New Jersey has one of the most volatile climates in the US. With average annual temperatures hovering around 60 degrees (F), the winters easily see temperature drops in the teens, and summers can exceed 90. The HVAC industry is always on its toes.
Now is the best time to get into the rewarding HVAC industry. This article will show you the best HVAC schools in New Jersey and explain exactly what to look for when making your choice.
HVAC Certification Requirements in New Jersey
The state of New Jersey does not have any HVAC technician certification requirements. This means that as soon as you complete the federal requirements, you are free to begin work. However, it is wise to attend an apprenticeship or HVAC school and aim for full certification to help you stand out to employers.
Within the state are many cities, towns, and regions where it is ideal for studying HVAC certification. This list includes the likes of Union, Hazlet, Blackwood, West Windsor, Wayne, Scotch Plains, and of course, Nutely and Middletown.
How To Become An HVAC Technician
Since New Jersey doesn’t have certification requirements, there are a few paths you can take to become an HVAC technician.
The first path is the easiest, though the least profitable. Simply take and pass the EPA 608 certification exam and begin putting out your resume.
You are most likely not to be hired in this manner, though. Instead, you can try the second option. Join an HVAC internship or apprenticeship. Even with little or no experience you can get into the industry, learn the trade, and take the EPA exam along the way. Once completed, you will be more employable, based on the experience alone.
The best route is also the longest. After gaining your high school diploma or GED, you should then continue on to an accredited HVAC trade school, community college, or university. Here you can learn HVAC theory, customer service, and other necessary elements of the job.
From there, you enter an apprenticeship program to get more hands-on training, take the EPA exam, and gain professional certification. Employers will line up for these prospects and also tend to pay higher starting wages.
Quick Guide in Choosing Your HVAC School
Below, you will find a brief guide of consideration factors for choosing the right school for you. Make sure you plan ahead and don’t just pay for the first school you come across.
Location matters. Being close to the campus will ensure that you can readily attend classes and get to class on time. If traffic or your schedule makes getting to class difficult, finding a school close to your home or current worksite may be the best choice.
The physical location of the school isn’t everything, though, and if there is a better fit in a school a few more miles away, you may choose the further one.
Attending an accredited school is highly important. There are several reasons, but the simple explanation is that non-accredited schools don’t have credits that transfer should you decide to continue your education.
Employers are also less likely to accept your level of knowledge or experience from a school that isn’t accredited. To avoid wasting your money on an education you can’t do anything with, make sure the school you attend is accredited.
Offers Quality Education
The level of education is counted in many factors. This includes the lab work and classwork, of course, but it also includes the type of HVAC books being taught from. It can even mean the type of HVAC software the school uses to teach the students.
One of the best methods to determine if the school is a good fit for you is to visit the campus. Talk to the students and staff and find out how things are getting on. If the students and staff match the atmosphere of the school, it is probably a good fit for you.
Offers Hands-on Training
HVAC is a skilled trade, and it takes a lot of hands-on training. With all the diagnostics, parts, equipment, and tools needed to be successful, you need lab time to learn them all.
Make sure the school you choose to pay and attend offers plenty of hands-on training in the lab and less time in the classroom.
Connects you to an Apprenticeship/Internship Program
Post-graduate programs are essential. If you plan to continue your education with an apprenticeship or internship, find out if the school offers these placement programs for you to take advantage of.
They may also offer job placement programs, which is worth a check. If so, most of the post-grad programs are for life, so you can use them any time you need.
Offers Customer Service Skills Training
HVAC field techs deal with customers on a daily basis. It is crucial to have great customer service skills. A lot of schools have a customer service portion of their program, but some do not. If you don’t have any prior customer service experience, make sure the school you choose offers this as part of the course.
8 Best HVAC Schools in New Jersey
Here you will find the best HVAC schools across New Jersey. Scroll through and find your region or local areas and see which schools made the cut.
1. Lincoln Technical Institute
2299 Vauxhall Rd, Union, NJ 07083
Best Choice For: Future technologies learning
Lincoln Technical Institute is a well awarded, highly-touted school for HVAC training. The school has multiple programs designed to get you everything you need for your new, rewarding career. The class itself offers you plenty of hands-on training in a state of the art facility. You will work on the newest and most modern systems around.
