According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are 67 schools within Florida that have heating and air conditioning programs. Read an overview of nine of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition information and find out which school is the right one for you.
Many of the 2- and 4-year colleges in Florida award certificates and associate's degrees in heating and air conditioning. In addition to classroom study, enrollees take part in laboratory experiences that encourage practical expertise. Students might also participate in apprenticeships or internships.
Daytona State College
Daytona Beach's state college offers two options for individuals who seek careers in heating and air conditioning. The first is a Vocational Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology. The 1350-clock hour certificate program includes courses in fossil fuel heating, heat load calculations, residential and commercial air conditioning and refrigeration. Students learn about wiring, basic electricity and advanced service practice. Many of the courses include required laboratory sessions to gain hands-on experience.
The second option is a Vocational Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Mechanic. This certificate program is 1,000 clock hours and includes courses in basic electricity, A/C motors and controls, physical principles and residential and commercial refrigeration. Each course has a corresponding laboratory session. For entry into either of these programs, students must be able to climb a 12-foot ladder and lift 50 pounds.
Eastern Florida State College
In Cocoa, the Career and Technical Education Department at Brevard Community College offers a Post-Secondary Adult Vocational Certificate (PSAVC) in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology. This 32-credit hour, or 1350-clock hour, program includes cooperative work experience, study of refrigeration and air conditioning components, residential HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) troubleshooting and repair, and psychometrics calculations. Each course in this program also includes a laboratory component. Students must complete the Test of Adult Basic Education as part of this program's enrollment process.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
The Jacksonville-based Florida Coast Career Tech department of Florida State College at Jacksonville offers a Workforce Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology. As students complete this workforce certificate, they complete the requirements for two other embedded certificates: Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology I and II. Students learn about air conditioning and refrigeration theory, applied electricity and schematics, basic electricity and schematics, refrigeration controls and heating. Additionally, students can choose from a course in piping or an internship.
Indian River State College
At Fort Pierce's Indian River State College, students can explore the air conditioning and heating field through either an A.A.S. in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Systems Technology, two career training programs, an apprenticeship program or an Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Systems Technology Certificate. In the A.A.S program, students complete 37 credit hours in major courses and 12 credit hours in electives related to air conditioning, refrigeration and heating systems. The certificate program includes 25 credit hours covering many of the same major courses but without the electives or the general education courses. Major courses include refrigerant recovery and reclaiming, electricity for air conditioning, duct systems and components of refrigeration, among others. Elective options include acquiring work experience in refrigeration and air conditioning, learning about energy in building design and earning green awareness certification.
The first 750-clock hour career program includes training in the refrigeration trade and tools, atomic theory, Ohm's Law, voltage systems and installation skills. The second career training option is a 600-clock hour program that includes courses in solid-state electronics, testing and adjusting commercial systems as well as identifying and measuring indoor air quality. The apprenticeship is 8400 clock hours, including 640 clock hours in on-the-job training. In required courses, students learn about safe working conditions and pipe sizing, as well as fabrication and service for piping, tubing and fittings.
Miami Dade College
Based in Miami, students at Miami Dade College have two options for training in heating, refrigeration and air conditioning: a career certificate or an associate degree. In the Associate in Science in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Systems Technology, students learn about heating and cooling fundamentals, equipment, controls and motors, as well as methods to estimate energy loads and analyze air distribution. Graduates can apply credits towards a bachelor's degree program in HVAC or building technologies, but this degree program is primarily designed to prepare students for immediate employment.
In the career technical certificate apprenticeship program, students log over 8,000 hours of theoretical and practical experience in commercial heating and air conditioning, in addition to refrigeration. Coursework covers all the heating, ventilation and air conditioning subject areas, but on-the-job experience may differ depending on a student's sponsoring company.
Palm Beach State College
Lake Worth's Palm Beach State College offers a vocational certificate in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R). In the two-year program, students take courses in HVAC/R installation, indoor air quality, heating system troubleshooting and two courses that offer field experience. Students can choose additional field experience or courses in technical engineering or commercial HVAC/R mechanical components.
Pensacola State College
At the state college located in Pensacola, students can pursue a Career and Technical Certificate in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. They can complete this 45-credit hour certificate program in three terms. Students learn about copper, plastic and ferrous metal piping and practices, electricity and commercial airside systems. Further study includes an introduction to hydronic systems, metering devices, water treatment and troubleshooting for oil heating and electronic controls.
Santa Fe College
Gainesville-based Santa Fe College offers a Vocational Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology that requires 1350 contact hours and can be finished within one year. Students learn about electrical components and controls of HVAC systems and the principles of refrigeration.
Seminole State College of Florida
At Sanford-based Seminole State College of Florida, students can pursue a Vocational Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. The certificate includes two courses in service practices and advanced service practices. Students learn about light commercial electricity and controls, the start-up of air conditioning, refrigeration and heating equipment, wiring and troubleshooting electrical motors and light commercial air conditioning systems.
In Florida, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation oversees the Construction Industry Licensing Board, which grants licenses and certification for air conditioning contractors who complete the required competency exams. In order to qualify for exams, aspiring AC contractors must have work experience or a combination of work experience and college education. Academic requirements can vary from one to three years of credits from accredited-college courses or a 4-year construction-related degree.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Heating and Air Conditioning Degree Programs and Certificates Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Daytona State College||4-year, public; small city|| Vocational Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology,
Vocational Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Mechanic
|$3,282 in-state; $12,352 out-of state*|
|Eastern Florida State College||2-year, public; large suburb||Post-Secondary Adult Vocational Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology||$2,496 in-state: $9,739 out-of state*|
|Florida State College at Jacksonville||4-year, public; large city||Workforce Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology||$2,830 in-state: $9,944 out-of-state*|
|Indian River State College||4-year, public; large suburb|| Associate in Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Systems Technology,
Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Apprenticeship,
Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology I Certificate,
Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology II Certificate
|$2,764 in-state; $10,201 out-of-state*|
|Miami Dade College||4-year, public; large city|| Career Technical Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technologies Apprenticeship,
Associate in Science in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Systems Technology
|$2,834 in-state; $9,661 out-of-state*|
|Palm Beach State College||4-year, public; large suburb||Post-Secondary Vocational Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration||$2,444 in-state; $8,732 out-of-state*|
|Pensacola State College||4-year, public; small city||Career and Technical Certificate in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning||$2,707 in-state; $10,875 out-of-state*|
|Santa Fe College||4-year, public; midsize suburb||Vocational Certificate in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology||$2,539 in-district; $2,541 in-state: $9,189 out-of-state*|
|Seminole State College of Florida||4-year, public; small city||Vocational Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration||$3,131 in-state; $11,456 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator