need to use a charging manifold, but if you never hook one up or see the gauges in action, you won’t know what you are doing.
Hands-on instruction allows you to use the tools of the job in a real-world or lab setting. Learn by doing, and being able to ask questions, so you get a full understanding is crucial to your success.
Connects you to an Apprenticeship/Internship Program
While New York may not require a certification for HVAC employment, almost every employer will want experience. The best way to meet this requirement is to become part of an apprenticeship or internship program.
Most schools will offer these programs, or at a minimum, connect you with those that do offer them. Make sure your school has some post-graduate programs that help you throughout your career.
Offers Customer Service Skills Training
One overlooked facet of HVAC training is customer service. In the field you are working on systems that power everything from a single-family home to a skyscraper business building. Learning customer service skills is crucial for your job performance and customer satisfaction.
When looking at the curriculum of the school, check if they have a section on customer service. If not, you can ask about it or find a school that does list this portion of the learning process.
8 Best HVAC Schools in New York
New York is full of proper, well-formed HVAC schools. Finding the right one for you can be a difficult choice. The following list should help you narrow your choices down so you can get started as soon as possible.
Long Island, NY
1. Apex Technical School
24-02 Queens Plaza S, Long Island City, NY 11101
Best Choice For: Flexible class schedules
Apex Technical school lives up to its name. The top school in Long Island, Apex is a headhunter school where many businesses and companies find their next batch of employees.
A certificate with the school’s name at the top doesn’t guarantee employment, but it might as well. Not only is the class rigorous and thorough, but it also covers every aspect HVAC technicians will ever need.
Included are 900 hours over 30 weeks (450 hours class, 450 hours lab). When you graduate, all that is left is the EPA 608 certification, which is also covered in the instruction, leaving you nothing to fear when heading into the exam.
2. New York City College of Technology City Tech (CUNY)
186 Jay Street, Voorhees 437 (V-437) Brooklyn, NY 11201
Best Choice For: AAS in HVAC
CUNY offers a lot of programs, and each one is a top-notch education. The HVAC portion is no different.
Upon completion, you will hold an associate’s degree in HVAC and be more prepared for the EPA exams and gainful employment.
The course is a full 2-years and covers many lectures as well as book work and hands-on training. Nothing is left out. The college doesn’t teach to the exam. Instead, you will find practical applications that you can extrapolate from over the course of your new career.
3. Eerie Community College
121 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
Best Choice For: HVAC certification with heating license focus
Eerie Community College offers a certification program that covers practical HVAC applications in Buffalo, NY.
You focus on all aspects of the HVAC industry, with an emphasis on heating and ventilation. Since heating licenses are required in Buffalo, you will be ready to complete the program and move into the workforce.
This 2-semester course will grant you an HVAC certification upon completion, and have you prepped and ready for the EPA 608 exams.
They also offer great post-graduate programs, including job placement assistance. Financial aid is also available for those that qualify.
4. Monroe Community College
321 State St, Rochester, NY 14608
Best Choice For: Bachelor degree preparation
For those looking to be independent contractors, expand their current knowledge or refresh in order to advance in their career, look no further than Monroe CC.
Not only does the college offer an AAS degree program, but they also prep you for continuing education geared towards a bachelor’s degree.
With plenty of lab work, small class sizes, and introduction classes leading to advanced learning, there isn’t a better course available in the state that offers this much.
If you want to work for yourself and master HVAC, this is where you start.
5. Hudson Valley Community College
80 Vandenburgh Ave, Troy, NY 12180
Best Choice For: Continuing education for HVAC fast-track courses
For those residing upstate, Hudson Valley CC is among the leaders in HVAC courses and degrees.
You can complete a 2-year associate’s degree program (faster if you have acceptable credits already). For those fresh out of high school, HVCC is an ideal choice to fast track you into a career in HVAC without a lot of costs or hassle.
In-state residents can expect lower tuition fees, and financial aid is available, including scholarships.
You will find the post-grad job placement among the best in the state as well.
Saratoga Springs, NY
6. F. Donald Myers Education Center/CTE
15 Henning Road, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Best Choice For: Local instruction for area specific HVAC training
CTE offers an extensive program that teaches you HVAC with dedicated hands-on experience. The main difference here, and what sets them apart from the rest, is that they teach to the local area. This means the program is geared for HVAC systems that are local to the Saratoga Springs and surrounding areas.
Of course, you will be able to take your education anywhere, but if you want to work locally, this deeper understanding of the environmental impacts of HVAC systems is crucial to finding that perfect job.
7. Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning University
2760 Erie Blvd E, Syracuse, NY 13224
Best Choice For: Experienced in-industry instructors
Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning is a trade school that offers you an invaluable learning experience.
