Portland-Area Schools for HVAC Training
Students in the Portland area have few options when it comes to HVAC/R training. This article examines two community colleges and their programs. One school is near downtown Portland, while the other is about an hour's drive from the city center. Some HVAC/R programs train students to work as technicians and make repairs, and others may focus on the installation of these systems. Included in the article is a table of information about these two schools, such as enrollment, tuition, acceptance percentages and the on-time graduate rate. Prospective students can use this data to determine which school is best for them.
- At Portland Community College, students can pursue installer or maintenance certificates or earn an associate's degree in facilities maintenance technology. This school is just eight miles from downtown Portland.
- Chemeketa Community College is in Salem, about 45 miles from Portland. It offers an HVAC/R apprenticeship in the construction trades that combines academic coursework with on-the-job training. Students in this program can pursue a certificate or an associate's degree.
Comparison of Schools
Students need to look at many factors when choosing a school for their training. The following table compiles pertinent information in a format that makes it easy to compare these two institutions.
|Portland Community College||Chemeketa Community College|
|School Type||2-year; public||Two-year; public|
|Total Enrollment (2014)||30,929*||11,101*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Midsize suburb|
|Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)||$3,766 in-state; $8,374 out-of-state*||$4,230 in-state; $11,520 out-of-state*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014)||50%*||74%*|
|Acceptance Rate||N/A - Open admissions||N/A - Open admissions|
|Retention Rate (2013-2014)||60% for full-time students; 44% for part-time students*||53% for full-time students; 42% for part-time students*|
|Graduation Rate (2011 start date)||15% (15% transfer-out rate)*||13% (26% transfer-out rate)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
Portland Community College
Students at Portland Community College can pursue several career training programs that provide HVAC/R instruction. All of the HVAC/R programs include courses in refrigeration, and students are instructed in a lecture/lab format. In order to understand the installation process, students also learn about piping, sheet metal and venting.
HVAC/R Installer Certificate
The HVAC/R installer certificate requires students to complete at least 14 credits. Courses in this program introduce students to basic HVAC/R installation techniques. This program does not offer electives and requires the fewest number of courses out of all the HVAC/R programs offered at the college.
Facilities Maintenance Technology Certificate
The facilities maintenance technology certificate consists of 44 credits and requires students to complete several courses in HVAC/R systems. Of the 44 credits, three can be used for elective courses in facilities maintenance. In addition to refrigeration courses, students receive training in boilers, water treatment and distribution, and blueprint reading. The program also features a 30-hour OSHA safety training course.
Associate of Applied Science in Facilities Maintenance Technology
The Associate of Applied Science program combines general education requirements with training in HVAC/R systems. Students must complete a minimum of 90 credits to graduate from the program. The facilities maintenance technology curriculum requires students to complete courses in pneumatic controls, direct digital control, introduction to chiller systems and natural gas equipment. Students can take 15 credits of facilities maintenance technology electives. This program also requires students to complete a cooperative work experience.
Chemeketa Community College
Chemeketa Community College offers an apprenticeship trade program that culminates in an Associate of Applied Science or a Certificate of Completion. Incoming students must be 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent. All HVAC/R apprenticeship programs require students to complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.
Certificate of Completion in Construction Trades - HVAC/R
Required general education courses for the construction trades program include algebra, English composition and psychology of human relations. The certificate requires a total of 72 credit hours. Some of the courses students can expect to take include troubleshooting, introduction to refrigeration, residential air distribution and trade math.
Associate of Applied Science in Construction Trades - HVAC/R
The Associate of Applied Science in Construction Trades - HVAC/R requires students to complete 23 credits worth of general education courses, including macroeconomics, algebra and microcomputer applications. The program includes HVAC/R courses in refrigeration, soldering and brazing, equipment and welding. Students can gain skills in wiring, environmental control systems and installing ductwork. After graduating from the program, students are eligible for Limited Energy Technician, Class B (LE/B) licensure and Brazing Industry certification.