Out of the 16 public and private, not-for-profit schools in Hawaii, the two-year, public Honolulu Community College is the only school that offers HVAC programs. The college offers programs leading to a certificate and to an associate's degree. In addition to classroom instruction, students spend much of their time learning skills through hands-on training. The associate's degree takes about two years and includes general education, while the certificate does not and can be completed in less time.
Honolulu Community College
Located in Honolulu, this college offers refrigeration and air conditioning technology certificate and associate's degree programs. Students encounter courses that cover theoretical concepts and laboratory components that provide hands-on skills development. The refrigeration and air conditioning technology programs prepare students for EPA certification.
These programs are tasked with training students in the repair, design, service, installation and operation of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Coursework helps students learn to work with split system and commercial package air conditioners, commercial ice machines and liquid chillers. Both programs include the same specialized coursework. The main difference is that associate's students fulfill additional general education requirements. The certificate program requires 48 credits, while the associate's degree program requires 63 credits.
HVAC mechanics and installers who plan to handle or work with refrigerants need to earn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Refrigerant Handling Certification. To claim this designation, workers need to complete proper training and pass an EPA certification exam in a specialized field, such as working with low- or high-pressure refrigerants or servicing small appliances.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||HVAC Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Honolulu Community College||2-year; public; large city|| Certificate of Achievement in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology
|$2,910 in-state; $7,902 out-of-state*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.