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Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the State of New Jersey offers increasing opportunities for qualified HVAC technicians and contractors. HVAC professionals working in New Jersey are also among some of the most highly paid individuals in the industry.
If you are considering becoming an HVAC professional, or perhaps moving to work in New Jersey, you will need to have a state license to carry out HVAC contracting work. This article will guide you through the steps you will need to take to get licensed. You will also learn about the licensing conditions you will need to meet to successfully renew your license.
Why Get HVACR Certified in New Jersey
Getting certified is essential for getting HVAC contracting work in the State of New Jersey. Unlike in other states where certification is voluntary, in New Jersey, you have to hold the Master HVACR Contractor license to work in the industry. The benefits of getting certified include the potential to command a higher salary, professional recognition and the flexibility to start your own HVACR contracting business.
Route to Master HVACR Contractor Status
The route to certification as an HVACR contractor in New Jersey has two starting points as mentioned in the introduction to this article. You are either:
- A qualified/experienced HVACR technician (journeyperson) from out of state looking to work in New Jersey.
- College student looking to take the HVAC career pathway.
The scope of this article will focus on how an HVAC technician or journeyperson, with experience, will go about getting their license.
New Jersey State Master HVACR Contractor Licensing Requirements
Before sitting the licensing exam, the applicant has to satisfy the educational requirements, as well as completing an application form. All applicants for state licensing have to be 21 years and older. The education requirements you will need to satisfy for licensing are as follows:
- A bachelor’s degree in HVACR studies from accredited college or university and at least 1 year hands-on experience installing, servicing and repairing HVAC systems.
- A bachelor’s degree in a field closely related to the HVAC industry plus a minimum of 3 years practical experience installing, servicing and maintaining HVAC systems.
- Completion of a vocational training college program or through a trade school, county college or community college will also count towards certification is equivalent to two years field experience (see work experience requirements below).
If you’re looking to apply to an HVAC school in order to meet the above requiremnts you can get started by filling out the form below. It will help you locate HVAC schools near you.
If you do not meet the educational requirements above, you may still be eligible for Master HVACR Contractor licensing if you hold relevant field experience as outlined below:
- You hold 5 years’ experience working as an HVACR contractor, with at least four years served as an HVACR apprenticeship or undergoing an approved training program. You will also need to have spent at least one year as a HVACR journeyperson upon completion of your apprenticeship.
Once you have satisfied the education, training and experience requirements you can submit your application form to the State Board. An application fee of $100 is payable on application.
Passing the Exam and Bonding
Once your application is approved, you’re ready to sit the licensing exam. It’s crucial that you prepare adequately because if you do not reach the pass mark, you have to wait 6 months before taking the exam again. Exams are held at least four times a year so you don’t have to wait too long between applying and sitting the exam.
On passing the exam, the State Board will issue you with the Master HVACR Contractor license. The law also requires you to post a $3,000 bond to act as a guarantee that you will uphold and comply with the rules and regulations of your license.
The license will require renewal every two years and you must produce evidence that you have participated in continuous development activities during the two year period. The training must be provided by an approved facility.
Insurance and Tax Matters
If you are going to be offering your services as a HVACR professional instead of working as an employee, you are effectively setting up your own business. You will be required to take out insurance with a minimum cover of $500,000 and provide proof of insurance to the State Board.
In addition, before your license can be issued, you will need to provide a Federal Tax Identification Number. These conditions allow you to advertise and offer your HVACR maintenance, servicing and installation service in the State of New Jersey.
If you meet all the requirements for licensing, the process is straightforward. The challenges arise when you do not quite have the relevant experience or educational foundation to meet the eligibility criteria. If this is the case, you will need to fill in the gaps in education or experience by undertaking the classes that will help you meet the requirements. There are a number of institutions offering HVAC classes who will assist you in meeting these requirements.
It is vital that you take the time to prepare for the certification exams as mentioned earlier. It is better to ensure you have studied adequately before making an attempt because failing the exam will mean you have to wait six months before making another attempt.