If you have trouble getting to campus, they also offer a shuttle service for many outlying areas. On top of that, the school also teaches green technology in the HVAC industry with mast technicians as instructors. It is the most well-rounded and future-proof HVAC education you can get.
2. United Association of New Jersey Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Division
7 Crown Plaza, Hazlet, NJ 07730
Best Choice For: Comprehensive apprenticeship
If you are ready to commit yourself and take the first step to a secure future, then the UANJ is where you go. They offer training for journeyman technicians that is both rewarding and difficult. Their biggest claim, though, is the apprenticeship program.
A program dating back some 60 years, this 5-year program puts you on the job and in the classroom with 1,800 hours per year for 5 years. Once complete, you will be a journeyman HVAC technician with nothing but desire and goals ahead of you.
3. Pennco Tech
99 Erial Rd, Blackwood, NJ 08012
Best Choice For: Complete HVAC education
Pennco Tech offers a flexible scheduled program designed to meet your needs. With a comprehensive course that takes you from book and software learning directly to the lab, you will find that you get the best of your education from this school.
Leaving nothing to chance, you are taken through every HVAC aspect, from theory and application to diagnostics, installation, and repair. Upon course completion, you will be an exam away from full certification as an HVAC technician.
West Windsor Township, NJ
4. Mercer County Community College
1200 Old Trenton Rd, West Windsor Township, NJ 08550
Best Choice For: Associate’s degree in HVAC
As part of the MC trade school program, Mercer County Community College offers a continuing education HVAC course. This course is designed for those looking to take the next step in their career and enter a supervisory or management position.
The 60 credit AAS degree program has financial aid, job placement, and apprenticeship programs to assist you in getting to that next step. The course works mainly in the classroom with theory, mathematics, and advanced technology standards. Upon graduation, you are poised to start your own business or take over management responsibilities in your current employ.
5. Fortis Institute
201 Willowbrook Blvd, Wayne, NJ 07470
Best Choice For: Job placement opportunities
The Fortis Institute has campuses all across America. In Wayne, NJ, you will learn how to use tools and equipment to diagnose, repair, and install modern HVAC systems. The class offers plenty of hands-on lab hours so you become familiar with everything.
You also learn HVAC theory and touch on thermodynamics as it pertains to heating and cooling. Upon graduation, you can begin working with some of the most prominent companies in the area through the school’s job placement programs.
6. Eastwick College – Ramsey
10 S Franklin Turnpike, Ramsey, NJ 07446
Best Choice For: Multiple campus options
Eastwick College offers you a 12-month program designed to have you prepared and ready for a rewarding career. The diploma-granting course covers all of the basic (and advanced) classroom things, such as HVAC theory and future technologies (solar, green, etc.).
If Ramsey is too far, you can also get the same education through the Nutely campus. It also has the same 12-month diploma program. At either campus, you will graduate ready to take your EPA 608 exam and find placement with a company that seeks out Eastwick graduates, and there are a lot of them.
Toms River, NJ
7. Ocean County Vocational Technical School
137 Bey Lea Rd, Toms River, NJ 08753
Best Choice For: Complete learning and apprenticeship preparation
Ocean County Vocational offers a 2-year program that is made to get you ahead of the curve. The commitment doesn’t grant you a 2-year degree, but instead uses the continuing education program to give you 2-year status with the HVAC apprenticeship program.
This 900 hour course teaches you the tools and equipment, along with installation, repair, and customer service in the lab, for the first year. The second year also has lab hours but is geared more towards the book learning side, with theory, mathematics, and the HVAC evolution in the near future.
Scotch Plains, NJ
1776 Raritan Rd, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
Best Choice For: Fast track to HVAC career start
As a post-secondary or adult education facility, UCTech offers an HVAC course that is designed to get you familiar with repair, diagnostics, and installation of HVAC systems. You will learn the tools and equipment working hands-on in the lab.
The classroom will cover theory and thermodynamics, which assists you in getting that ideal job in the HVAC industry. Upon course completion, you can take and pass your EPA 608 exam and begin using school resources for job or apprenticeship placement.
