Schools with HVAC Design Programs: How to Choose

Students who want to study HVAC design can find relevant education within associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as certificates and continuing education courses. Read on to learn more about academic options in this area.

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There are both undergraduate and graduate-level programs that include training in HVAC design. They can be found at two-year colleges and technical schools, as well as four-year universities.

10 Schools with HVAC Design Programs

These schools offer training in HVAC design:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's
Master's
$9,001 in-state undergraduate,
$20,161 out-of-state undergraduate
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh, PA 2-year, Public Associate $3,999 in-district
$7,298 in-state
$10,440 out-of-state
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Salisbury, NC 2-year, Public Associate
Undergraduate Certificate
$2,506 in-state,
$8,650 out-of-state
Sacramento City College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Associate
Undergraduate Certificate
$1,104 in-state,
$7,440 out-of-state
Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 4-year, Public Associate
Bachelor's
$10,970 in-state,
$17,562 out-of-state
Pennsylvania College of Technology Williamsport, PA 4-year, Public Associate
Bachelor's
$15,810 in-state,
$22,470 out-of-state
Delaware Technical Community College Dover, DE 2-year, Public Diploma
Associate
$3,632 in-state,
$8,522 out-of-state
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Continuing Education Course $795**
University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA 4-year, Public Graduate Certificate $3,270 (total program cost for 2016-2017)**
University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $2,000**

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School website

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School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for HVAC design schools:

  • Some undergraduate certificate and associate's degree programs for aspiring HVAC technicians include courses in HVAC design, while higher-level programs prepare students to dedicate their careers to the field. Therefore, it is important for prospective students to consider their career goals when choosing between programs.
  • Many graduate-level programs are intended for HVAC and engineering professionals who already work in the field. These full-time workers may want to look for programs that allow for online or part-time schedules that accommodate their work obligations.
  • To ensure education meets industry standards, students should check for HVAC design degree programs that are accredited by professional organizations, such as the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation or the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
  • For students with little or no previous education or experience, it's important to make sure that they meet acceptance or prerequisite requirements of a program prior to applying.

Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Undergraduate certificate programs are intended to prepare students for entry-level jobs as HVAC installers and technicians. However, a few programs include HVAC design courses within their curricula. In most cases, these programs take one year or less to complete.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs in HVAC design typically take two years to complete and can lead to degrees like an Associate in Science in HVAC Systems Design or an Associate of Applied Science in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology. Graduates of associate's degree programs are prepared to work as technicians installing and repairing HVAC equipment and designing HVAC systems.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Undergraduate programs in HVAC design can include a Bachelor of Science (BS) program in heating, ventilation & air conditioning design technology or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology program with a concentration in mechanical engineering technology. Bachelor's degree programs provide students with technical training for careers in HVAC equipment maintenance and design, as well as the business skills needed for supervisory roles.

Master's Degree Programs

Some Master of Science (MS) programs in mechanical engineering offer a concentration in HVAC that emphasizes the design of HVAC systems. Students in these programs take advanced courses in mechanical engineering and write a thesis in a particular area of interest, such as HVAC design. In total, these programs typically take two years to complete, but some are available in accelerated, five-year BS/MS formats.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Some schools provide graduate certificate programs for trained HVAC designers and engineers. These programs provide advanced coursework and prepare graduates for professional advancement in the field. Some courses may be available online.

Continuing Education Courses

Another option for experienced HVAC professionals and engineers is a standalone course in HVAC systems design. Courses are available in self-paced an online formats, making them ideal for students who work full-time. Upon completion, students are awarded continuing education units that can be applied to meet re-certification requirements or employer standards.

There are many educational options for students who are interested in HVAC design, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is important for students to consider their career goals when choosing between programs.

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