HVAC Controls Schools and Certification Options: How to Choose

Students wishing to work in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) control systems can pursue a few academic and training avenues and can choose to seek professional certification. Because there are different control models, and the HVAC industry has many specialties, students should examine prospective programs to ensure the relevance to their particular field of interest.

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HVAC controls refer to circuitry and computer programs that operate and maintain a building's or home's ventilation systems. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training are common avenues for entry into a career in HVAC controls, though employers also seek college-trained professionals.

10 Schools with HVAC Controls Programs

The following schools offer HVAC controls programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Red Rocks Community College Lakewood, Colorado 2-year, Public Certificate
$3,429 In-state
$13,145 Out-of-state
Macomb Community College Warren, Michigan 2-year, Public Certificate
$3,169 In-district
$4,945 In-state
$6,641 Out-of-state
Manchester Community College Manchester, New Hampshire 2-year, Public Certificate
$6,880 In-state
$15,040 Out-of-state
Spartanburg Community College Spartanburg, South Carolina 2-year, Public Certificate
$4,192 In-district
$5,210 In-state
$8,472 Out-of-state
Houston Community College Houston, Texas 2-year, Public Certificate $1,632 In-district
$3,360 In-state
$3,756 Out-of-state
Monroe Community College Rochester, New York 2-year, Public Certificate $4,554 In-state
$8,354 Out-of-state
San Diego City College San Diego, California 2-year, Public Certificate
Johnston Community College Smithfield, North Carolina 2-year, Public Certificate
$2,401 In-state
$8,545 Out-of-state
Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio 2-year, Public Associate's $2,476 In-district
$3,604 In-state
$6,868 Out-of-state
Surry Community College Dobson, North Carolina 2-year, Public Certificate, Diploma, Associate's $2,476 In-state
$8,620 Out-of-state

Source: *NCES College Navigator

School Selection Criteria

College-trained HVAC professionals are in demand. When selecting a school, there are several factors students should consider.

  • Make sure the program offers hands-on experience and training.
  • Verify that adequate HVAC controls design and testing courses exist in the program.
  • Look for programs that offer practical training through internships.

Certificate in HVAC

Some certificate programs have established curricula, and others allow students to select elective coursework. Many certificate programs require a course or sequence in systems design that includes HVAC controls.

Associate's Degrees in HVAC Technology

Many of these programs include a sequence in controls or devote courses to both design and operations. During lab sessions, students gain experience with tools and procedures by practicing installation and repair.

HVAC Controls Certification Options

Several organizations, such as HVAC Excellence, offer entry-level, intermediate and advanced training and certifications for all facets of the occupation. Certified professionals could advance a career or earn a higher salary by demonstrating proficiency with gas, electric or hydraulic controls for residential or commercial construction.

Students wishing to work in the HVAC control systems field may pursue a certificate or associate's degree. Students can also build their credentials with certifications from accredited agencies.

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