So, you’re interested in becoming an HVAC technician in CT. What next? We’ll cover all of the bases including training, accredited HVAC schools, HVAC worker salary, job types, and how to choose the right path for you.
The HVAC field is expanding rapidly. There is a high demand for HVAC technicians in Connecticut. Qualified technicians will find opportunities in major cities like Richmond and in smaller cities like Putnam.
If you want to quickly locate accredited HVAC schools in CT, scroll down to the CT HVAC School Finder Tool. Type in your zip code and you’ll get a list of accredited Connecticut HVAC schools.
- What is an HVAC/R Career All About?
- The Path to HVAC in Connecticut
- Finding Accredited HVAC Schools in CT
- Licensing and Certifications
What is an HVAC/R Career All About?
HVAC stands for heating, cooling, ventilation, air conditioning. The “R” is assumed to always be included and it stands for refrigeration. In this article, we’ll use both “HVAC” and “HVAC/R” to mean the same thing.
HVAC technicians control all of the climate, air quality, temperature, and humidity functions. They do this in both residential and commercial settings. The refrigeration part of the job comes into play in settings such as food storage in grocery stores, factories, etc.
There are many different types of settings where an HVAC tech does invaluable work. You can find them in settings like factories, apartment buildings, offices, and event venues. Graduating from an accredited HVAC school in Connecticut will allow you to serve either residential or commercial clients in any of these settings. Further education will prepare you to own your own business or specialize in a specific type of work.
Variety of work: Most HVAC technicians are generalists, especially in rural areas. They take service jobs doing installations or repairs in a wide variety of settings. Some HVAC technicians have refined their skills in one specific area, such as refrigeration, air conditioning or a particular job type such as installations. They are considered specialists. It’s easier to become a specialist if you have extra training and certifications. Graduating from an accredited HVAC program will prepare you to be successful in any type of setting!
The Path to HVAC in Connecticut
Here’s a quick overview of the path towards an HVAC education and career in CT.
High School Level Education: A high school diploma or GED is required in order to be admitted to an accredited HVAC school.
Bigger and Better: In terms of HVAC education, the best way to achieve a high HVAC salary in Connecticut is to pursue more training. Some HVAC schools offer a shorter certificate program, usually about a year or less. This can give you the basics, but it’s much easier to advance in your career if you have at least an associate’s degree.
In the rest of this article, we’ll take a look at the education options for HVAC training, certification and licensing in Connecticut. We’ll help you find the right school in your area. Then, we’ll look at details of the trade including typical HVAC worker salary and the demand for HVAC technicians in CT.
Connecticut HVAC/R Techs in High Demand
HVAC workers are in high demand in the entire United States. There is a widespread shortage of technicians. After you get done with your HVAC training, there should be a job waiting for you!
The U.S. BLS site links Projection Central, which estimates that the demand for HVAC technicians in CT will increase by about 11% through 2028.
Because HVAC workers are in high demand in Connecticut, there will be open jobs waiting for you when you finish your schooling!
HVAC Technician Salary
The annual average HVAC worker salary in Connecticut is $62,690.
HVAC technicians in Massachusetts can expect to earn a salary of between $ 40k and $92k. HVAC salary in CT ranks significantly higher than the average HVAC salary in the United States as a whole. The more training and certifications you have, you can expect to earn a higher salary.
Since there is a national shortage of HVAC techs, you can also expect to be able to earn more during overtime hours. Weekend or on-call hours can be a great way to boost your income!
Follow the link below to find information about the average salary of HVAC workers in different areas.
Is the Degree Worth it?
Like we mentioned before, some schools have a one-year training program that isn’t technically a degree. That’s an option but you will certainly have an easier transition into a job if you have a degree.
HVAC technicians need hands on training with experienced technicians. These apprenticeships are valuable. Potential employers prefer to work with technicians who have more years of training under their belt. A degree proves that you have made an investment and are able to conquer the challenges.
A degree will also give you the flexibility and knowledge to be successful in an ever-changing, technology based career. HVAC equipment is becoming more complex, precise and efficient. It’s also becoming more and more reliant on technology. We can now remotely control the heating and cooling of an entire building from our cell phones! An Associates or Bachelor’s degree will give you the foundational training you need in order to handle the rapid technology updates.
The Next Level: If you think you might want to ever own an HVAC company, do contract work or be an HVAC manager, a degree is the best place to start. You’ll have a great foundation for providing excellent customer service, handling all of the intricacies of a business and conquering a variety of challenges in the field. Many states also count your field work in an accredited HVAC school towards the hours you need for a journeyman certification!
Money Talks: The median salary for an HVAC worker increases by at least 27% if they have a degree. The initial investment it takes to get a degree often comes back later through higher earnings once you hit the field.
