Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) programs train students to install, maintain, and repair heating and cooling equipment. There are a handful of public community colleges and vocational schools within New Jersey that offer training programs for HVAC workers.
The programs highlight topics such as electrical circuitry and heat pump systems as well as air conditioning and refrigeration systems. In addition, some schools offer standalone courses. Students gain practical expertise through their participation in laboratory sessions and cooperative experiences.
Bergen County Technical Schools
The Adult and Continuing Education Division provides vocational training for adults and offers an HVAC/Refrigeration technology program at the school's HVAC Technical Center in Hackensack. The educational program is career-oriented, and students gain practical experience through hands-on training. The HVAC/Refrigeration technology program teaches students how to create temperature-controlled environments within houses, apartments, offices, hospitals, and factories. Students have the option of completing the entire program or just enrolling in specific courses.
The program begins with an introductory course on air conditioning and refrigeration along with a course in commercial or residential air conditioning. Courses in electrical controls for HVAC, CFC training, and gas/electric/oil heating systems are also required. The CFC training course is administered by an EPA-approved provider, and students get to take the EPA certification exam upon completion of the course.
Mercer County Community College
Mercer County Community College offers a Certificate of Proficiency and Associate of Applied Science in Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning at its campus locations in West Windsor and Trenton.
Consisting of 35 credits of coursework, the Certificate of Proficiency in Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning program trains students to work with domestic and commercial HVAC systems. Students develop skills in diagnosing, servicing, repairing, and maintaining mechanical systems, devices and components. Prospective students must meet the program's mathematics requirement, which can be satisfied with one year of prior coursework in applied mathematics or algebra. The associate's program requires the completion of 61-63 credits and includes all of the courses within the certificate program as well as additional general education courses in English composition, economics, and health and fitness.
Morris County Vocational School District
The Morris County Vocational School District, which is located in Denville, offers a heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) program. The 1,080-hour HVACR training program has received approval from the New Jersey Department of Education and prepares students to work with residential, commercial, and industrial systems.
Students receive instruction and training in working with diagnostic equipment used for the installation, repair, and maintenance of HVACR systems. Courses cover topics like electrical circuitry, heat pump systems, air conditioning systems, and energy management systems. Students who successfully complete the training can earn the New Jersey Black Seal Boiler Operator License as well as ESCO Job Readiness certifications.
Ocean County Vocational Technical School
The Ocean County Vocational Technical School has partnerships with businesses that allow students to participate in occupational HVACR training at the Brick Center campus location. Students learn about the mechanical and electrical components of air conditioning units, heating units, and commercial refrigerators. The program also covers different types of heating systems, heat pumps, and high efficiency air conditioners. Upon completion of this 2-year program, students are prepared to take the EPA Refrigerant certification exam.
Raritan Valley Community College
Raritan Valley Community College features two training program options for prospective HVAC students at the college's Branchburg and Bridgewater campuses. The 31-credit certificate program in environmental control technology can be completed in two semesters, while the Associate of Applied Science in Environmental Control Technology requires the completion of 63 credits.
Both programs focus on teaching students about equipment components and controls, system service techniques, engineering design, and thermodynamic theories. The curriculum also includes lab sessions for students to get practice and experience. The 2-year associate's program includes general education studies as well as coursework focusing on commercial HVAC controls and instrumentation, computer aided drafting, and refrigeration. Students in the associate's program must also complete a co-op work experience in the final semester.
Union County Vocational Technical School
Union County Vocational Technical School in Scotch Plains has an HVAC/plumbing program. This training program is administered on a full-time basis and can be completed in 10 months. Students receive training that combines classroom lectures with lab practice sessions. Coursework focuses on refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating equipment. Students also learn about proper techniques for installation, diagnostic troubleshooting, and maintenance.
The plumbing component of the program teaches students about pipe fitting and soldering as well as installation of sinks, dishwashers, toilets, drains, refrigerators, and oil burners. Students who complete the program can earn the EPA Refrigerant certification upon passing the relevant exam.
Licensing requirements for HVAC technicians vary within each state. Those who advertise their services as Master HVACR professionals in New Jersey must be licensed by the State Board of Examiners of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Contractors. To become licensed, individuals must be 21 years of age, have a minimum of five years of experience in the field (four of which must take place in an apprenticeship), and pass an exam. Completion of an HVAC training program can reduce the amount of apprenticeship experience needed to meet the licensure requirements.
Jobs that involve handling refrigerants require certification as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Prospective students who plan on working with refrigerants must successfully complete the relevant examination in order to earn certification. The certification options include: Type 1 Certification for working with and servicing small appliances, Type 2 Certification for working with high pressure systems and refrigerants, and Type 3 Certification for working with low pressure systems and refrigerants.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||HVAC Training Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees|
|Bergen County Technical Schools||Less-than-2-year; public; large suburb||HVAC/Refrigeration Technology Program||$10,530 for program (2015-2016)*|
|Mercer County Community College||2-year; public; fringe rural|| Certificate of Proficiency in Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning,
Associate of Applied Science in Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning
|$3,648 per year in-district; $4,788 per year in-state; $6,900 per year out-of-state (2015-2016)*|
|Morris County Vocational School District||Less-than-2-year; public; large suburb||Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Program||$8,406 (2015-2016)*|
|Ocean County Vocational Technical School||Less-than-2-year; public; large suburb||Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Program||$6,550 (2015-2016)*|
|Raritan Valley Community College||2-year; public; fringe rural|| Certificate in Environmental Control Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Environmental Control Technology
|$4,048 per year in-district; $4,768 per year in-state; $4,768 per year out-of-state (2015-2016)*|
|Union County Vocational Technical School||Less-than-2-year; public; large suburb||HVAC/Plumbing Program||$5,500 (2015-2016)*|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics