How to Become an HVAC Technician in New York
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing HVAC systems in a number of residential and business settings. These can range from furnaces and air filtration systems in hospitals to refrigerators and heaters in homes. [Leer en español]
A typical day in the life of an HVAC technician involves traveling to clients’ homes or businesses, diagnosing HVAC issues and performing any necessary maintenance or repairs. Repair and maintenance tasks can include installing or repairing electrical or mechanical parts, cleaning and replacing filters and testing HVAC systems to ensure they are in working order.
Requirements for Becoming an HVAC Technician in New York
In order to become an HVAC technician in New York, students must receive a GED or high school diploma prior to HVAC training.
Next, students attend a trade school or community college offering an HVAC certification program. Typically, these programs last for anywhere from six months to two years and award either associate’s degrees or HVAC certifications. Though New York does not require HVAC technicians to be licensed, attending programs that have been accredited by agencies like HVAC Excellence will open more doors for employment.
Further, while there is no state requirement for practical experience, it is always best to check with your local jurisdiction. For example, New York City requires two years of experience in a registered apprenticeship and three years of experience working in the City.
Additionally, any HVAC professional who will be handling, purchasing or working with refrigerants must sit for an EPA exam. In short, there are four main certifications HVAC technicians can receive.
- Type 1 for service of small appliances
- Type 2 for service and disposal of high- or very high-pressure appliances, except for small appliances and MVACs
- Type 3 for service and disposal of low-pressure appliances
- Universal, which certifies an HVAC technician for the service and maintenance of all types of equipment
Trade organizations, like the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) and the ESCO Group, host the EPA exam and may have varying requirements before students can pursue certification. For example, if students wish to pursue technical certification through the ESCO Group, they must have two years of verifiable experience in the field plus a passing grade on the Core Exam.
HVAC Classes and Educational Programs in New York
In order to receive training as an HVAC technician in New York, students can opt to take one of two routes: receive on-the-job training through an apprenticeship or attend an accredited certification program.
Typically, HVAC apprenticeships last anywhere from three to five years. These are very beneficial as they provide the necessary years of practical experience required to sit for EPA exams.
Some of the best places to seek apprenticeships are HVAC installation and repair companies, engineering firms and labor unions.
HVAC educational programs in New York include:
- Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services (WSWHE BOCES). Located in Saratoga Springs, the WSWHE BOCES offers an HVAC technician course through its Employment Training for Adults (ETA) program. This program, which is HVAC Excellence-accredited, provides 96 hours of focused coursework, four sequential 24-hour modules and all the skills and knowledge requisite for entry-level HVAC careers. Preparation to sit for the EPA exam is offered by the ESCO Group.
- Isaac University. The HVAC contractor and technician training offered through Isaac University, which is accredited by the Partnership for Air Conditioning Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA), offers two years of general HVAC training plus two additional years of more specialized training for each technician, as well as continuing sessions after employment and North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification. This program includes 21 modules, spanning topics from gas furnaces to self-leadership. Isaac University is the only school accredited by PAHRA.
Certification for Becoming an HVAC Technician in New York
Though the state does not require a license for HVAC technicians, these requirements can vary from city to city. For instance, New York City requires a home improvement contractor license for any contractor who is involved in the construction, repair, remodel or addition to a residence. Check with your local consumer affairs department to be sure.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The career outlook for HVAC technicians is good. Between the years 2016 and 2026, the job outlook for HVAC technicians is projected to grow by 15 percent.
In New York State, HVAC technicians are very much in demand. In fact, it ranks fourth in the country with the most HVAC technician job openings. It is projected to add 3,840 new HVAC jobs each year from 2014 to 2044.
According to 2017 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVAC technicians in New York earned a mean annual salary of $57,680, or $27.73 per hour. The top 10 percent of HVAC techs in the state made as much as $89,000 that same year.
Working as an HVAC Technician in New York
Once students have received their licenses, they can specialize in areas ranging from solar technician to HVAC engineer. As such, they can choose to start their own businesses or work for a number of HVAC-related businesses.
To look for HVAC technician jobs, try companies performing HVAC repairs and installations, refrigeration repair companies and labor unions.
When looking for HVAC positions, New York City has plenty of vacancies. It employs the greatest number of HVAC technicians in any city in the United States.
In New York City, HVAC technicians may work for themselves or contract with companies to work in residential areas and corporate HVAC companies. Choosing a speciality, such as solar panels or commercial refrigeration, may make an HVAC technician more employable.
However, outside New York City, Rochester and Long Island will experience a high demand for HVAC technicians as well. Buildings in both cities are equipped with HVAC systems, and each new building constructed will need a new system installed. Additionally, existing HVAC units will need repair and maintenance. For the most job prospects, aim to develop a thorough knowledge of electronics, troubleshooting and tablet computers.
HVAC technicians will find the highest annual salaries in Nassau and Suffolk counties. As of 2017, HVAC technicians made an average annual wage of $62,320. In New York City nad White Plains, HVAC technicians can expect to make $61,050 per year.