HVAC Training School Costs in New Jersey
The cost of HVAC training in New Jersey will vary greatly. The final costs of tuition are determined by the type of school you attend, as well as the region of New Jersey and the level of education you are after.
Trade schools can last a few weeks to several months and, on average, have a tuition cost between $2,500 and $8,000. The higher costs will generally include all certification exams and other program factors that make the price reasonable.
If you are looking to further your career or want to start your own contractor business, you may want to attend a 2 or 4 year college. Getting an HVAC degree can help you stand out, but it will cost more.
Each school will charge by the credit-hour, and each will have different requirements for graduation though you can expect to pay about $5,000 per year, which equals $20,000 to $40,000 for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in HVAC.
Is HVAC a Good Career Choice in New Jersey?
The HVAC industry is alive and thriving in New Jersey. According to the BLS, HVAC as a whole is expected to grow 13% by 2028, and this leads almost all trade professions. Getting in now will secure your place in this rewarding career, and in New Jersey, you are poised to make a highly desirable wage.
New Jersey Entry Level HVAC Salary
Entry-level technicians in New Jersey can easily expect wages to top $40,000 per year. Most educated and certified technicians have little trouble finding full-time employment, and the demand will only increase.
With just a couple of years of experience, the annual wage can range from $46,000 to $53,000.
New Jersey HVAC Tech Salary
For experienced technicians with 5 or more years under their belt, you can expect wages to increase as well. This, of course, will depend on the company you work for, if you have continued your education and the region of New Jersey you work in.
According to salary.com, though, the average wage across the state for experienced techs is $52,388 per year. The top 10% reach wages that surpass $66,000, and some companies reward their long-term technicians with bonuses, overtime, and raises that can equate to well over $80,000.
Return of Investment
With the average cost of tuition and the wage potential for HVAC techs, the ROI is quite high. Student debts are quickly paid off, on average, in less than 10 years (the national average is between 15 and 18 years).
Because of the demand and job type, there are other opportunities, as well. These include specializing, HVAC design, and working in future technologies like solar and green HVAC industries.
Demand for HVAC Jobs in New Jersey
People Also Ask (FAQ)
How do I get an HVAC job in New Jersey?
The only state requirement for HVAC technicians is the EPA 608 exam certification. Once you have this, you can legally work on HVAC systems. However, it is recommended that you at least attend an apprenticeship or trade school, so you get a full understanding of what you are doing.
Can I get an HVAC certification license online?
You can get a certification of completion doing online courses. However, an actual HVAC tech certification requires you to complete lab hours and take exams that can only be done in person. The EPA 608 exam, for example, requires a professional proctor and in-person exam at specific locations. These can be studied for online but must be taken in person.
Are there HVAC apprenticeships in New Jersey?
There are plenty of apprenticeship programs in New Jersey. You can search job sites like Indeed for specific listings, or take advantage of your school’s post-graduate programs to find and apply for apprenticeships any time during or after course completion.
Can I get into HVAC with no experience?
In New Jersey it is possible to get into the HVAC industry without any prior experience. While it isn’t recommended and is a much tougher task getting hired, it can be done. If you cannot attend school or an apprenticeship for any reason, it doesn’t have to stop you. If you can find someone willing to take you on with only your EPA 608 certification, you can start your new career right away.
How long does it take to get a degree in HVAC?
The average time for an associate’s degree in HVAC is 18 to 24 months. For a bachelor’s degree, you are looking at 36-48 months. The ranges are determined by the length of the course offered by the school, plus any existing and transferable credits you may already possess.
When is online HVAC programs advisable?
Online study is always advisable. However, if you plan to become fully certified, you need to attend classes in person. If this isn’t a feasible answer, you can begin learning online and make it to a school or lab when able.
What is the highest HVAC degree?
The highest form of official degree in the HVAC industry is the bachelor’s degree.
Choosing the best HVAC school in New Jersey can be overwhelming. With so many options and requirements, the task of finding the perfect school can easily get frustrating. This article is geared towards showing you what is required on your part and how to identify the ideal school.
With any luck, you found a school that was close to you and offered enough hands-on training, customer service skills, and the needed tools to start your new HVAC career off on the right foot.