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Refrigeration Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Refrigeration technicians, sometimes referred to as HVACR technicians, install and maintain air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Community colleges, career and technical trade schools offer degree and certificate programs in refrigeration.

HVAC technicians learn to install and maintain air conditioning systems through degree and certificate programs. These programs are commonly available at public community colleges.

Schools with Refrigeration Programs

The following schools offer refrigeration programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Miami Dade College Miami, Florida 4-year, Public Apprenticeship/Certificate $2,834 In-state
$9,661 Out-of-state
Tarrant County College District Fort Worth, Texas 2-year, Public Certificate
Associate's
$1,320 In-district
$2,064 In-state
$4,920 Out-of-state
Riverside City College Riverside, California 2-year, Public Certificate
Associate's
$1,426 In-state
$7,366 Out-of-state
Austin Community College District Austin, Texas 2-year, Public Certificate
Associate's
$2,550 In-district
$9,210 In-state
$11,340 Out-of-state
City College of San Francisco San Francisco, California 2-year, Public Certificate $1,598 In-state
$7,554 Out-of-state
Mt. San Antonio College Walnut, California 2-year, Public Certificate $1,348 In-state
$7,960 Out-of-state
El Camino Community College District Torrance, California 2-year, Public Certificate
Associate's
$1,142 In-state
$5,678 Out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for refrigeration schools:

  • Prospective students may want to find out if an apprenticeship is included within the program, which can lengthen the time to completion but provide valuable real-world experience.
  • Because certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required for technicians who work with refrigerants, it can be helpful to find out what the pass rate is for graduates on the certification exam.
  • Students may want to find out about the school's facilities in order to ensure that they will get training with industry-standard refrigeration equipment.
  • Prospective students who work or have other scheduling commitments may want to look for self-paced online programs.

Certificate Programs

Undergraduate certificate programs for aspiring HVAC mechanics and installers cover the basics of heating and air conditioning systems. Students typically take courses in the mechanics underpinning both domestic and mechanical refrigeration. Many programs also include training for the EPA Certification exam, which is required for all technicians who work with refrigerants. While some programs only consist of a series of courses, others include an apprenticeship, which can last for six months to two years and provides students with valuable hands-on training experience under the supervision of an experienced journeyman.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs for HVAC technicians consist of the same basic courses as certificate programs, but they also require students to fulfill general education requirements. Some schools allow students to earn an associate's degree alongside an apprenticeship. In total, associate's degree programs take at least two years of full-time study to complete.

HVAC programs are available at the certificate and associate's degree levels. Students should consider hands-on training opportunities and school facilities when choosing between programs.

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