New Mexico HVAC License: How to Become an HVAC Contractor in New Mexico
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Most states require training and licensure before you can legally design, install, repair, and maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. As today’s HVAC technology becomes increasingly complex, and we place more emphasis on energy efficiency and reducing pollution, HVACR systems need retrofitting, upgrading, or replacement to remain compliant. Learning this essential trade takes years, but once you complete the necessary training, your skills will be in high demand in the home services and construction industry.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are over 394,100 heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers nationwide, and more than 1,180 work in New Mexico. The BLS predicts employment to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031 nationwide, adding more than 20,000 of these skilled workers to the ranks. That growth rate is expected to be even higher in New Mexico — projected at 13%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
Many contractors nationwide are trying to find skilled tradesmen. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 2022 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 93% of firms in the U.S. had unfilled hourly craft positions like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians. So, if you get the training you need you will have a lot of jobs to choose from when you’re ready.
Licensing requirements for HVAC workers and technicians vary widely from state to state and, in New Mexico, from locality to locality. Read on to learn more about becoming an HVAC tech in the Land of Enchantment.
License Requirements for HVAC Professionals in New Mexico
Is a state license required to perform HVAC work in New Mexico? Yes, New Mexico mandates licenses for HVAC technicians and contractors at the state level. HVAC licenses are issued by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department Construction Industries Division.
It’s also important to note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under section 608 of the Clean Air Act, requires any technician who maintains, services, repairs, or disposes of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere to earn a Section 608 technician certification. HVAC apprentices don’t need to hold a certification as long as “they are closely and continually supervised by a certified technician,” according to the EPA.
New Mexico HVAC License Types and Requirements
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department Construction Industries Division is responsible for issuing HVAC licenses. HVAC candidates can pursue several types of HVAC licenses, and each has different requirements and experience.
The New Mexico HVAC licensing process, including all applications, renewals, and examinations, are managed by PSI Exams. Testing sites are available in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Farmington, Las Cruces, and Roswell.
Journeyman Certificates of Competence
HVAC Technicians in New Mexico must hold a Journeyman Certificate of Competence under a licensed HVAC general contractor. Certificates are offered in five classifications for specific HVAC tasks and equipment. Candidates may qualify for multiple classifications at once if they have relevant work experience for each classification. To qualify for a certificate, candidates must submit a Journeyman Certificate Application, work experience verification for each classification, and a $75 license fee per classification.
Journeyman Gasfitter: Candidates must have 4,000 hours of hands-on experience and must pass the JG exam.
Journeyman Refrigeration: Candidates must have 4,000 hours of hands-on experience and must pass the JR exam.
Journeyman Plumber and Natural Gasfitter: Candidates must have 4,000 hours of hands-on experience and must pass the JPG exam.
Journeyman Boiler Operator (Low Pressure Only): Candidates must have 1,000 hours of hands-on experience and must pass the BO1 exam.
Journeyman Boiler Operator (High and Low Pressure): Candidates must have 1,000 hours of hands-on experience and must pass the BO2 exam.
Journeyman Certificates of Competence expire after three years. To renew certificates, journeymen must submit an application, pay a $75 fee per classification, and complete 16 hours of continuing education course work through a provider approved by the State of New Mexico Construction Industries Division.
HVAC Contractor License
New Mexico requires certified journeymen to work under the supervision of a licensed HVAC contractor. Contractor licenses are offered in four categories, which may be obtained by either an individual or a business entity, as long as at least one qualifying party has the required experience and passes the licensing exam. Candidates may qualify for multiple license classifications at once if they have relevant work experience for each classification. To apply for a contractor license, candidates must have a valid Journeyman Certificate of Competence and 8,000 hours of experience. Applicants must submit a Qualifying Party Application, work experience verification, a $30 application fee, and a $6 certificate fee for each classification.
MM-2: Natural Gasfitting
MM-3: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
MM-4: Heating, Cooling, and Process Piping
MM-98: Mechanical Contractor (covers all the MM categories above plus MM-1, Plumbing)
Applicants must pass a Qualifying Party exam as well as a business and law exam, or they may take a business and law course through an approved vendor.
Once a qualifying party has been approved, candidates must submit a Contractor License Application, a valid Qualifying Party Certificate, proof of a $10,000 surety bond, a $30 application fee, and a $6 certificate fee for each classification. Applicants must also pay a $150 license fee for each category, up to a $300 maximum.
New Mexico contractor licenses expire after three years. To renew certificates, contractors must submit an application, pay a renewal fee of $150 for each license category (up to $300 maximum), and show proof of $10,000 surety bond on file.
