Air Conditioning Certification and Certificate Program Information

Certificate programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration train students on how climate control and air distribution systems work. Through the course of the program students learn to diagnose and repair common maintenance issues.

Essential Information

HVACR certification coursework prepares students to maintain or diagnose HVACR units. While normally voluntary, certification is required for HVACR workers who handle refrigerants. Programs are typically available at technical schools and community colleges, as well as some 4-year institutions. Applicants usually must have a high school diploma or GED. Communication and organizational skills are honed, both of which can be useful when working with businesses and individual customers.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma

HVACR Certificate Programs

Students enrolled in HVACR certificate programs typically complete both professional and technical courses. The coursework is designed to give students confidence in diagnosing, repairing and maintaining HVACR units. Students learn a number of skills including how to safely operate air-conditioning systems and utilize energy-efficient systems. Courses may include:

  • Refrigeration
  • Electricity for HVACR
  • Residential air conditioning
  • Commercial air conditioning
  • Ductwork and piping systems
  • Gas heating

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

HVACR certificate holders primarily work as entry-level installation or repair technicians in residential, institutional or commercial environments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), predicted that job growth in the field of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration maintenance would increase 21% from 2012-2022 ( In May 2014, the BLS noted the annual median salary for those in the field was $44,630.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Certificate holders can seek immediate entry-level employment in the field, or they can pursue additional education with an associate's degree in HVACR or a related field. Most programs allow students to transfer certificate course credit into an associate's degree program. A 2-year program may include a capstone where students apply their knowledge to real-life situations.

Some states require HVACR mechanics and installers to be licensed, which typically requires that applicants pass an exam. In all cases, individuals that work with refrigerants must be certified to handle them properly. HVACR professionals can become certified to work with small refrigeration appliances, as well as low- and high-pressure refrigerants, and can earn this certification by taking an exam through an Environmental Protection Agency-approved site, such as a trade school.

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