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Online Air Conditioning Schools: How to Choose

Air conditioning education programs are available for those who wish to install, repair or design systems. Coursework in this field is taught through HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) certificate and degree programs. There are also some programs that add refrigeration to the certification (HVACR). While fully online degrees and certificate programs are offered by a few institutions, they are more commonly found as hybrid or traditional on-campus programs.

How to Choose an Online School for Air Conditioning

Online HVAC certificate programs are offered by a number of community colleges and trade schools. Bachelor's degree programs in HVAC engineering are available at various colleges, and a few of these schools offer distance-learning options.

Considerations

  • Career direction and program level
  • Program type and format

Career Direction and Program Level

Most HVAC programs are available at the undergraduate levels, with the two primary program types being certificates and bachelor's degrees; associate's degree programs in this field are not commonly available online. HVAC technician is the most common online certificate program. It is an entry-level program that prepares students to install and repair heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Bachelor's degree programs are typically designed for prospective HVAC engineers and teach students how to design and retrofit entire HVAC systems, including controls and environmental performance factors.

Program Type and Format

While fully online HVAC education programs are not common, some options do exist for individuals looking to learn over the Internet. Hybrid programs are also available, which allow students to complete some classes online, but also require some hands-on training either on-campus or at a designated location. HVAC certificate programs are typically available as fully online programs, while the degree programs often have in-person requirements. Both online and hybrid programs use a mix of streamed video for lectures, voice or video conferencing, forums and message boards, e-mail, online testing and grading and textbooks.

Online Program Options for Air Conditioning

Online HVAC Technician Certificate

They provide students with the knowledge and experience they need to pass national certification examinations, such as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) examinations. Online students learn through viewing lectures and watching demonstration videos, as well as completing necessary textbook work and assignments. Common course topics include:

  • Digital controls
  • Duct loads
  • Air circulation
  • Control methods
  • Equipment selection

Online Bachelor of Science in HVACR Engineering Technology

An online bachelor's degree in HVAC is most commonly available as a hybrid program with flexible internship options. Online students take the majority of their classes over the Internet, but may need to attend campus for laboratory sessions; some schools space these out throughout the year, other schools lump together as one 5-day summer session. Commonly offered courses in this online bachelor's degree program include:

  • Control theory and application
  • Secondary system design
  • Load calculations
  • Energy audits
  • Commercial HVAC system design

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