Only four of Oregon's 54 not-for-profit schools have HVAC or HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning/refrigeration) programs; not all programs include training in refrigeration handling. Schools offer certificates as well as associate's degrees in the field. The curricula for both types of programs are often similar within the same school, though degree-seeking students must also complete general education coursework. Capstone projects, internships or apprenticeships, or other work-study opportunities may be offered by some schools.
Chemeketa Community College
Salem-based Chemeketa Community College offers construction trade associate's degree programs that focus on HVAC/R training. This program features courses in HVAC/R apprenticeship fundamentals, welding, refrigeration, troubleshooting, fuels, soldering and residential air distribution. The associate's degree program requires students to complete 22 hours of work to show proof of journey-level status and 23 credit hours of general education courses. The associate's degree program consists of 105 credit hours.
Lane Community College
HVAC certificate and associate's degree programs are offered at Lane Community College in Eugene. Training covers HVAC systems, motors, HVAC blueprint reading, trade skills fundamentals and electrical theory. Along with completing 8,000 hours of state-approved professional training, participants must have a State of Oregon Apprenticeship Training Journeyman card or complete an Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries Certificate of Completion prior to graduation. A total of 45-55 credit hours are needed to finish the certificate program. Students enrolled in the 90-credit hour associate's degree program complete general education and elective courses in addition to a series of HVAC courses.
Linn - Benton Community College
Albany-based Linn - Benton Community College has a 15-credit hour industrial refrigeration certificate program, as well as a 91-credit hour mechatronics associate's degree program that has an industrial refrigeration emphasis. The certificate program provides training in refrigeration brazing and servicing, electrical systems and refrigeration troubleshooting, heating systems, HVAC system controls and EPA technician certification. In addition to the courses in the certificate program, the associate's degree program covers ammonia plant operation, mechanical systems, general education requirements, pumps and valves, lubrication systems and industrial safety. Associate's degree program students also develop and submit a capstone project.
Portland Community College
Portland Community College in Portland has a 14-credit hour HVAC/R installer certificate program, a 44-credit hour facilities maintenance technology certificate program and a 90-credit hour facilities maintenance technology associate's degree program. All three programs train students in HVAC system repair, maintenance and control, schematic development, circuit evaluation and power distribution.
The facilities maintenance technology programs also cover water treatment and distribution, boilers, natural gas equipment, Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety training, direct digital controls and chiller systems. The facilities maintenance certificate program may include elective options in fiber optics, residential and commercial systems design, customer relations, oil furnace service and human machine interface. Students in the associate's degree program complete a cooperative work experience for professional training, along with courses in adjustable speed drives, pneumatic control and electric motor controls.
HVAC mechanics and installers must be licensed with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB). In order to register with the CCB, workers must pass a state test after completing 16 hours of business practice and law training. Training needs to be completed every two years. Workers handling refrigerants are required to become certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by passing one of the three exams, which specialize in high-pressure refrigerants, servicing small appliances or low-pressure refrigerants.
Below is a comparison table with tuition data, school type and setting, and official program titles.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||HVAC Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition|
|Chemeketa Community College||Two-year; public; midsize suburb||Construction Trades - General Apprenticeship Associate of Applied Science with a specialization in HVAC/R||$94 per credit hour for residents; $256 per credit hour for out-of-state students (costs as of summer 2016; fees included)*|
|Lane Community College||Two-year; public; fringe rural|| Certificate of Completion in Construction Trades - General Apprenticeship with a specialization in HVAC technician/installer,
Construction Trades - General Apprenticeship Associate of Applied Science with a specialization in HVAC technician/installer
|$99.50 per credit hour for OR, CA, ID, WA and NV residents; $243 per credit hour for out-of-state students (costs for 2015-2016; does not include fees)**|
|Linn - Benton Community College||Two-year; public; small city|| Certificate in Mechatronics: Industrial Refrigeration,
Associate of Applied Science in Mechatronics Technician/Industrial Automation Technology with a focus in industrial refrigeration
|$111.11 per credit hour for OR, CA, ID, WA and NV residents; $242.80 per credit hour for other out-of-state residents (costs as of summer 2016; fees included)***|
|Portland Community College||Two-year; public; large city|| Facilities Maintenance Technology - HVAC/R Certificate,
HVAC/R Installer Career Pathway Certificate,
Facilities Maintenance Technology Associate of Applied Science
|$97 per credit hour for OR, CA, ID, WA and NV residents; $226 per credit hour for other out-of-state residents (Date not listed; fees excluded)****|
Sources: *Chemeketa Community College, **Lane Community College, ***Linn - Benton Community College, ****Portland Community College.