Students enrolled in a 2-year air conditioning associate's degree program gain a thorough understanding of the electrical components that go into various cooling systems. They also learn how to operate, install, and replace air conditioning pumps, pipes, ducts, thermostats, compressors, and more. Another important element included in most accredited air conditioning degree programs is information on safety regulations in the HVAC and construction industry. These programs feature several hands-on training opportunities. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
Associate's Degree in Air Conditioning Technology
Much of the courses included in an associate's degree program in air conditioning technology are practical and hands-on in nature. They allow students the chance to learn basic installation and repair methods and to apply them to real situations in a supervised setting. Common course topics include:
- Basic refrigeration theory
- Electric controls
- Air conditioning theory
- Preparatory physics
- Technical mathematics
- Commercial and residential air conditioning
Popular Career Options
There are a few career options available for graduates of an associate's degree program in air conditioning technology. Such individuals are eligible to work as independent contractors or as part of an HVAC construction and installation firm. Some possible career titles include:
- Air conditioner field technician
- Construction estimator
- Air conditioner systems designer
- Specialized repair technician
- HVAC system sales representative
- HVAC system service representative
- Refrigeration mechanic
- Facilities air conditioning technician
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Employment opportunities for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers were projected to increase 14% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for these workers was $45,110 as of May 2015.
Only some states require that air conditioning technicians seek licensure in order to gain legal work in the field. Licensure typically requires the completion of an air conditioning program or apprenticeship, work experience, and passing a qualifying exam(s). EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) refrigerant certification, needed by anyone who will be working with refrigerants, is generally included as part of the curriculum.
Students looking to enter the field of air conditioning installation and repair can consider several relevant associate degree programs that provide hands-on experience and instruction. Most states don't require air conditioning technicians to attain licensure before practicing, and employment in this field is expected to see healthy growth over the 2014-2024 decade.