Associate's in HVAC & Refrigeration Technology: Degree Overview

Associate's degree programs in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technology degree program are designed for mechanically-inclined individuals interested in learning about the implementation, care and use of these systems.

Essential Information

Through instructional and technical courses, HVAC and refrigeration programs teach students how to perform the essential job duties of a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technician effectively and safely. The curriculum usually includes hands-on work experience and some classroom instruction.

Associate's Degree in Heating Air Conditioning Refrigeration Technology

Program participants are taught how to work with systems in residential and commercial applications. Students discover how to repair and maintain systems using the proper tools and equipment and design new systems for installation. They are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the concepts and foundation material in addition to being able to perform the skills learned in the program. Coursework for this degree program may cover topics such as:

  • Refrigeration fundamentals
  • Electricity applications
  • Air conditioning systems technology
  • Air distribution theories
  • Heating systems technology
  • Blue print reading

Popular Career Options

Graduates with an associate's degree in this field are generally highly skilled professionals with career opportunities in sales, distribution, design, service and construction.

Generally, after six months to two years of work experience, individuals are considered to be knowledgeable and competent enough to take on upper-level positions. Common job titles for graduates include installation specialist, maintenance technician, repair specialist, and system designer.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), HVAC installers and repairers are expected to experience faster-than-average employment growth between 2014 and 2024, with an expected increase of 14%. These workers earned an average salary of $46,880, as of May 2015, per the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

According to the BLS, some states or local areas may require licensing for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians. Typically, licensing involves passing an exam that may test knowledge, skills and abilities.

All areas require certification for those working with refrigerants. Certification is available at three levels for work on small appliances, high pressure systems and low pressure systems. This certification is administered through institutions approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Additional certification is common in this industry, according to the BLS. Individuals may certify in specific areas of skill or in specific types of work situations.

Students who earn an associates in HVAC and refrigeration technology will learn more about HVAC installation and repair through courses such as blue print reading and electricity applications. Students should be aware of their states requirements because some states may require a license.

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