While New Jersey may be more famous for being the neighbor of New York, it certainly isn’t a slouch in the HVAC jobs department. It is the 11th most populous state as well as the most densely-populated state, meaning there are plenty of homes to keep comfortable in the hot humid summers and cold winters.
Getting a job in this state as an HVAC technician assures you of a stable and secure career, due to the growing needs of the population. You will also be able to get a quality education from one of the many great schools and technical institutes for both HVAC training and engineering.
Requirements to be an HVAC Tech in New Jersey
Working as an HVAC technician in New Jersey requires getting certified by the state of New Jersey. The state requires that you hold the Master HVACR Contractor license to work in the industry.
In order to get licensed you’ll need to pass the licensing exam. You also need to fulfill certain educational requirements or work experience requirements.
To apply for the licenses, you have to be 21 years and older and have one of the following:
A bachelor’s degree in HVACR studies from an accredited college or university, plus at least 1 year 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 is counted as equivalent to two years field experience.
In this case, a course from a technical training program can reduce the number of years you’ll need to work to gain enough experience to get licensed.
You should also aim to pass the EPA 608 certification exam, which is required under federal law for any technician who works with refrigerants.
HVAC engineers always need a minimum of a four years undergraduate degree in engineering, usually in Mechanical Engineering. Some of the top schools in New Jersey for engineers are listed in the article.
HVAC Tech Salary and Job Prospects in New Jersey
Working as an HVAC Technician can pay off, especially in a well-off state like New Jersey. HVAC Technicians in New Jersey earn an average yearly salary of $58,420, ranging from $35,250 up to $87,070. This is higher than the US HVAC average salary, which is $42,992 and can range from $25,794 up to $66,569.
The pay varies from city to city as well, depending on cost of living and demand for these services. The average salary for an HVACR technician is $60,430 in the NY/NJ Metro Area.
Top HVAC Schools and Colleges in New Jersey
Undergraduate Certificate in HVAC
This program teaches students the basics of air conditioning, refrigeration and heating technology. The curriculum includes heating fundamentals, combustion analysis, unit airflow setup and checkout.
They also cover basic safety, refrigeration repair training, system evacuation, gas properties, heat transfer, circuits and soldering, pipefitting, etc. The purpose of this program is to prepare students for an entry-level position in air conditioning or heating services.
Certificate in HVAC
This program is offered jointly by Mercer County Community College and the Mercer County Technical Schools. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent with one year of algebra or applied mathematics.
Through this program, students can learn basic theories and fundamental principles of heat transfer as well as how to service, troubleshoot, and repair domestic and commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems and components.
The program requires 34-35 credits to complete and is suitable for part-time students, as most of the courses are offered only in the evening. Graduates can work in positions such as refrigeration mechanic, commercial air conditioning mechanic, furnace installer and repairer, oil burner installation and service technician, gas heating system servicer, and mobile air conditioning system mechanic.
(Fortis has two NJ campuses with related courses, in Lawrenceville and Wayne)
Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
The HVAC training program at Fortis prepares students for employment in the HVAC industry by teaching them to apply theory and principles taught in class and lab settings. They learn the needed skills to develop, select, operate and test a wide variety of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.
The HVAC program includes training in computerized diagnostics so students will be able to service and repair today's complex HVACR systems, a valuable skill that is not offered at most schools.
Diploma Program HVACR
The diploma program is offered in both day and evening versions. The day version can be completed in 12 months, while the Evening one takes 16 months. The campus is located in Nutley.
Graduates of the program can receive certifications in EPA 608 and EPA 410A, as well as HVAC Excellence certifications in Electricity, Gas Heat, Air Condition Service, Air Conditioning and Charging Procedures. These are all valuable for HVAC technicians to prove their competence to potential employers. Graduates are recognized by the NJPHCC as eligible for second-year apprentice status.
Heating Ventilating Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R)
This 2-year diploma program requires 900 credit hours. In the first year, the focus is on HVAC/Mechanical Services Technology. The program incorporates practical hands-on training and operating theory of hot water, heating and air conditioning, and plumbing systems.
In the second year, students learn about HVAC/Refrigeration concepts such as how to install, repair, and maintain heating, air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration equipment.
This program covers industry safety standards, blueprint reading and electrical schematic diagrams, as well as basic theory and operation of mechanical components and electrical controls. The EPA 608 certification exam is given upon completion of the program.
Students have the opportunity to earn advanced college credit upon successful completion of this program via a Tech Prep agreement with the University of Northwestern Ohio. Graduates of this program will receive advance standing in the OCVTS Adult Education Division Apprenticeship Program.
HVAC Engineer Salary and Job Prospects in New Jersey
While the annual average salary for an entry-level HVAC Engineer is $59,437 nationwide, the booming HVAC industry in New Jersey means you can earn more than that. Salaries differ from city to city but the highest average pay is $79,300 in West New York, while the lowest is $71,047 in Camden. Pay increases with experience as well as higher qualifications, such as a master’s degree.
