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Online Building Maintenance Degree Program Information

Learn about online as well as on-campus programs for those interested in building maintenance. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

An associate's degree in building maintenance is typically not offered online due to the hands-on training required to earn it. A good alternative may be an online certificate program in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). These programs offer many of the same courses. Additionally, students may be able to transfer the credits to an on-campus associate's degree building maintenance program later on.

Most online certificate programs and campus-based degree programs require students to purchase their own tools. Some associate's degree programs also require applicants to have prior repair experience.

Some maintenance workers are required to be licensed. It is important to know that licensing requirements vary by location. Students should do their research before enrolling in any maintenance-type program to make sure it can help them get licensed if need be.

Information and Requirements

A high school diploma or GED is generally required for enrollment into an online HVAC certificate program. Students will also need their own set of maintenance tools for hands-on practice and homework assignments. The program generally takes about one year to complete.

Common Courses

HVAC certificate courses revolve around four main topics - heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. Some common courses are described below.

Basic Heating

Students learn combustion basics by repairing gas heated devices found in residential buildings.

Refrigeration

This class focuses on cooling, compression, and condensation as related to both commercial and residential refrigeration devices.

HVAC Workplace Safety

Students discuss safety as it pertains to electrical wiring, fire danger, ladder usage, and hazardous materials.


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Associate's Degree in Building Maintenance

Building maintenance workers are expected to fix a variety of problems in the workplace. As such, associate's degree programs challenge students to learn many trades in a short span of time. Depending upon the school, students may earn either an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science degree. These are not offered online because of the hands-on nature of the field. Students must gain the necessary repair experience under the supervision of a teacher.

Program Information and Requirements

A high school diploma or GED is generally required for admittance into an associate's degree program. Some programs further require students to demonstrate knowledge in repair work before beginning coursework. As is the case with online certificate programs, students are expected to have and use their own tools as needed for assignments. Students can usually complete the program in two years.

Common Courses

A building maintenance associate's degree program is designed to equip students with a wide variety of maintenance skills. They'll learn basic repairs; plumbing; carpentry; tiling; air conditioning; heating; refrigeration; and welding. Some common courses are listed below.

Basic Mechanics and Machinery

Lessons cover proper safety and application of various machineries, such as grinders, mills and gauge blocks. The course also emphasizes the correct use of mechanical tools, conveyers and other automated systems used in building construction and maintenance.

Basic Heating

The mechanics of various heating systems, including heaters and boilers, are discussed in this class. Applied mathematics help students understand how to diagnose maintenance problems in furnaces as well as repair them.

Electrical Systems

The course begins with an overview of how to use electricity safely. Students also learn to measure electrical consumption in residential and commercial areas and maintain basic electrical systems and circuits.

Plumbing

Waste and drainage systems are reviewed in this class. Students also gain hands-on experience in repairing and replacing parts on existing plumbing systems.


Career Information

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general maintenance and repair workers earned a median salary of $36,630 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Positions are expected to grow at a rate of 6%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024, reported the BLS.

Continuing Education

Certification with the International Maintenance Institute (IMI) can give building maintenance workers an advantage in their career. There are a couple of different ways to qualify for this credential. Students are advised to explore the certification requirements before beginning any educational program.

Although online degree programs in building maintenance are not typically available, students can receive related training through courses in an online HVAC certificate program. These courses include basic HVAC safety, heating and refrigeration and may often be transferred to an associate's degree in building maintenance.

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