Schools in Arkansas offer HVAC training at the certificate and associate's degree levels. Some programs include specializations within the field, such as refrigeration handling, while others do not. All programs include hands-on training, and many include the option of a work-study opportunity, internship, or apprenticeship. Curricula in associate's degree and certificate programs within the same school are often identical, with degree-seeking students also completing general education coursework.
Arkansas Northeastern College
Located in Blytheville, Arkansas Northeastern College has a certificate and associate degree in air conditioning and refrigeration. The 1-year certificate program includes courses in air conditioning, tubing and piping, HVAC electricity, schematics, gas and electric heat, electrical components and residential systems. The associate degree program includes general education requirements and the same air conditioning and refrigeration courses as the certificate program. Students in both programs are prepared for EPA certification.
Arkansas State University - Beebe
The Beebe campus offers an air conditioning certificate. Students in the Technical Certificate in Air Conditioning program are required to complete 34 credits. Courses in this program include electrical motors, gas heating systems, air distribution, air conditioning components, refrigeration systems and general electronics.
Arkansas State University - Newport
Students at this Newport-based school can receive HVAC training through the energy control technology certificate program. The 10-month program prepares students for employment as HVAC service technicians. Students take courses in electrical circuits, split systems, air conditioning systems and heat pump systems. The program also prepares students for EPA certification. The school also offers a 2-year program leading to an Associate of Applied Science in Energy Control Technology.
Arkansas Tech University
Arkansas Tech University is located in Russellville and offers HVAC training through certificate and associate degree programs. Students in both air conditioning/refrigeration programs take courses in tubing and piping, compression and refrigeration, heat gain and loss, electronic components, residential systems and air conditioning service. An internship is required in both programs as well.
North Arkansas College
North Arkansas College is located in Harrison and features an HVAC certificate program that can be completed in two semesters. Students take courses in heating fundamentals, HVAC control wiring, air distribution, Arkansas mechanical codes and load calculation. The program includes an internship and an EPA certification course.
Pulaski Technical College
Pulaski Technical College is based in North Little Rock, and students at the school can pursue a heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration certificate. The program ensures students have an understanding of air conditioning and refrigeration principles, tubing and piping, sheet metal, heating, residential HVAC and electrical circuits.
Southeast Arkansas College
Located in Pine Bluff, Southeast Arkansas College has an air conditioning and refrigeration technology certificate program. Graduates of the program can pursue the entry-level HVAC Refrigeration Technician certification through the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. Entry-level employment is available in the maintenance and construction industries.
University of Arkansas Community College - Batesville
Students enrolled at this school's Batesville campus can pursue an HVAC technology certificate. The program is 17 credits and features courses in HVAC fundamentals, sheet metal, schematic reading and load calculation.
University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton
This school's Morrilton campus offers a certificate and associate degree program in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology. The certificate program is 27 credits and includes core courses in refrigeration systems, schematics, piping, heating technology and electricity. In the 60-credit associate degree program, students also learn about commercial refrigeration, digital systems, computer-aided drafting and motors.
To become licensed HVAC contractors in Arkansas, applicants need to be at least 18 years old, have at least two years of HVAC contracting experience and pass an approved licensing examination. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, the International Code Council (ICC) oversees the HVAC licensing examination in the state.
In addition to state regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that individuals obtain certification if they are going to work with refrigerants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that HVAC technicians are increasingly obtaining postsecondary education, rather than solely learning on the job.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||HVAC Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Arkansas Northeastern College||2-year, public; rural fringe|| Technical Certificate in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration,
Associate of Applied Science in General Technology - Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Option
| $2,150 in-district*
|Arkansas State University - Beebe||2-year, public; fringe town||Technical Certificate in Air Conditioning|| $3,480 in-state*
|Arkansas State University - Newport||2-year, public; distant rural|| Technical Certificate in Energy Control Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Energy Control Technology
| $2,616 in-state*
|Arkansas Tech University||4-year, public; remote town|| Technical Certificate in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration,
Associate of Applied Science in General Technology - Air Conditioning/Refrigeration
| $6,192 in-state*
|North Arkansas College||2-year, public; remote town||HVAC Certificate|| $2,040 in-district*
|Pulaski Technical College||2-year, public; small city||Technical Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration|| $4,332 in-state*
|Southeast Arkansas College||2-year, public; small city||Certificate in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology|| $3,070 in-state*
|University of Arkansas Community College - Batesville||2-year, public; remote town||Certificate of Proficiency in HVAC Technology|| $2,262 in-district*
|University of Arkansas Community College - Morrilton||2-year, public; distant town|| Technical Certificate in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Repair Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Repair Technology
| $2,852 in-district*
Source: *NCES College Navigator.