How to Become an HVAC Technician in Maine

The career of an HVAC technician is a high paying one with a steady growth rate. HVAC technicians are skilled workers who install, troubleshoot and repair heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems(HVAC systems) in homes, office buildings and other commercial buildings. HVAC technicians must be able to read blueprints, especially when dealing with installation. They also keep up with heat loads and losses, make sure systems are up-to-date with all codes and regulations, and keep their clients informed on how to use their systems efficiently and when to upgrade their systems. HVAC workers are high in demand in all areas, but especially in states like Maine where heating systems are a necessity because of the frigid, snowy winters [Leer en español]

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Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in Maine

There are no specific requirements for becoming an HVAC technician in Maine. Since there are no statewide regulations regarding HVAC workers, it is left up to the employer to decide what requirements the employee must meet. Individual cities and counties may have different permitting conditions, so you will need to check those before you start looking for work. Some cities may require you to acquire an electrical permit to install wiring, while others may require building permits to install new systems.

HVAC training program topics may include:

  • Heating technology
  • Natural gas
  • Test instruments
  • Pipe threading

There are no educational requirements to work as an HVAC technician in the state of Maine, but most employers will prefer to hire someone who has at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Enrolling in a post-secondary HVAC program or apprenticeship can provide you with the specialized knowledge and training that you need to succeed as an HVAC technician.

HVAC Schools in Maine

The two traditional agencies responsible for accrediting HVAC programs are HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Currently, Maine does not offer any programs that are accredited by either organization. However, they do offer a few non-accredited programs that will provide the training you need.

Below are a few options for those who are interested in attending an HVAC training school:

  • Southern Maine Community College. Southern Maine Community College offers two Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree programs: Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration and Plumbing and Heating. The degree programs are a combination of general education and hands-on training. They can be completed in about two years. This school also offers certificate programs in Heating, Plumbing and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. This program can be completed in approximately one year.
  • Northeast Technical Institute. The Northeast Technical Institute offers a hands-on training HVAC/R program that can be taken full-time, or part-time through evening classes. If you take full-time classes, the program can be completed in 24 weeks (approximately six months). If you take part-time classes, the program can be completed in about 45 weeks or one year. Externships are available with this program.

Additional HVAC schools include:

  • Northern Maine Community College
  • Central Maine Community College
  • Washington County Community College
  • Eastern Maine Community College

You can also get the education and training you need to prepare you to work in the HVAC field through an apprenticeship. A great place to begin looking for available apprenticeships would be the State of Maine Department of Labor. You can also check for union and non-union programs in your area, as well as local job postings.

HVAC Certification and Licensing for Becoming a Technician in Maine

According to The Clean Air Act, anyone in the United States who works with or handles refrigerants must have EPA certification to do so. This certification, known as EPA Section 608 certification, is attained through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There are four subcategories to this certification: Type 1 (small appliances), Type 2 (high-pressure appliances), Type 3 (low-pressure appliances) and Type 4 (universal, for all appliances).

Maine does not have a statewide license for HVAC technicians; however, different cities, counties and regions may have licensing or permitting requirements such as a refrigeration license or oil burner journeyman license. Some areas may even require you to have an electrical permit to install HVAC system wiring, or a limited electrician license to work in refrigeration. You can contact the Maine Electricians’ Licensing Board for further information. Educational and work experience may be required, and you will have to pass an exam for the limited electrician license. There may be other region-specific permits required, especially when installing new HVAC systems. You will need to inquire about local requirements before you begin working, not only if you are just starting out but also if you are going to be working in a different part of the state.

Employment Opportunities and Salary Expectations

The salary data for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021.00) in Maine, as compared to the national average, provides insight into the earning potential within the state. In Maine, these professionals earn an average annual salary of $51,360, closely aligning with the national average of $51,390. The salary range in Maine extends from $41,630 at the 10th percentile to $68,660 at the 90th percentile, indicating a narrower range of earning potential compared to the national scale, but with a higher floor.

National vs. Maine Salaries for HVAC Technicians

Location Annual Low (10%) Annual Median Annual High (90%)
United States $36,170 $51,390 $82,630
Maine $41,630 $51,360 $68,660

Salaries by Region in Maine for HVAC Technicians

Region Annual Low (10%) Annual Median Annual High (90%)
Bangor, ME $39,020 $51,050 $63,640
Lewiston-Auburn, ME $44,000 $52,450 $72,510
Northeast Maine nonmetropolitan area $39,710 $50,160 $62,580
Portland-South Portland, ME $44,990 $52,280 $76,830
Portsmouth, NH-ME $42,430 $61,420 $77,040
Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area $39,230 $51,210 $64,710

HVAC Trends in Maine

In Maine, the employment outlook for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021.00) is expected to see a decline, with a projected decrease of 6% from 2020 to 2030. The number of employees in this occupation is expected to decrease from 2,510 in 2020 to 2,350 by 2030. Despite the projected decline in employment, there are still expected to be 210 annual job openings in Maine for this occupation during this period, which includes openings due to both industry contraction and replacements. This contrasts with the national trend, where a 6% growth is expected over the same period.

Employement Trends

Aspect Maine United States
Employment (2020 for ME, 2022 for US) 2,510 employees 415,800 employees
Projected Employment (2030 for ME, 2032 for US) 2,350 employees 438,800 employees
Projected Growth -6% 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030 for ME, 2022-2032 for US) 210 37,700

Sources of data:

  • For employment trends and projections: Projections Central’s 2020-2030 long-term projections.For national employment and wage data: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2022-2032 employment projections.

Working as an HVAC Technician in Maine

Many HVAC technicians work for contractors. Some start off working for a contractor, then go on to get their own contracting license. You may also find work with construction companies.

In Maine, Portland is the highest paying city and employs many of the state’s HVAC workers. Another high employment area for HVAC workers in the state is the Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area. Lewiston is another high paying city to consider.

Working in the HVAC field can be rewarding, both financially and in the sense that you will help make people’s living and work environments more comfortable on a daily basis. It is also a stable job with a high growth rate. If you are considering working as an HVAC technician, Maine is a great state to work in.

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What do I need to become an HVAC technician in Maine?

  • 1. Earn a high school diploma or equivalent as required by most employers.
  • 2. Enroll in an accredited HVAC training program or apprenticeship to gain skills you’ll need.
  • 3. With no statewide requirements for HVAC techs, check with individual localities for licensing requirements before you look for work.

How much do heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earn in the state of Maine?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in the state of Maine made an average of $48,560 per year in 2019. Entry-level heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned around $34,000 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $62,080.

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