HVAC certification programs arm students with skills that apply to the maintenance and repair of heating and cooling systems. There are many community colleges throughout Virginia that offer HVAC certificate, diploma or associate's degree programs that prepare candidates to earn their tradesman licenses. Programs in this field of study usually include classes on everything from refrigerators and electrical codes to blueprints and troubleshooting. Students receive hands-on training through laboratory experiences.
Danville Community College
Students at this community college in Danville can earn a certificate in air conditioning and refrigeration servicing. The 51-credit night program mixes seminars with hands-on training to help improve the technical skills of HVAC novices and professionals alike. The curriculum in this four-semester program covers everything from refrigerator controls and heating systems to customer relations and elementary economics.
John Tyler Community College
John Tyler Community College in Chester offers a Career Studies Certificate (CSC) in HVAC. Designed for students seeking entry-level heating and AC-related tech jobs, the program is divided into three semesters. Classes in the 19-credit sequence cover circuits and controls, the National Electrical Code and AC and DC circuits.
Lord Fairfax Community College
Middletown's Lord Fairfax Community College has a CSC program centered on HVAC-related theories and applications. Students can earn the certificate by completing 18 credits, including a two-part course on air conditioning and refrigeration. Other courses in the program address topics like electricity, circuits, controls and heating systems.
Northern Virginia Community College
At its campus in Woodbridge, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) offers a CSC in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration (HVAC-R) and Facilities Services Technology. Spanning 20-22 credits, the program includes courses on heating systems, plumbing, circuits and controls. NOVA also has an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, which runs four semesters for a total of 67 credits.
Patrick Henry Community College
Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville offers a 28-credit HVAC certificate. As a program that readies students for commercial and industrial work in the HVAC field, the curriculum covers electrical codes, system installation and troubleshooting. Additional topics range from basic electricity and heat pumps to refrigeration and gas-fired air furnaces.
Rappahannock Community College
Students that enroll at Rappahannock Community College in Glenns have the option of pursuing a CSC in Heating and Air Conditioning. With an emphasis on HVAC troubleshooting and installation, the program consists of 19 credits. Courses in the program cover hydronics and zoning, heating systems, circuits, controls and mechanical codes.
Southside Virginia Community College
Located in Alberta, Southside Virginia Community College has a diploma program for students seeking work in the HVAC industry. Spanning 69 credit hours, the program covers sales engineering and various technical aspects of air conditioners and refrigerators. Through a mixture of lecture-based sessions and laboratory experiences, students master skills like blueprint reading, drawing and estimating.
Southwest Virginia Community College
Located in Richlands, Southwest Virginia Community College has an HVAC certificate program that prepares students for entry-level jobs as maintenance technicians. The 49-credit program includes two-part courses on air conditioning and refrigeration as well as circuits and controls. Other topics covered in this three-semester program include basic electricity, heat pumps and blueprint reading.
Virginia Western Community College
Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) in Roanoke allows part-time students to gain HVAC skills through its Air Conditioning and Refrigeration CSC program. Electricity, welding and heating systems are among the topics covered in this 24-credit program, along with an advanced course in troubleshooting. VWCC recommends a two-year scheduling of this program with courses paired each spring and fall.
Wytheville Community College
Based in Wytheville, this community college offers an HVAC diploma. The 54-credit program includes courses in mechanical codes, refrigeration, cooling safety and control systems. Completion of the two-year program qualifies students for entry-level work in both the trade and tech sides of the HVAC field. A 24-credit HVAC certificate program is also available.
HVAC technicians must be licensed tradesmen to work in Virginia. According to Virginia's Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, those interested in acquiring a tradesman license must complete a relevant education program and accumulate the required amount of experience, which varies depending on whether they want to pursue licensure as journeymen or master tradesmen. They must also pass a competency exam and complete an application that's reviewed by Virginia's Board of Contractors. Below is a list and comparison table of the ten largest public colleges that offer such programs in the state of Virginia.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||HVAC Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Danville Community College||Two-year, public; distant town||Certificate in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing||$4,365 (in-state),
|John Tyler Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||CSC in Heating and Air Conditioning||$4,345 (in-state),
|Lord Fairfax Community College||Two-year, public; rural fringe||CSC in HVAC||$4,424 (in-state),
|Northern Virginia Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||CSC in HVAC-R and Facilities Services Technology,
AAS in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
|Patrick Henry Community College||Two-year, public; rural fringe||CSC in HVAC||$4,360 (in-state),
|Rappahannock Community College||Two-year, public; rural distant||CSC in Heating and Air Conditioning||$4,460 (in-state),
|Southside Virginia Community College||Two-year, public; rural distant||Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration||$4,350 (in-state),
|Southwest Virginia Community College||Two-year, public; rural fringe||Certificate in HVAC||$4,335 (in-state),
|Virginia Western Community College||Two-year, public; small city||CSC in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration||$4,713 (in-state),
|Wytheville Community College||Two-year, public; distant town||CSC in HVAC,
Diploma in HVAC Construction Technology
Source: *NCES College Navigator.