From their new 30,000 square foot lab and classes to the small class sizes, you get a hands-on, individualized learning experience like no other.
The best part is you will be fully certified upon graduation and learn from those that are still active in the industry. With an ever-changing market, it is beneficial to learn from those using the current techniques on modern systems.
8. Suffolk County Community College
Ammerman Campus, 533 College Rd, Selden, NY 11784
Best Choice For: Social engagement and college for high school students
SUNY Suffolk is an immersive experience not duplicated anywhere else. The AAS program gives you everything you need to start a rewarding HVAC career.
Not only does the college offer all required courses, but they also go the extra mile, including customer service and Energy Star understanding in their curriculum.
One of the best aspects is the HVAC Club, a weekly meeting of like-minded HVAC geared individuals that helps keep the community closer and more involved.
HVAC Training School Costs in New York
The range of tuition costs is wide and varied. A lot will depend on where you go to school and where you live. New York residents will pay less than out-of-state students in almost all cases. However, this is varied, as well.
For trade schools offering a certification program, the cost will average about $6500. Some schools have courses less than $4000, while others can exceed $8000. For a degree in HVAC, you will pay the school tuition fees as they stand that year or semester.
Community colleges, for example, generally charge in-state students between $8,000 and $11,000. A university will charge a little more, though the end result is either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in HVAC.
Is HVAC a Good Career Choice in NYC?
Because of the less strict regulations for trade careers, the pay scale will depend more on experience and work ethic. HVAC is a good career around the country, and New York is no exception.
New York Entry Level HVAC Salary
Those just starting out can expect an hourly range that starts at about $14 per hour. Higher-end employers will have entry-level to 2-year salaries that can reach $50,000 or more.
This is slightly above the national average for the experience level, making New York a highly sought after market. Being HVAC certified will only help you land that first job, with a better wage.
New York HVAC Tech Salary
A tech in New York with more than 2 years of experience can expect their wage to increase over the entry-level positions. Many techs see an increase in an hourly wage rise to between $20 and $40 per hour, with more experience leading to a higher salary.
Return of Investment
As you can see, the hourly wage or annual salary far outweighs the tuition costs to become HVAC certified in New York. This makes the return on investment (ROI) quite high. Under optimal circumstances, you can have your tuition paid off in less than 2 years.
An average ROI for tuition is about 10 years, so the HVAC value in New York is high.
Demand for HVAC Jobs in New York City
Across the country, the demand for qualified HVAC technicians is high. On average, the industry is expected to grow by 13% over the next decade. This is much higher than the 3 to 8% for all most other occupations.
In New York there is a need for entry level HVAC technicians. While the demand grows in winter while other states raise demand in the summer, New York is about average when it comes to job supply.
This is why being HVAC certified in New York is so crucial. The fewer jobs available will go to the most qualified candidates. Having your certifications and apprenticeships will only make you more viable in this explosive market.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How do I get an HVAC job in New York?
Getting an HVAC job in New York isn’t difficult. The demand for entry level positions is relatively high (higher in winter). However, most applicants are under-qualified. Because New York doesn’t require HVAC certification, anyone can apply at any time. You must be EPA 608 certified, though, and having experience or an HVAC certification from an accredited school will make you stand out.
Can I get an HVAC certification license online?
You can take HVAC certification courses online, yes. For HVAC certification and EPA 608 exams, though, you need to be in person with an exam administered by an approved proctor.
Are there HVAC apprenticeships in New York?
The New York Labor department has a small section of their website dedicated to getting an apprenticeship in the trades. HVAC is included, and the list is fairly long. With plenty of apprenticeship programs available, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the perfect match.
Can I get into HVAC with no experience?
It is possible to get into the industry with no experience. It is a much more difficult path, of course, but doable. The best course of action is to get into an internship if you want to gain experience. At a minimum, you will be able to study and prep for the EPA 608 exam, which is your minimum requirement for full employment in New York.
How long does it take to get a degree in HVAC?
A degree in HVAC comes in two forms, either the 2-year associate’s degree or the 4-year bachelor’s degree. Depending on your school experience and if you already have some courses under your belt, you can obtain these two degrees in as little as 18 and 36 months, respectively.
When are online HVAC programs advisable?
Online learning is advised when you have no other option. This can be due to financial issues, or more commonly, location. If you find it challenging to get to a campus or trade school because of where you are located, online classes may be the optimal choice. You will still need to go in person to take the exams, but a single trip or two is better than attempting to get into the city every day.
HVAC technicians in NYC earn a great wage. With experience and a few years working under their belt, wages can easily exceed $40 an hour. Getting to that point, though, starts with a dedication to the craft.
Learning the ins and outs of the industry and becoming certified in HVAC is the first step to getting into this exciting and rewarding workforce.
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