Students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration may earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science. Most of these four-year programs are terminal degrees offered at universities, colleges and technical schools; some institutions offer the program online. Many include ventilation in the degree title, making them bachelor's degree programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R). Internships are often a requirement for the completion of these programs. Students seeking admission usually need to have a two-year associate degree in the field and meet minimum mathematics prerequisites.
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Bachelor's Degree in Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Most bachelor's degree programs in HVAC/R build upon associate-level courses in HVAC/R. Students also need to fulfill general education requirements. Typical courses discuss:
- Energy audit and analysis
- Contracting issues
- Commercial HVAC/R controls
- Heating and cooling system configurations
- Environmental impacts of HVAC/R systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Bachelor's degree programs in HVAC/R equip students with a range of industry-ready mechanical and electrical skills that can be applied anywhere there is climate-control equipment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of HVAC/R mechanics and installers will likely increase 14% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). This above-average job growth is due to an increasing demand for climate-controlled systems in commercial, industrial and residential areas. In May 2015, the BLS reported that the annual median salary for HVAC/R installers and mechanics was $45,110.
The BLS reported that some states require HVAC/R installers and mechanics to be licensed. Although requirements vary by state, most applicants must fulfill an internship or have several years of experience. Those who work with refrigerants must obtain certification through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov). Applicants must pass an exam and obtain certification for each level of refrigerant handling they desire. These certifications do not expire.
By building off previous knowledge and skills covered at the associate degree level, bachelor's degree programs in HVAC/R expand an individual's abilities to work with climate-control equipment in a number of industries. HVAC/R mechanics and installers are required to earn certification, and state licensure may be required as well.