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
|Tarrant County College District||Fort Worth, Texas||2-year, Public|| Certificate
| $1,320 In-district
|Riverside City College||Riverside, California||2-year, Public|| Certificate
| $1,426 In-state
|Austin Community College District||Austin, Texas||2-year, Public|| Certificate
| $2,550 In-district
|City College of San Francisco||San Francisco, California||2-year, Public||Certificate|| $1,598 In-state
|Mt. San Antonio College||Walnut, California||2-year, Public||Certificate|| $1,348 In-state
|El Camino Community College District||Torrance, California||2-year, Public|| Certificate
| $1,142 In-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.
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.