Aspiring air conditioning professionals in New Jersey can begin pursuing their goals by getting the required education. A number of 2-year community colleges and technical schools offer certificate, associate's degree and preparatory programs. Consisting of 31 - 63 credits, these programs offer full- and part-time study options. They might take between 9 months and two years to complete. Program titles include heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration; HVAC/energy technology program, certificate of proficiency in heating, refrigeration and air conditioning, environmental control technology and HVAC/plumbing program. Read the following school summaries to learn more about the programs offered at these schools.
Adult and Continuing Education - Bergen County Technical Schools
Students in Hackensack can attend this school's 9-month program or individual courses on HVAC/R. The 9-month program is an EPA-approved certification program that's offered in partnership with the Mainstream Engineering Corporation. Courses must be completed in a specific sequence, starting with an introductory course in AC and refrigeration. Following this course, students take classes covering commercial and residential AC concepts, electrical codes and HVAC operations, as well as gas, oil and electrical AC systems.
Camden County College
This school offers an HVAC program through its technical institute in Sicklerville. Students in this program learn about various heating and cooling systems, and they gain hands-on experience with the tools of the trade. Classes primarily meet on weekday evenings, and the program takes roughly 9 months to complete. Graduates are qualified to take the EPA's refrigerant certification exam.
Mercer County Community College
MCCC in West Windsor partners with Mercer County Technical Schools to offer the heating, refrigeration and air conditioning certificate and associate's degree programs. Admission into both programs requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and completion of 1 year of algebra or applied math. The certificate program is completed on a part-time basis, while students in the associate's degree program can complete the program as part-time or full-time participants.
The certificate program requires 34-35 credits to complete and includes classes like electricity basics, refrigeration fundamentals, AC operations and commercial HVAC units. Students earn 60-64 credits in the associate's degree program and take the same courses as those in the certificate program. Additional classes in the associate's degree program may cover electrical codes and advanced concepts related to commercial systems. More general education classes, such as economics and an additional English course, are also included in the associate's degree program.
Morris County Vocational School District
Denville is home to this school, which has a 1,080-hour HVACR program where students can learn about residential and commercial HVACR systems. The curriculum covers math, electricity, heating systems, air conditioning equipment and refrigeration. While completing the program, students may be able to earn an ESCO Job Readiness Certification and a New Jersey Black Seal Boiler Operator License.
Ocean County Vocational-Technical School
This Toms River-based school has a 2-year HVACR program that prepares students to work with residential and commercial AC, heating and refrigeration units. Students may learn installation methods, troubleshooting and maintenance of this equipment. At the program's end, students take the EPA's refrigerant certification exam. Graduates also receive advanced standing in the school's apprenticeship program, which helps them gain on-the-job training.
Raritan Valley Community College
Students can learn about AC technology in a certificate or associate's degree program at Branchburg's Raritan Valley Community College. Students in both programs take classes at the main campus and the instructional site in Bridgewater. The certificate program requires 31 credits that are completed over 2 semesters, while the associate's degree program requires 63 credits that are completed over 4 semesters. Some courses in both programs include electricity concepts, AC and heating systems design, refrigeration and AC equipment operations. Students in the associate's degree program may also take computer-aided drafting, environmental studies and commercial AC operations.
Union County Vocational Technical School
Individuals interested in a full-time post-secondary school can apply to the HVAC/plumbing program at this school in Scotch Plains. The program accepts students 4 times each year, and it can be completed in 10 months of full-time study. Students participate in classroom-based learning and laboratory coursework. The curriculum prepares students for EPA certification by teaching them about refrigeration, electrical codes, AC units and equipment operation. Additionally, the coursework covers plumbing skills.
Working as an air conditioning (AC) tech requires individuals to meet state and national regulations. At the national level, AC techs who handle refrigerants must obtain certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are 4 types of certification for AC technicians, which are based on the types of duties being performed. Type I certification qualifies individuals to service small appliances, Type II certification qualifies AC techs to work with certain high-pressure appliances, Type III certified professionals can work with low-pressure appliances and individuals with Universal certification can work with all of the appliances. To acquire certification, individuals must pass an EPA-approved exam administered by an EPA-approved organization.
The state of New Jersey mandates that all professionals working as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) master contractors acquire licensure from the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors. Candidates with ample experience may be able to obtain the license without meeting certain education and exam requirements. Otherwise, candidates must have at least 5 years of HVACR experience; 2 of the 5 years can be satisfied by completing an HVACR program at an accredited school. Alternatively, individuals can complete an HVACR technology bachelor's program and accumulate one year of professional experience. Candidates must also pass an exam.
There are seven public or not-for-profit schools in New Jersey with programs in AC technology. Use the chart at the bottom to quickly compare details about each school.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Air Conditioning Technology Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees|
|Adult and Continuing Education - Bergen County Technical Schools||Less than 2-year, public; large suburb||HVAC/R Program||$10,530 (2015-2016)*|
|Camden County College||2-year, public; large suburb||HVAC Program||$4,575 (2016-2017, total cost includes tuition, lab fees, books and supplies)**|
|Mercer County Community College||2-year, public; rural|| Certificate of Proficiency in Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning,
Associate in Applied Science in Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
| $3,648 in-district,
$6,900 out-of-state (2015-2016)*
|Morris County Vocational School District||Less than 2-year, public; large suburb||Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Program||$8,575 in-district; $9,575 out-of-district (tuition 2016-2017)*****|
|Ocean County Vocational-Technical School||Less than 2-year, public; large suburb||Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Tech Prep Program||$3,250 (2015-2016, includes tuition and books)***|
|Raritan Valley Community College||2-year, public; rural|| Certificate in Environmental Control Technology,
Associate of Applied Science Environmental Control Technology
| $4,048 in-district,
$4,768 out-of-state (2015-2016)*
|Union County Vocational Technical School||Less than 2-year, public; large suburb||HVAC/Plumbing Program|| $5,500 in-county residents,
$7,750 out-of-county residents (2015-2016)****
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Camden County College, ***Ocean County Vocational-Technical School, ****Union County Vocational Technical School, *****Morris County Vocational School District.