Bachelor's degree programs in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technology prepare individuals to work as technicians who service and install residential and commercial heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) systems. Many of the courses in a HVAC-R program are technical in nature and include hands-on training. Students may have the opportunity to gain field experience during a program. Schools typically only require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission. Some schools may recommend students complete courses in algebra, trigonometry, computers, chemistry and communications.
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Bachelor's Degree in Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Overview
In a bachelor's degree program, students learn about system design, controls and the management of energy. Other education covers cost estimating, material management, quality control and job scheduling. Upon completion, students should have an understanding of legal codes and regulations, general principles of air flow and energy, technical specifications of these systems and customer relations. The curriculum also includes general education courses. Examples of technical courses are:
- Refrigeration systems, mechanical systems
- HVAC-R electricity, air conditioning systems
- Blueprint reading
- HVAC-R system controls, HVAC-R system servicing
- Heating systems, commercial systems
Popular Career Options
These programs prepare students for work on commercial or residential HVAC-R systems. Graduates may work in repair, maintenance or installation. Common job titles include:
- Project manager
- HVAC-R contractor
- System design assistant
Salary and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed a median annual salary of $45,110 for HVAC-R mechanics and installers in May 2015. The other-information-services industry paid these workers the highest wages that year, while the field's most common employers were building-equipment contractors, the BLS indicates. The BLS expects that job opportunities for HVAC-R installers and mechanics will increase by 14% from 2014 to 2024.
Continuing Education Information
According to the BLS, some states or local areas may require HVAC-R technicians to be licensed (www.bls.gov). Individuals usually must pass a skills test and meet education and experience requirements to obtain a state license. The federal government requires certification for individuals who work with or purchase refrigerants. Certification is available through industry organizations approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bachelor's programs in HVAC-R include traditional courses and hands-on training that teachers prospective HVAC-R mechanics and installers the technical and legal knowledge needed to earn certification and perform their job.