Levels of HVAC Training in CT
There are two different levels of HVAC degrees and additional licensing and certifications that you could get.
Level 1: Associates Degree
An Associate’s degree takes two years to complete. You can enter the workforce with just this degree or use it as a stepping stone for more education.
Some people choose to get a job with just a 2-year degree and then go back later for more training. Some employers will help pay for the cost of continued education. So, if you find the right job and do great work, your company might pay you a wage and pay for more training. You might be able to get an Associates or Bachelor’s degree for low or no cost!
Later on we’ll talk about which topics are covered in HVAC programs.
Level 2: Bachelor’s Degree
This 4-year degree is perfect if you hope to own your own contracting company or become a manager in the HVAC field some day.
It would add two years after your associates degree. HVAC Bachelor's degrees cover more in-depth and advanced topics like contracting issues, environmental risks, configuring systems, energy use, and HVAC theory. Remember that some employers might even pay for you to go back to school for your bachelor’s degree!
Bachelor’s degrees in this field are valuable but rare. Only 5% of HVAC workers have a bachelor’s degree. Since HVAC technicians are in high demand in Connecticut, you’d have many opportunities waiting for you when you graduate with this type of degree.
HVAC Certifications and Licencing
After you complete your HVAC training, the next step is to get your license and add extra certifications. These allow you to prove your skill and level up in your career. More certifications make you more likely to have a higher salary and better job opportunities.
You can earn certifications by demonstrating your skill, usually by passing a test or proving years of experience in a specific area. One common certification in the HVAC field is the EPA 608, which is required for anybody handling refrigerants. The field has numerous opportunities for additional licensing and certifications.
Finding Accredited HVAC Schools in CT
There are many quality training programs in Connecticut. It can be a little daunting to try to find the right one.
Pick HVAC has created a unique search tool to help you find the best Accredited HVAC schools in Connecticut.
Enter your zip code into the box to see a list of schools in your state. Once you find a school that interests you, you can easily request more information.
Does it Really Need to be Accredited?
We often hear about schools being accredited but we don’t really think about how important it is. If a program is accredited, it means that the program was reviewed and approved by an independent, third party organization. This ensures that the program meets the requirements and provides an excellent training experience. Graduates from an accredited program can be sure that they will be well prepared to be an excellent HVAC worker.
Common Accrediting Bodies: Two well known organizations that provide accreditation are HVAC Excellence and Partners for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). You can look for these names when you’re checking out new schools.
Having the stamp of approval from one of these organizations means that the program produces well-rounded, successful HVAC techs. The HVAC field can be fast paced and challenging. You’ll want to make sure that you have covered all of the important topics in school. Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration News published a great article that explains why it’s so important to attend an accredited program. Follow this link to read what they have to say.
HVAC Training Price Tag
The price will vary depending on which type of program you choose. An associates degree can cost up to $15,000 at a university, HVAC or vocational school or around $5,000 at a community college.
No matter which path you decide to take, investing in a quality HVAC education is well worth it. You are sure to be in high demand as a trained HVAC technician in CT.
The Benefits of having an HVAC degree
Graduates with an HVAC degree are in high demand. Having a degree on your resume will allow you to quality for a good salary right out of the gate. You’ll also be prepared to get your bachelor's degree later on.
When you enter the field with a degree, you already have a lot of the hands on training completed. You’ll be ready to add on extra certifications in areas that interest you. More certifications will allow you to be a top candidate for the jobs of your choice and earn a higher income!
HVAC/R work is becoming more and more complex, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Companies are willing to pay more to a technician who has more training over those who have only completed field work like an apprenticeship. The BLS site has more details about the outlook of the HVAC/R field.
Finding the Right HVAC Training School in CT
After you find schools that interest you and request more information, consider these factors:
Location - Do you want to find an accredited HVAC school that’s close to home? Are you able to relocate or commute?
Student Aid - Many schools provide some sort of financial aid program. You can ask if they have work study opportunities or extra scholarships.
Reputation - Find out what other people are saying about the school. Ask past students in your area or check online reviews.
The Campus - Visiting the campus will give you a good idea of the class size, training areas and equipment on hand. You could even make an appointment to talk about financial aid or scheduling while you’re on campus.
Narrowing the HVAC Training Program Search
Once you find schools that are in the right location and meet your financial circumstances, look for more information about their specific HVAC training program. Here are some important topics to look into:
Accreditation - For all of the reasons explained above, make sure that you are joining an accredited HVAC training program.
Online - Does the school offer online or in-person instruction? Online training is convenient if you can’t commute every day. We recommend choosing a program with at least some hands-on experiences.
