Massachusetts has 5 public and private, not-for-profit technical institutes and community colleges offering programs for aspiring air conditioning (AC) professionals. Studies combine lectures and lab components. Topics covered include electricity and electrical codes, refrigeration and heating principles, safety basics, duct systems and industry computer applications. Students can earn undergraduate certificates, diplomas, or associate's degrees.
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston offers a certificate program in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R). The 28-credit program is offered in the day and evening and takes 800 hours to complete. The program includes 2,000 hours of practical training and 150 hours of electrical code training; students are prepared to take the Refrigeration Technician Exam and to gain EPA certification. Students complete the program in the school's HVAC&R laboratory that's equipped with a wide range of equipment and tools.
Massasoit Community College
Massasoit Community College houses the school's 2 heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) programs at its Canton campus, one of 3 campuses in the state. The certificate program consists of 7 classes over 4 semesters. Classes cover topics such as electricity, HVAC equipment, heating, and refrigeration.
The HVAC technology associate's program includes general education courses, such as English and math. A concentration option in building systems energy management is also available. Courses are taught in lecture and laboratory formats and teach engineering design and HVAC-related computer applications. Students also take classes in HVAC systems, duct systems, hydronics, refrigeration principles, and electrical codes.
Quinsigamond Community College
Students can enroll in an HVAC certificate program at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. Admission into the program requires a high school diploma or GED. The program takes 2 semesters to complete. Classes cover refrigeration, heat theory, electricity, and microcomputer applications.
Southeastern Technical Institute
Southeastern Technical Institute in South Easton accepts 12 students annually into its HVAC diploma program. The program is offered in the evening and prepares students for the state's oil burner certification exam. The 2-semester curriculum includes classes such as HVAC math, heating fundamentals, hydronic heating systems, duct systems, safety preparation, EPA regulations, and cooling basics. Graduates may be able to move on to an HVAC Engineering program at Massasoit Community College.
Springfield Technical Community College
The HVAC certificate program at this Springfield-based school teaches oil burner basics and how to service, install and troubleshoot AC systems. Students in this program can train for the EPA's AC technician certification exam. Graduates earn a Certificate of Completion.
This field is regulated at the national and state levels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created 4 types of certification for AC technicians, which are dependent on the duties being performed. Earning Type I certification allows individuals to service small appliances, while Type II allows AC technicians to work with certain high- or very high-pressure appliances. Those with Type III certification can work with low-pressure appliances, and Universal certification qualifies AC techs to work with all of the appliances. To acquire the certification, individuals must pass an EPA-approved exam administered by an EPA-approved organization.
At the state level, individuals who perform job duties where they work with refrigeration that's more than 10 tons must obtain a refrigeration technician license. Licensure requirements include having a high school diploma or its equivalent, showing proof of EPA certification, and meeting education and practical experience requirements, which include completing a refrigeration course and practical experience. After meeting these requirements, applicants are qualified for the written exam.
Additionally, the state mandates that professionals who work with oil burners obtain an oil burner technician certification. A written and/or oral exam is required to obtain this credential.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Air Conditioning Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology||4-year, primarily associate's; private not-for-profit; large city||HVAC&R Certificate||$16,950*|
|Massasoit Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| College-Approved Certificate of Completion in HVAC Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in HVAC Technology
|$4,488 in-state, $9,432 out-of-state*|
|Quinsigamond Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||HVAC Certificate||$5,302 in-state, $10,246 out-of-state*|
|Southeastern Technical Institute||Less-than 2-year, public; rural fringe||HVAC Diploma||$7,875 in-district, $11,875 out-of-district**|
|Springfield Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Certificate of Completion in HVAC||$5,436 in-state, $11,946 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator, **Southeastern Technical Institute