Top Colleges and Universities for HVAC Engineers in New Jersey
BS in Mechanical Engineering
The undergraduate program in mechanical engineering at Stevens gives a broad background in engineering and the liberal arts, along with the technical skills needed to support the design, testing, and manufacture of products, systems, and devices. The program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET.
Graduates from this program get high-paying jobs immediately after graduation. Graduates from the Stevens class of 2010 were offered an average of $61,050 straight out of college, compared to the national average of $58,881.
Mechanical Engineering Master's Degree
The Master’s program requires a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, but applicants with undergraduate degrees in other engineering disciplines will be considered if they take appropriate undergraduate courses before being formally admitted into the program. The degree requires 30 credits, approved by the student’s academic advisor.
The emphasis of the program is on research, as well as getting more in-depth knowledge on the topics of engineering that interest the students. The extremely well-qualified faculty, as well as top-notch labs and resources, are a big attraction.
BS in Mechanical Engineering
The undergraduate program at Rutgers is designed to impart the necessary skills for industry and research in academia. The department also offers an energy concentration, which culminates with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and an energy certificate accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
The university provides students with state-of-the-art equipment in nearly 20 advanced labs and centers, allowing better understanding of theory through hands-on practical experience. Students undertake internships which provide practical professional experience in business and industrial settings, often leading to better job offers. Teamwork and design are emphasized in the senior design projects, putting classroom learning to real-life use.
BS/MS Five-Year Dual Degree
Students who are in their third year of the B.S. program can apply for the Combined B.S.-M.S./ B.S.-M.Eng. program, allowing them to complete 2 degrees in 5 years. This program requires a GPA of 3.2 or higher and students must have completed 96 credits of coursework at the end of their sixth semester of undergraduate study. The GRE requirement is waived for students in the B.S.-M.S./B.S.-M.Eng. program.
Master of Engineering
The Master of Engineering degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is designed for professionals working in industry or government. It requires the completion of 30 course credits and a project. A final oral examination and report based on the project are required.
Students can specialize in Design and Control, Fluid Mechanics, Mechanics of Solids, Materials and Structures or Thermal Sciences. However, students are allowed and encouraged to take courses from any of the areas of specialization and also relevant courses offered by other programs within the Graduate School.
B.S. in ME
Princeton is one the highest-ranked universities in the world and it is considered both prestigious and difficult to get admitted there. The Mechanical Engineering program has courses in the underlying fundamental sciences and mathematics during the first year and introductory engineering science courses during the second year.
Emphasis is on engineering design, beginning with projects in laboratories in the second year and continue through the upper class years. The programs are designed to prepare the graduate for an engineering career and the ability to grow professionally.
M.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering
The M.S.E. program requires the completion of seven courses and a thesis, and it usually lasts two years.
The undergraduate program at NJIT requires 130 credits minimum to complete. The curriculum provides the student a chance to develop proficiency in a technical specialty through a minimum of 12 credits of electives emphasizing an area of engineering.
Students learn to design and conduct experiments as well as to analyze and interpret data. They can effectively function on multi-disciplinary teams and use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. This program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
The M.S. program is designed for engineering graduates seeking advanced professional preparation and further graduate study in the mechanical engineering field. It requires a minimum of 30 credits, including 12 to 15 credits in a field of concentration and two semesters of Mechanical Engineering Colloquium. Students are encouraged to complete a formal thesis or a project.
Graduate students have the opportunity to work with faculty on research in state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research centers in such emerging areas as engineered particulates, polymer engineering, microelectronics and nanotechnology. The department has well-established relationships with business and government, and graduate students had opportunities for research internships and fellowships at agencies like NASA and Sandia National Laboratories as well as with corporate partners.
Rowan’s curriculum includes a solid core in mathematics, physics, chemistry and the engineering sciences. The university has extensive rapid-prototyping and manufacturing facilities for the realization of student designs.
Every graduate of this program is proficient in all three aspects of "Design, Build and Test," which is the motto of Rowan’s engineering department. These graduates are sought after by local and national industries, government agencies, and graduate schools.
The undergraduate program emphasizes a hands-on, practice-based approach to provide a broad engineering education in mechanical engineering. The program offers strategic partnerships between industries, government agencies and teams of Rowan faculty and students to solve contemporary engineering problems and conduct cutting-edge research.
M.S. in Mechanical Engineering
The 9 semester hour MS program develops a high level of competence in engineering design, and a deep understanding of current technology. The interdisciplinary nature of the program provides students with an opportunity to work on exciting research areas at the leading edge of technology.
This program includes the following focus areas: Bioengineering; Mechanics and Materials; Signals, Systems and Computational Intelligence; and Sustainability.
Thanks to the world-famous universities and colleges in New Jersey, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting your undergraduate program in engineering. If you want to get started as an HVAC tech in New Jersey, the training schools mentioned above will be a great place to begin. Make sure you ask about financial aid and other ways to get funding if you need it.
Master’s programs are often fully funded but check if the program is more research-oriented or leans towards professional development. For the HVAC industry, you may prefer a more professional-oriented approach.
Visiting the campus is a good idea in case you need to learn more about the offerings and campus resources. That way you’ll be in the position to make an informed decision about what institute to select for your education.