EPA Certification for New Mexico and Beyond
Across the U.S., including New Mexico, federal-level EPA regulations under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act require certification for technicians who maintain, service, repair, or dispose of equipment that could release refrigerants into the atmosphere. Any professional who conducts refrigerant line-pressure tests or handles or adds refrigerant to existing air-conditioning systems needs to hold the certification.
In most cases, your employer will require you to obtain the certification as part of your training program.
Type I: for servicing small appliances containing five pounds of refrigerant or less.
Type II: for servicing high-pressure units that contain five pounds or more of refrigerant (including most small commercial and residential systems).
Type III: for servicing or disposing of low-pressure appliances.
Universal: for servicing all systems and appliances covered under Types I, II, and III.
For all certifications, you must pass the EPA certification exam. It covers the following topics:
Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol
Section 608 regulations
Substitute refrigerants and oils
The Three R’s (Recover, Recycle, Reclaim)
National HVAC Certifications
Other certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers and clients. The North American Technical Excellence (NATE) certification, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) certification, and other professional certifications can add to your marketability and increase your opportunity to make more money.
How Long Does it Take to Get an HVAC License in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, HVAC Journeyman certificates require two years of experience, then an additional two years of experience to become eligible to apply for a contractor’s license.
What Business Owners Need to Know
Getting the most out of an HVAC technician, no matter where they are in their licensing journey, takes work. ServiceTitan’s cloud-based, all-in-one HVAC software gives technicians and business owners the technology they need to do the work efficiently, and the data they need to do it smartly.
SMS communications that keep customers informed about the technician’s visit.
Location-specific service history, including recorded calls, accessible from the mobile app.
Required forms that ensure every job is done right, driving consistency.
The ability to build multi-option proposals with photos, on-site, in minutes.
Sales presentations that make conversations with customers easier and drive average ticket.
Mobile payment acceptance, eliminating lost checks and increasing cash flow.
To learn more, schedule a demo with a product expert today.
How Much Does It Cost to Become an HVAC Technician in New Mexico?
How you get started will determine your upfront costs. If you start by getting some kind of college degree or certificate you’ll have tuition expenses. There are two accredited programs in New Mexico. Central New Mexico Community College is accredited by both HVAC Excellence and PAHRA. Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell is also accredited by HVAC Excellence. There are three HVAC degrees and certificates offered through Central New Mexico Community College requiring 26 to 60 credits depending on the program and the cost of tuition is $684 per semester for in-state students and $3,612 of out-of-state students. Eastern New Mexico also offers several HVAC programs ranging from an Associate of Applied Science degree that’s 60 credits to a certificate of 30 credits. The cost per semester for in-district students is only $1,128. For residents that are out-of-district the cost is $1,212 per semester and for out-of-state residents it’s $2,808. The cost to take the EPA Section 608 Certification Examination can be as low as $20 for the Type I exam and upwards of $150 for the Universal Exam, but again if you start with a program, that may be included. Apprentice programs are often paid for by your employer. The Journeyman Certificate costs $75 for the license fee per classification. The Contractor License application fee is $30 and a $6 certificate fee for each classification.
What Is the Mean Salary for an HVAC Professional in New Mexico?
The annual mean salary for HVAC mechanics and installers in New Mexico is $48,060 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That salary, as you might expect, increases as you acquire more experience, according to Indeed.com.
HVAC Installer: The average wage for an HVAC installer is $21.63 per hour in New Mexico and $6,750 overtime per year.
HVAC Technician: The average wage for an HVAC Technician is $25.26 per hour in New Mexico and $6,750 overtime per year.
HVAC Mechanic: The average wage for an HVAC Mechanic is $20.74 per hour in New Mexico.
HVAC Supervisor: The average base wage for an HVAC Supervisor is $76,298 per year in New Mexico.
Pay ranges can vary widely, depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.
New Mexico HVAC Training Programs and Trade Schools
There are two main organizations that accredit HVAC programs, schools, and apprenticeships nationwide: HVAC Excellence and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA).
HVAC Excellence’s accredited programs include:
PAHRA’s accredited programs include:
New Mexico HVAC Apprenticeship Programs
Additionally, multiple employers across the Land of Enchantment offer official apprenticeship programs. Click here for a full list of HVAC apprenticeship programs.
Does My New Mexico HVAC License Work in Any Other States?
New Mexico has reciprocal licensing agreements for Journeyman Certificates with Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Reciprocity applicants do not need to show proof of experience requirements, but they must be currently active for at least one year in the state where they tested.
Additional Resources for New Mexico HVAC Techs
You can stay up to date on all HVAC industry news several ways: