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Associate of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Heating & Gas Technology

An associate's degree program in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technology can prepare students for entry-level duties repairing, servicing, installing, testing, designing and maintaining these kinds of systems.

Essential Information

Associate's of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Heating and Gas Technology Degree programs typically combine theory with practice, allowing students to put their classroom knowledge to work in the lab and on actual systems through internships. In these programs students study heat pumps, technical mathematics, piping for contractors, duct and sheet metal fabrication and installation. Applicants must have high school diplomas or equivalent for admission into this program, which may be completed in as little as 18 months.


Associate's of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Heating and Gas Technology

Students will learn about refrigeration unit design, airflow systems and blueprint reading while developing professional and technical skills required in the profession. Courses may include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Gas technology
  • Commercial refrigeration
  • Heating
  • Gas, oil burner and electric heating
  • Air conditioning controls

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HVAC mechanics and installers are expected to see an employment growth rate of 14% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). This growth can be attributed to an increasing demand for climate control in a variety of settings, and individuals with formal training are expected to have better prospects. In May 2015, the BLS reported that these professionals earned a median annual salary of $45,110.

Continuing Education, Certification and Licensure Information

In some states, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians and installers are required to be licensed. Although the licensing requirements may vary, most applicants must pass a test to obtain licensure. Some states also require technicians to complete apprenticeships ranging from 2-5 years.

Technician who will be working with refrigerants must also be certified in their area of specialty. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorizes the certification exams through approved organizations. The certification examinations may be for servicing small appliances, high-pressure refrigerants or low-pressure refrigerants. HVAC technicians can also take certification exams throughout their learning process to demonstrate their skill level.

Organizations that offer other certification or competency exams include the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, HVAC Excellence, the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society and the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute. Technicians can typically advance their careers by taking courses to keep up with technology.

An associate's degree in refrigeration, air conditioning, heating & gas technology uses both hands-on and in-class training to teach students the knowledge and skills needed to work with climate control systems. Graduates from these programs often go on to complete internships and apprenticeships and earn licensure and certification.

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