Becoming an HVAC Technician in New Jersey
An HVAC technician installs, repairs and maintains heating and cooling systems in homes, offices and businesses. They are responsible for keeping these residences and other buildings at comfortable temperatures with proper ventilation. [Leer en español]
HVAC techs must understand the math and science involved in these complex systems and also possess strong troubleshooting skills. Installing and repairing boilers, air conditioners and other systems requires some physical labor as well. Some of the tasks an HVAC technician may perform include installing pipes, changing filters and replacing components.
With many job markets in decline, more and more people in New Jersey are considering learning a trade, and a career in HVAC is worth considering. The HVAC industry is ripe with job growth, and wages for people who work with HVAC systems are on the rise.
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in New Jersey
The New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs licenses HVAC technicians. The requirements for licensing can be met by completing a degree in HVAC/R or by participating in an apprenticeship for four years, followed by one year of employment as an HVAC journeyperson.
All HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants must pass an EPA safety exam that covers safe handling of the potentially harmful materials involved.
HVAC Classes and Educational Programs in New Jersey
Most HVAC training programs require either a high school diploma or a GED in order to enroll. Some vocational programs can last a few months, while a bachelor’s degree in HVAC generally takes four years to complete. These programs typically include both classroom learning and hands-on experience and apprenticeships. Online programs are a very accessible option for jobseekers who can’t attend school full time.
- Union County Vocational-Technical School has an accelerated HVAC program that meets six hours a day for 10 months. Evening and part time classes are also available
- Ocean County Vocational Technical School offers an adult education program that pairs a hands-on apprenticeship with classes two nights a week. This training program can last up to four years.
- Penn Foster has a self-paced online program where students can earn an HVAC/R certificate within just five months. The training provides fundamental classroom knowledge and also includes a voucher to take the safety exam required by the EPA.
Certification for Becoming an HVAC Technician in New Jersey
Once you meet the education and work experience requirements, you can apply for a license to become a Master HVAC Contractor in New Jersey.
On the federal level, anyone who purchases, handles or uses refrigerants must pass an EPA safety exam. The Section 608 Technician Certification covers the safe handling and disposal of these hazardous materials.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
HVAC technicians in New Jersey are well paid. A newly trained HVAC tech can expect to earn about $35,000 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. HVAC salaries can top out at over $85,000 per year for more experienced workers.
As of 2017, there were roughly 13,000 HVAC technicians working in the New Jersey area, but demand remains high for expert professionals. The number of HVAC jobs is expected to grow by nearly 15 percent over the next 10 years.
Working as an HVAC Technician in New Jersey
Most HVAC technicians are employed on a full time basis. Some technicians choose to focus their knowledge on one type of system or client and specialize in, for example, air conditioners in residential homes. Others take a more general approach, opting to work on many different kinds of HVAC equipment. The HVAC industry is unique in that technicians can either work for a larger company or start their own business to service their own clients.
Experienced HVAC technicians will find a variety of jobs available. Most large businesses, government agencies and apartment complexes keep HVAC service techs on staff to handle general maintenance and upkeep on their systems.
New Jersey’s demand for HVAC professionals has never been higher and will only increase in the coming years. There’s no better time to look into the HVAC industry than now.