How to Become an HVAC Technician in New York

To become an HVAC tech in New York, you’ll need to adhere to your city’s regulations. There is no statewide licensing procedure for HVAC techs or HVAC contractors. To give you an idea of the licensing options and procedures, this article will discuss the licenses available in New York City itself.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians in New York are in high demand. Earning 8% more than the national average, these techs can work on anything from air conditioning units to industry-level refrigeration systems. 

Do You need an HVAC License in New York?

New York does not offer statewide HVAC licenses; however, each city has the right to require and distribute its HVAC licenses and certifications. This means a license you hold in one city may not be accepted one town over.

To make sure you are complying with local laws, reach out to your city’s licensing board for more information about the local HVAC tech regulations.

Types of HVAC Licenses in New York City

New York City offers three types of licenses an HVAC tech may be interested in.

NY HVAC Tech Apprenticeships

If you’re looking to work as an HVAC tech and don’t require any of the licenses offered in your city, you can begin your career by completing an HVAC post-secondary program or apprenticeship. 

HVAC programs can be done in as little as 6 months, although many last 2 years and put you on the path towards an associate’s degree.

Apprenticeships are arguably preferable to programs, as they incorporate classroom hours with on-site paid work experience, usually over 4 years. During this work experience, you’ll be supervised by licensed professionals who help you become familiar with the trade.

NYC Refrigeration Operating Engineer Certificate of Qualification

The Refrigeration Operating Engineer Certificate of Qualification is overseen by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). 

The certificate is given after passing both a written and practical exam called the Q-01 Certificate of Qualification Exam.

Requirements

To take the exam, you’ll first need to apply for a Certificate of Fitness (COF) online. This COF will allow you to take the exam and, if you pass, receive your Certificate of Qualification. Before applying, you must meet these requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Hold a Universal Technician Certification given by the EPA
  • Possess the High-pressure Boiler Operating Engineer License, Marine Engineer Certificate, or Professional Engineer’s License OR
  • Complete an FDNY Refrigeration Operating Engineer course of at least 200 hours OR
  • Have 1 year of practical experience

To Apply

  • Create a username and password on NYC ID. You will need to provide your email address, as well as the name, address, and email of your employer.
  • Under “Account”, click “Initiate Application/Request”
  • Check “Certificate of Fitness”
  • Complete the application and pay any applicable fees
    1. Include a letter of recommendation from your employer on letterhead, if currently employed
    2. Pay the $25 application fee plus a $285 exam fee ($60 written + $225 practical) 

For more information about applying for the exam, see this PDF. Your application will be reviewed shortly after submission, after which you’ll receive a confirmation email if approved. Within this email, you will find instructions on how to schedule your exam. 

Renewals

Refrigeration Operating Engineer Certificates of Qualification are good for three years, with more information on renewals found on page 33 of the application.

NYC Oil Burning Equipment Installer License

The NYC Oil Burning Equipment Installer License has set requirements you must meet before sitting for the exam. Just like with the previous certification, once you pass the exam you can receive your license. 

Requirements

Requirements for this license depend on the class. Class A installers can install any type of oil-burning equipment. Class B installers can only install equipment used for domestic fuel oils numbers 1-4. All installers must be 18+ and speak and write in English.

Class A installers need:

  • 4+ years of experience within the last 7 years
    • At least 1 year of experience with no. 5 and 6 fuels

Class B installers need:

  • 3+ years of experience within the last 5 years

To Apply

First, you will apply for, schedule, and pass the written exam, including paying a $525 fee. 

Then, you will apply for, schedule, and pass the practical exam, also paying the $250 fee.

Scheduling instructions will be given to you once your application has been approved. 

You will also undergo a background investigation, for which you’ll need to submit a long list of documents listed on this site, plus a $100 license issuance fee and a $100 seal fee.

After all of this has been completed, you’ll receive your license.

NYC High-pressure Boiler Operating Engineer License

HVAC techs applying for this license must have ONE of the following:

  • Been a fireman, oiler, general assistant, journeyman boiler-maker, or machinist for 5 years 
  • Have a mechanical engineering degree
  • Held an engineer certificate for at least 4 years
  • Have 5+ years’ experience working at a steam generating plant in a government building
  • Completed a 2+ year registered apprenticeship
  • Have 5+ years of experience in high-pressure boiler operation as a Commission from the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspector
  • Hold the Qualifications of High-Capacity Fossil Fuel Operator (QFO)
  • Held a high-pressure certificate or license for 5+ years elsewhere

To Apply

You must apply to take both the written and practical exams. The fees are $525 and $350, respectively. You’ll schedule the exams once the applications have been approved. You must pass both parts with at least a 70% in each.

Once you’ve passed, you will submit all documentation on the DOB NOW Portal. For assistance with the final application process, see here.

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