HVAC Engineering Courses and Degree Program Overviews

While degree programs in HVAC engineering are rare, HVAC engineering courses are offered through some mechanical engineering (ME) bachelor's degree programs as well as through continuing education and certificate programs.

Essential Information

Degree training typically covers HVAC design with an emphasis on safety, efficiency and teamwork with project managers. Non-degree programs usually require completion of 4-5 courses that cover theory and principles of HVAC engineering. Optional certifications are available to HVAC professionals, as are graduate-level ME programs. Common prerequisites for HVAC engineering courses are high school diploma with college prep courses and coursework in math, science, and engineering.

Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering bachelor's degree programs include broad academic coursework in addition to the core HVAC subjects they share in common with non-degree programs. Program curricula typically include thermodynamics, heating technologies, and refrigeration cycles along with the following subjects:

  • Psychrometric analysis
  • Electrical load computation
  • Energy calculations
  • Air flow and balancing
  • Air handling equipment
  • Pumps and piping systems

Popular Career Options

Programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) have increased the emphasis on energy efficiency and occupant safety when designing buildings. HVAC engineers play key roles in designing systems that support this emphasis. Possible careers include the following:

  • Mechanical engineer
  • Environmental solutions engineer
  • Test and balance engineer
  • Design engineer

Continuing Education Information

Interested candidates may seek professional certification as a High-Performance Building Design Professional, offered by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Applicants for initial certification must pass an examination. Certification credentials need to be renewed every three years; this process requires applicants to prove that they have earned a certain number of continuing education credits.

Students may continue their formal education by pursuing an advanced degree, such as the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME).

Students interested in HVAC engineering could pursue non-degree programs or a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. After completing a program, students can pursue professional certification through the ASHRAE to advance their career.

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