Are you residing in New York State? Interested in becoming a HVAC technician? Are you looking for schools with programs that suits you need? You are in luck! This write-up is going to tell you everything you need to know regarding the HVAC industry in New York and your opportunities in pursuing a career in this sector. New York State has a long history of putting in use the HVAC technology, ever since the time of New York Stock Exchange Building. The people of this state are very much dependent on HVAC systems because of the sudden shift in weather from chilling cold to humid heat temperatures. So the demand for this technology and its services is increasing day by day, so are the employment opportunities in this field.
The Empire State is one of the top most states for recruiting HVAC technicians as there is demand for such services in this region. So one may choose to become a capable technician and work all year round providing maintenance services; or one may simply get trained and work during the peak winter or summer seasons as an overtime job and earn some extra money.
One of the prime factors behind the growth of this field is that energy efficiency standards are rapidly changing and flourishing. Everyone aims to be energy efficient thus, not only commercial businesses, households nowadays are also requesting for HVAC services. Continue reading the sections below, as you will learn the answers to what is exactly HVAC services, the career opportunities in this field, salary, how to find a good school, get trained, licensed and all set for the job! Watch out the space for more.
What does HVAC or HVAC/R stand for
For those wondering what it means, HVAC stands for Heat, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. One may occasionally witness the term as HVAC/R with ‘R’ standing for Refrigeration. HVAC technicians are particularly trained in the installation and support of related frameworks regularly required to keep up control over the temperature in a specific environment. The ones having additional skills in refrigeration may also participate in the installation and maintenance of larger systems involved in the transport or storage of temperature sensitive items, such as foods and beverages, certain medications and pharmaceutical products, as well as other perishable goods.
HVAC systems and components include refrigerant controls, electric motors, hermetic compressors, unit heaters, different sorts of filters and belts, split systems along with ductless splits, electrical wiring framework, humidifiers, high velocity units, multi-zone cooling systems, heat pumps, thermostats & air cleaners, whole house filter systems, central air units etc. HVAC technicians can work solo or work under the employment of large construction firms or even work on a partnership agreement, depends on the will of person to person. Statistics show that one in ten HVAC technicians work independently. Thus, abundant possibilities are present for someone aspiring to get started in this field.
Is the work indoor or outdoor?
Most of the HVAC work is completed indoors. This includes giving maintenance and repairing services to existing systems or installing new systems. Sometimes it may require the technicians to work outside, for example, to work on an outer part of air-conditioning system, which could not be fixed inside the room temperature. The workers may have to work in enclosed duct areas, depending on where the system is placed and which part needs servicing. If working outside, often a technician may need to operate from extreme heights if outdoor vents of an air conditioning system is situated in a high rise building. But safety measures are always there, so less chances of mishaps.
According to a report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Dec. 2015), the following actions need to be performed as a HVAC technician so skills related to these jobs are needed:
• Identifying problems in various heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems
• Inspecting system components such as air ducts, heating units and building exhaust fans
• Installing, repairing, and maintaining variety of HVAC equipment
• Soldering and brazing system parts
• Analyzing and interpreting mechanical drawings and blueprints
• Calculating the level if heat loads and losses
• Complying with the local, state, and also federal legislation
• Maintaining records from the residential and commercial jobs
• Making sure that the license and certifications are up-to-date
• Always staying on par with technological and methodological advancements in the industry
• Communicating to the consumers what the best practices for HVAC maintenance are
• Ensuring a healthy customer relationship by providing quality service
Needless to say, to acquire such skills additional knowledge is essential. This additional knowledge and skills can seldom be found at traditional community school & college settings. A dedicated trade based and technical teaching school can be the best place for learning these skills. Such schools can provide a hands-on learning of the skills and not the just the bookish theory. Course works are focused to give elaborate ideas on the tools, tasks and techniques of the trade and teach them all of the above mentioned skills. As this is a formal education program, students are required to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. High school goers interested in this these programs must have prior knowledge on physics, mathematics, electronics, plumbing, etc. as it then will become easier to follow the program curriculum.
The duration of such training and education varies depending on the program enrolled. For specialized courses, it may last 6 months and for most other formal programs, it usually takes 2-3 years for completion. If anyone is not eager to pursue this formal line of learning, there is always scope for apprentice program. Here, one can become the assistant or apprentice of an expert HVAC technician, and work under him to learn all the tricks of the trade. From this alternative method of learning, one can get to know about the all the necessary skills needed for the job, plus get a structured hands-on experience. It is also possible to earn wages side by side while learning and the wage level increases depending on the rise in efficiency of one’s skills. Apprenticeship is a 3-5 years program, and one needs to complete 2000 hours of on-the-job learning.
There is one compulsory certification for all HVAC professionals who work with refrigerants in NY and across the country which is the EPA Section 608 certification. Because of the difficult nature of handling refrigerants and the troubles related to such work, it is expected that these technicians are specialized, have accreditation and certified on a national level. There are 4 types of certification for this purpose:
- type I (small appliances)
- type II (high-pressure refrigerants)
- type III (low-pressure refrigerants)
- type IV (universal)
In addition to the above discussed North American Technician Excellence (NATE) and HVAC Excellence certification programs, the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) also provides professional credentialing. Before seeking work as an HVAC technician in NY, it’s of utmost importance to receive the proper legal documentation- that is the license/permit. At present, there is no requisite state license for HVAC professionals in NY, there are few cities which may require workers in this field to have a municipal license. Take for an example, in NYC, workers with HVAC expertise are required to get a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) license through the NY Department of Consumer Affairs before they can go for a job on residential or commercial properties. Not only this, NYC Buildings offer a mechanical/HVAC (MH) work permit for HVAC contracts within the city. To learn more about the local legislation regarding HVAC, you may visit the Department of Consumer Affairs located in your city.
