Students should consider the level and format of online air conditioning programs before enrolling. This article helps acquaint prospective air conditioning professionals with the types of programs available to them, and what they can expect to learn in each.
How to Select an Online Air Conditioning School
Air conditioning education programs are available for those who wish to install, repair or design systems. Coursework in this field is taught through HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) certificate and degree programs. There are also some programs that add refrigeration to the certification (HVACR). While fully online degrees and certificate programs are offered by a few institutions, they are more commonly found as hybrid or traditional on-campus programs.
Career Direction and Program Level
Most HVAC programs are available at the undergraduate levels, with the two primary program types being certificates and bachelor's degrees; associate's degree programs in this field are not commonly available online. HVAC technician is the most common online certificate program. It is an entry-level program that prepares students to install and repair heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Bachelor's degree programs are typically designed for prospective HVAC engineers and teach students how to design and retrofit entire HVAC systems, including controls and environmental performance factors.
Program Type and Format
While fully online HVAC education programs are not common, some options do exist for individuals looking to learn over the Internet. Hybrid programs are also available, which allow students to complete some classes online, but also require some hands-on training either on campus or at a designated location. HVAC certificate programs are typically available as fully online programs, while the degree programs often have in-person requirements. Both online and hybrid programs use a mix of streamed video for lectures, voice or video conferencing, forums and message boards, email, online testing and grading and textbooks.
Online Program Options for Air Conditioning
Online HVAC Technician Certificate
They provide students with the knowledge and experience they need to pass national certification examinations, such as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) examinations. Online students learn through viewing lectures and watching demonstration videos, as well as completing necessary textbook work and assignments. Common course topics include:
- Nature of electricity
- Electrical systems
- HVAC design and installation
- Refrigeration systems
Online Bachelor of Science in HVACR Engineering Technology
An online bachelor's degree in HVAC is most commonly available as a hybrid program with flexible internship options. Online students take the majority of their classes over the Internet, but may need to attend campus for laboratory sessions. Some schools space these out throughout the year, while other schools lump together as one 5-day summer session. Commonly offered courses in this online bachelor's degree program include:
- Control theory and application
- Primary HVAC equipment selection
- Load analysis and energy modeling
- Energy audits
- Commercial HVAC system design
Schools with Online Programs in Air Conditioning
Through Ferris State University, students can gain a bachelor's degree in HVACR technology. This fully online degree is a two-year completion program designed for students who have obtained an associate's degree in HVACR technology. Other prerequisites include a course in general scientific knowledge and college intermediate algebra and trigonometry.
A diploma option in HVACR is available online through Penn Foster Career School. The program prepares students for HVAC online certification, but since requirements vary by state, certification options for your state should be researched prior to enrollment.
Online degree and certificate programs in HVACR are not particularly common, but a few exist. Before starting, it is important to check whether an online program will meet state requirements for your desired career.