Becoming an HVAC Technician in Maryland
With humid summers on the eastern coast and cold winters in its western mountains, HVAC technicians will have little trouble finding employment in Maryland. HVAC technicians work in a range of environments in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration fields. [Leer en español]
In a typical day, HVAC technicians perform routine maintenance, cleaning, repairs and installations on a variety of heating and cooling systems. These include furnaces, commercial refrigeration units, residential and commercial air conditioners and water heaters. Additionally, they repair and perform maintenance on wiring and work with clients to ensure their HVAC systems are running optimally.
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Maryland
Maryland requires all HVAC technicians to participate in an apprenticeship program. Unlike the rest of the United States, Maryland does not offer any programs accredited by either HVAC Excellence or the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Apprenticeships give students the opportunity to gain practical experience in the HVAC field and allow them to earn part of a journeyperson’s salary.
To qualify for these apprenticeship programs, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) requires all candidates to:
- Have either a GED or high school diploma
- Be over 18 years of age
- Have all the physical abilities necessary for the job
- Have all equipment necessary for the job
- Obtain a Maryland Apprentice License upon concluding their first semester from the State Board of HVACR Contractors.
Additionally, any HVAC technician who will be working with, purchasing or handling refrigerants must sit for an EPA exam. These exams are offered by organizations like the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) and HVAC Excellence.
HVAC Educational Programs and Classes in Maryland
For prospective HVAC technicians, there are a few programs—at both community colleges and trade organizations—offering HVAC technician training.
- Heating & Air Conditioning Contractors of Maryland (HACC). First established in 1996, the Heating and Air Conditioner Contractors of Maryland (HACC) offers a four-year program consisting of both on-the-job and classroom instruction. Upon course completion, students will be eligible to receive an apprenticeship completion certificate. This certificate makes students eligible for an HVAC journeyman license without the need to pass an exam. Students are responsible for finding a contractor to serve as their mentor and employer in the field by the beginning of their second year. Additionally, students must complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and take courses spanning a broad range of subjects including basic math, electricity, soldering and interpreting blueprints.
- Anne Arundel Community College (AACC). Located in Arnold, this four-year program offered through Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) gives prospective HVAC technicians a thorough foundation in the theoretical and empirical aspects of the field. It works in partnership with both the Independent Electrical Contractors and Associated Builders and Contractors. The comprehensive 144 hours of classroom instruction cover topics including heating systems and commercial refrigeration. Additionally, students must obtain, at minimum, 2,000 hours of on-the-job training prior to graduation. Lastly, AACC also offers shorter classes, including an online course to prepare students for the NATE exams.
HVAC Technician Certification Maryland
As with other states, Maryland HVAC technicians can seek certification from North American Technician Excellence or HVAC Excellence. However, the EPA’s Section 608 certification is required for all technicians who will be working with refrigerants.
Prior to beginning work, HVAC technicians must gain appropriate credentials through the State Board of Heating, Venting, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors (HVACR). HVAC professionals must also possess the HVAC apprenticeship license along with either the journeyman, limited contractor, master restricted or master licenses prior to starting work.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC technicians enjoy relatively stable employment. Construction sites, residential homes and businesses will all be in need of an HVAC professional at some point. Between the years 2016 and 2026, the field is slated to grow by 15 percent. This increase may be attributed to the construction of new homes and businesses, more complex heating and cooling systems, the need for energy-efficient and green HVAC systems, and the need to retrofit older systems to comply with new regulations.
Additionally, HVAC professionals in Maryland enjoy a relatively high salary, starting at $57,890 on the lower end and peaking at $86,690 annually.
Working as an HVAC Technician in Maryland
HVAC technicians in Maryland work in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings. These include homes, hospitals, commercial kitchens and stores, among others. To find jobs in the HVAC field, try looking through job ads for refrigeration repair and HVAC installation and repair companies. Specializing in areas like solar panels or refrigeration may help open even more doors for employment.
Baltimore and surrounding areas have a high demand for HVAC professionals. In fact, there were 403 jobs listed for the area in November of 2018. These positions range from small, independently-owned companies to larger corporations in the area. For those who have yet to receive their master licenses, these jobs include positions for HVAC assistants as well.
Employers range from plumbers and home builders to real estate management and wireless telecom companies.