Despite being under one state, different cities of NY have different legal and license-granting bodies. Below is a list of a few municipal organizations which work on issuing HVAC credentialing and permits:
• Rockland County Board of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Examiners
• Ithaca Building Department
• Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs
• Putnam County Plumbing & Mechanical Trades Board
• Syracuse City Board of Mechanical Examiners
An HVAC technician can decide to have his own business or work under a firm. There are benefits in the long-run of having one’s business, as there are initial start-up costs, licensing and other legal costs of starting up a business. If you want to avoid all these hassles, you can for a company. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the New York State employs the fourth most workers in this field across the whole nation. The Empire State also provides higher than average salary compared to the other states. Across the whole United States there are approximately 274,680 HVAC workers and are paid $47,380 annual average salary and in hourly wages, this figures equates to US $22.78/hr. average.
By comparison, according to BLS data, NY State provides $54,410 average annual salary to its 13,330 HVAC workers and an hourly average wage of $26.16/hr. While we can see NY provides a higher salary, it is only because it is an expensive state. So as the cost of living in this region is higher, the salary needs to be high as well.
The chart below illustrates a record of average annual and hourly pay in the other cities of NY State:
NY State, City Name Average Annual Salary Approximate no. of workers
Albany-Schenectady-Troy $47,360 750 HVAC workers
Binghamton $48,360 280 HVAC workers
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls $46,690 650 HVAC workers
Dutchess County-Putnam County $53,860 430 HVAC workers
Elmira $36,550 60 HVAC workers
Glens Falls $38,760 110 HVAC workers
Ithaca $53,020 50 HVAC workers
Kingston $42,680 120 HVAC workers
Nassau County-Suffolk County $60,970 2,180 HVAC workers
New York-Jersey City-White Plains $58,250 10,340 HVAC workers
New York-Newark-Jersey City $58,610 16,140 HVAC workers
Rochester $46,600 930 HVAC workers
Syracuse $50,870 660 HVAC workers
Utica-Rome $39,500 170 HVAC workers
Watertown-Fort Drum $44,210 60 HVAC workers
Capital/Northern New York Nonmetropolitan Area $43,230 170 HVAC workers
East Central New York Nonmetropolitan Area $40,580 160 HVAC workers
Central New York Nonmetropolitan Area $40,190 240 HVAC workers
Southwest New York Nonmetropolitan Area $42,230 150 HVAC workers
The two main accreditation organizations for HVAC training schools are HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). There is one HVAC Excellence-accredited program in NY available at the WSWHE BOCES / Meyers Education Center of Saratoga Springs. This two-year school program offers competence-based certification training in the installation, service & repair, and routine maintenance of HVAC equipment. Shop operations, customer service, and business ethics are given heavy emphasis, coursework of this program covers wide-ranging topics such as blueprint reading; planning & estimating jobs; refrigeration principles & practices; electrical motors; and trade-related carpentry. Various sorts of skill-based credentials can be earned through this specific program, including the multiple HVAC Excellence certifications, Fork Truck Licensure, and OSHA 10 & 30-hour certificates.
There are also various PAHRA-accredited schools in New York. Isaac Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. of Rochester is one such school offering hands-on experience in NATE Certification Training in its 1800 sq. ft. of top-notch lab. It has formal 2 year educational program with another 2 additional year program for those who are interested in specialized training. This school was awarded the 2003 Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) “Excellence in Training” Award. It has the reputation of being the sole contractor-run training program with PAHRA Certification. Along with the high number of skilled faculty technicians and 460 specialized course offerings, this one can be a great choice for a certification.
Not just the aforementioned, there is a long list of schools offering HVAC programs. Here is a list and comparison of different schools in the state:
CUNY New York City College of Technology 4-year; public; large city Associate in Applied Science in Environmental Control Technology.
Dutchess Community College 2-year; public; large suburb Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Certificate.
Hudson Valley Community College 2-year; public; small city Associate in Occupational Studies in Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technical Services.
Monroe Community College 2-year; public; large suburb Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Certificate, Associate in Applied Science in Air Conditioning Technology - Heating and Ventilation
Onondaga Cortland Madison BOCES - Liverpool Less-than-2-year; public; large suburb HVACR Technician program
SUNY College of Technology at Canton 4-year, primarily associate's; public; remote town Air Conditioning Maintenance and Repair Certificate, Associate in Applied Science in Air Conditioning Engineering Technology
Notably, there can still be few interested person for whom it is not possible to attend campus classes and take the certification. Those having the inconvenience in enrolling in an on-campus program, can visit this site online HVAC programs and readily avail high-quality, accredited online HVAC programs as well.
One factor to keep in mind before picking a school is knowing about the job placement rate of the school you want to select. Before enrolling anywhere, make sure that the school you select has a decent job placement history, and the students getting certified from that school are in good working places or not. Another thing to keep in mind is whether the school is state approved and the certification carries value in the job market. If your recruiter rejects you because of your school, no point in getting a certification, right? Also check out the HVAC/R programs offered in each school and try to choose which program you want to study in and get specialized.
Last but not the least, choose a school near your home, because you may have to spend 6-8 hours on campus for the program. So if you pick a school which is too far away from your home and you have to spend hours just travelling to and from school, will not be a wise decision. Hopefully after going through all these valuable information, there will not be room left for much doubts. The use of HVAC technology is increasing day by day be it for commercial purposes or household. The demand for such services will continue to be there in the future, as appliances having these frameworks will always need maintenance and servicing. So hurry up, take the first step towards becoming a HVAC technician and join this fast-growing industry.
HVAC Resources in New York