Heating & Air Conditioning Technology: Adult School Programs Overview

Mar 03, 2020

There are several options for adults looking to find education in heating and air conditioning technology. Learn about some adult education programs offered by a few good schools around the country.

Schools and Programs

Heating and air conditioning technology, or HVAC (the 'V' is for ventilation), is the science of regulating indoor climate and temperature. Training for this always in-demand career can be obtained at vocational or trade schools and at community colleges. Certificate and standalone training courses are available, with both programs providing hands-on training with heating and air conditioning equipment.

Aspiring HVAC mechanics and installers must also comply with any state laws pertaining to licensure. Certification in refrigerant handling from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also necessary to work with refrigerants. Some programs prepare you for such certifications. More information about a few sample programs in HVAC is found below.

Schools At a Glance

Ivy Tech Community College

  • This school has multiple locations throughout Indiana, with the parent campus in Indianapolis.
  • A 2-year public school, it offers basic and advanced certificate programs in HVAC technology.

Polaris Career Center

  • This public school is located in Middleburg Heights, OH.
  • It only offers less-than-2-year programs, including standalone HVAC courses.

Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology

  • This school is located in Pleasant Gap, PA
  • A less-than-2-year public institution, it offers standalone courses in HVAC technology.

Columbus State Community College

  • This public 2-year school is located in Columbus, OH.
  • Some programs at this school can be found online.

Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech offers certificate programs in HVAC technology that usually take between one and three semesters. Both entry-level and advanced programs are available. The following are some of the courses in the certificate programs:

Basic Electricity Course

This course introduces students to fundamental principles related to electricity such as voltage, resistance, and amperage. Students will also receive an overview of essential safety regulations.

Refrigeration Course

Students in this course will explore the basics of refrigeration and compression systems. Course topics can include the refrigeration cycle and system components.

Heating Course

A complement to the refrigeration course, this course veers in the opposite direction and teaches students about heating systems. Students will learn about ideas such as connection diagrams, combustion testing, and heating controls.

Polaris Career Center

This school's HVAC course is ideal for students who do not have time to commit to a certificate program, or who only desire training in specific areas. Topics in this course include:

  • Introduction to construction and maintenance
  • HVAC/R safety
  • Installation procedures
  • Reading schematics
  • Airside systems

Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology

This institution offers a 7-month course that provides students with an understanding of the essentials of HVAC. Students enrolled in this course will learn about the following concepts:

  • Diagnostic techniques
  • Testing equipment
  • Maintenance
  • Principles of mechanics, electricity, and electronics

Columbus State Community College

This college offers an associate's degree in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It provides an introductory education on HVAC principles complete with business courses and general education requirements. Field experience is usually part of this degree. Additionally, a controls certificate, large commercial certificate, residential/light commercial certificate, and test and balance certificate are available, as well as a high pressure boiler license training program. Some common areas of study in these programs include:

  • Wiring and circuitry
  • Refrigeration principles
  • Heating systems
  • Piping systems
  • Boiler systems

Career Information

Career opportunities for HVAC technicians are constantly expanding as an increase in residential and commercial construction dictates a need for increased climate control applications. Special climate control needs and additional areas of specialization are found in the microcomputer industry and in the areas of food production, storage, and transportation. The rising cost of fuel is also dictating a need to revamp or replace old heating and air conditioning technology in existing structures with newer, more fuel-efficient technology. In addition to installing and repairing residential systems, technicians apply their skills at commercial buildings, factories, hospitals, and schools.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that job prospects for HVAC technicians will be excellent, especially for candidates with training from accredited technical schools. Demand is expected to increase by 13% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than average. The BLS expects HVAC mechanics to have better prospects than installers, since a decline in construction activity can lead to unemployment for installers. HVAC mechanics and installers made a median annual wage of $45,910, as of May 2018, according to the BLS. Most of them earned between $29,460and $76,230 a year.

There are multiple paths for adult education in HVAC technology, ranging from standalone courses to certificates and degree programs. Online options are available in some cases.

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