HVAC Schools in Charlotte, NC with Program Overviews

Nov 10, 2018

The Charlotte, NC, area has at least eight schools that offer heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) programs. Learn about the programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools, all within 25 miles of downtown, and make an informed education decision.

Charlotte, NC, Schools with HVAC Programs

Many HVAC programs are available in the Charlotte, NC, area, usually at community colleges and technical schools. This article looks at three schools, none more than 25 miles from downtown Charlotte, that offer several types of HVAC programs, most with refrigeration courses as well as standard HVAC training. The article also includes a table of information that a prospective student should know, such as tuition and graduation rates at each school. This table makes it easy to compare the schools.

  • Less than two miles from the city center, Central Piedmont Community College is the closest option to downtown Charlotte. It offers certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs in HVAC technology. Students enrolled at this school have the opportunity to participate in an extracurricular HVAC club.
  • Gaston College, about 20 miles from downtown, has inexpensive tuition and a student-to-faculty ratio of 20 students for every faculty member. Certificate and diploma programs are available, some with emphasis on heat pumps or cooling technology.
  • York Technical College offers several types of certificate programs, as well as diploma and associate's degree programs. The HVAC program students can buy the required tools through partnered tool suppliers at a discounted rate. York is about 23 miles from downtown.

Comparison of Schools

Students who are looking for a school need to consider many important facts. This table offers a simple way for them to compare these three schools in several areas.

Central Piedmont Community College Gaston College York Technical College
School Type 2-year, public 2-year, public 2-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017) 19,100* 5,172* 4,538*
Campus Setting Large city Midsize suburb Small city
Tuition and Fees (2017-2018) $2,792 in-state; $8,936 out-of-state* $2,704 in-state; $8,848 out-of-state* $4,457 in-district; $4,817 in-state; $9,641 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 60%* 67%* 95%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admission N/A - Open admission N/A - Open admission
Retention Rate (Fall 2016 to Fall 2017) 55% for full-time students; 49% for part-time students* 69% for full-time students; 40% for part-time students* 54% for full-time students; 32% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (Students who started Fall 2014) 17% (30% transfer-out rate)* 30% (18% transfer-out rate)* 13% (22% transfer-out rate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Central Piedmont Community College

Along with in-class training, most HVAC programs at this school offer the option to fulfill elective course requirements through cooperative work experiences. Some courses may require students to have their own basic tools.

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Certificate

There are eight certificate specialty areas available through this school. Specialty areas include commercial system design and maintenance, air conditioning service, all-weather systems service, energy, heating service, refrigeration service and HVAC contracting. An air conditioning, heating and refrigeration control specialty area is also available, as is a specialty area in apartment/rental maintenance. These programs provide students with an overview of the HVAC industry and the skills needed for their particular area. Graduates of these certificate programs may be ready for immediate employment in light commercial or residential jobs. Students need to earn 14-18 credit hours for certificate completion.

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Diploma

Students in this 44-credit program learn the theories behind HVAC technology and the skills needed to work in the industry. Classes cover relevant instruments and tools, heating and cooling, electricity, heat pumps and safety. This program helps to qualify students for the installation, repair, service and maintenance of HVAC systems in light commercial and residential settings.

Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology

This 2-year program includes all courses found in the diploma program. Additional courses include comfort systems design, building codes, blueprint reading and hydronic heating; students are also required to complete more general education classes. Students graduating from this program can help clients select an appropriate HVAC system for their residence or business. They're also prepared for professional HVAC service and maintenance careers.

Gaston College

Credit hours earned in this school's certificate programs can transfer to the HVAC diploma program. HVAC students also participate in laboratory course components that provide hands-on training.

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology - Cooling Certificate

Students need to complete 17 credit hours to earn the cooling certificate. Courses include refrigeration basics, refrigerant certification, comfort cooling, electricity basics and HVAC servicing.

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology - Heat Pump Certification

Students need to earn 16 credit hours for this program. It covers topics like electricity and refrigeration basics, heat pump technology, refrigerant certification and HVAC controls.

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology - Heating Certificate

This program consists of four courses resulting in 14 credit hours. Students take classes in HVAC servicing and controls, heating technology and electricity basics.

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Diploma

In addition to the courses found in Gaston College's certificate programs, students in the 41-credit diploma program learn about residential building codes, HVAC duct systems, blueprint reading, industrial safety, residential system design and all-weather systems. Students can also participate in cooperative education for professional work experience.

York Technical College

Students enrolling in York Technical College's HVAC programs need to purchase their own tools. Some HVAC courses provide hands-on skill development through laboratory course components. In addition to the following diploma and certificate programs, this school also offers an associate's degree in air conditioning/refrigeration.

HVAC Installer Certificate

Required courses include codes and ordinances, electricity basics, service and tool techniques, construction print reading and sheet metal basics.

HVAC Service Technician Certificate

These courses cover heating and refrigeration fundamentals, air conditioning basics and heat pumps.

HVAC Systems Design Certificate

This program provides courses in computer environments, advanced air conditioning techniques and residential load calculations.

Diploma of Applied Science in Air Conditioning/Refrigeration Mechanics

York Technical College's diploma program includes many of the topics found in the school's HVAC certificate programs, in addition to general education classes.

Other School Options

Students can find additional training within about 35-40 miles at the following community colleges: Stanly, Rowan-Cabarrus, Mitchell, Cleveland, and South Piedmont.

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