Experienced instructions - You can gain valuable knowledge from instructors who are professionals in the industry and have years of experience behind them. The instructors have a lot to do with how much you enjoy your training experience.
Coursework - Look into what topics you will study. Does the school specialize in any particular area?
Job Placement - Some schools help their students land a job after they graduate. Does the school have a program to help students successfully transition into the field?
Training Topics in HVAC/R School
What types of things will you cover in HVAC training school? We’ve listed basic topics that will be covered. You can check with each specific school by using the search tool above and requesting more information.
- The basics of HVAC work including heating, air conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration, air quality and more
- Installing and setting up various systems (Residential and Commercial)
- Repairing systems (Residential and Commercial)
- Refrigerants as a specialty (some schools)
- Introduction to green systems
These are just some of the basic, overall principles that are covered. More specific topics are covered below.
Specific HVAC Coursework Topics
Quality HVAC training schools provide both hands-on lab work and in-class learning opportunities. Both of these types of learning are necessary for a well-rounded education.
Classes that are based in the classroom usually include lectures, paperwork, diagrams and reading. You might learn about topics like HVAC theories, circuitry, green technologies, tools, differences between units, gas and oil, thermostats and electronic controls. Classes that take place in the lab will provide hands-on experience with real equipment. You might learn to assemble, repair or install equipment.
These subjects are commonly covered in an HVAC training program
- Basic electricity of HVAC
- Ductwork sizing and load calculations
- Heat Pumps, boilers, zone systems
- Refrigerant piping and connections
- Electric motors, wiring, circuits, controls
- Hand and power tools associated with the trade
- Natural gas, propane and petroleum systems
- Modern refrigeration and air conditioning
- Codes, ordinances, safety practices, EPA, OSHA regulations
Licensing and Certifications
A diploma from an accredited HVAC training school in Connecticut is a great first step. In order to legally do HVAC work in CT, you’ll need an HVAC license. This proves that you have the necessary training and are able to do the work.
Certifications are extra recognitions. If you’re certified in a particular area you can be considered an expert. You by earning certifications to prove it. You’ll gain certifications by passing a test to prove your knowledge and skill in that topic. More certifications can make you eligible for a higher HVAC salary and better job opportunities!
Some jobs even require that the applicants are already certified in that area, like refrigeration, for example. The more certifications you have, the more flexible you will be to get some of the best HVAC jobs and highest salaries in CT.
These are some of the common certifications for HVAC workers:
- EPA Type III Certification – For servicing low pressure systems, chillers
- EPA Type II Certification – For servicing high pressure systems, residential air conditioning and refrigeration units, heat pumps
- EPA Type I Certification - For servicing small appliances, air conditioners, domestic refrigeration, vending machines
- Universal EPA Certification – Covers all of the above
- EPA 608 Certification (Refrigerants) - For handling refrigerants including service, repair, installation and disposal
Since refrigeration is one of the important aspects of the job, certifications like the EPA 608 are important to make sure that you can complete any jobs you might come across.
The largest HVAC/R technician organization is called North American Technical Excellence, NATE for short. It is a non-profit organization that is made up of HVAC technicians and represents the HVAC/R industry. NATE gives different levels of certifications including:
- #1) Ready to Work Certification
- #2) HVAC Support Technician
- #3) NATE Certification: Core and Specialty Tests
- #4) Senior Level Efficiency Analyst Certification
- Certified HVAC Professional (CHP-5)
You can find more information about HVAC certifications in Connecticut at the NATE website.
Other Professional HVAC/R Organizations
In Connecticut, and in the United States in general, there are many other HVAC professional organizations.
These organizations are likely to be a very valuable resource as you continue in your HVAC career. They can provide education, collaboration, networking and other information to working HVAC technicians. You could even start getting involved when you are still in HVAC training school!
Here is a list of some of the professional HVAC organizations. Most of them have chapters in Connecticut.
- Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
- Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA).
- American Society of Heating, refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
- Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE1).
- HVAC Excellence.
- International Institute of Refrigeration.
- Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC).
- Radiant Professional Alliance.
- Refrigeration Engineers Society (RSES).
- Refrigeration Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA).
- Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).
- United Association (UA).
- Women in HVACR.
Occupational Information Network
Another valuable resource is the Occupational Information Network (ONet). This nation wide website has a wealth of information on HVAC/R careers in Connecticut and other states as well as educational resources. Here you could find information about HVAC knowledge and skills, job opportunities, HVAC worker salary, and links to other sources.
Explore the ONet site early and often in order to keep up with changes and keep an eye on job opportunities. When you complete your HVAC education at school in Connecticut, you may be able to get connected to your first job through ONet.