HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) programs in the state are available at the certificate and associate's degree level and consist of academic coursework and hands-on training. Associate's degrees usually take about two years to earn and include general education classes; certificate programs are often very similar but lack in general education coursework and may be completed in as little as one semester, at the most basic level. Some schools offer internship opportunities in addition to lab training.
College of DuPage
The College of DuPage is located in Glen Ellyn and offers several HVAC programs at the certificate and associate degree level. Students can pursue certificates in stationary operator, service technician and energy audit and analysis. There are three HVAC associate degrees offered at the College of DuPage and each feature heating, air conditioning and refrigeration coursework.
The service technician associate degree is 64-66 credits and designed for students who want to pursue employment or a bachelor's degree. The contractor associate degree is 66 credits and prepares students to own or manage an HVAC company. Students enrolled in the 65-69-credit building environment associate degree gain both technical and managerial skills.
College of Lake County
The College of Lake County is based in Grayslake, and students can receive HVAC education and training in seven different certificate programs. The certificates include HVAC/R Installation Technician, HVAC/R Service Technician, Commercial Refrigeration Technician, Electrical Troubleshooting Technician, Residential Air Conditioning Technician, Residential Energy Auditing and Residential Heating Technician.
The industrial refrigeration Associate in Applied Science includes courses in refrigeration small appliances, refrigeration commercial appliances, HVAC codes and direct digital controls, EPA certification preparation, air movement and ventilation and sheet metal fabrication.
Elgin Community College
Located in Elgin, students at Elgin Community College can pursue HVAC-R certificates and an associate degree. Students can pursue three levels of HVAC-R certificates. The level I certificate is 13.5 credits, while level II certificate is 15 credits. Students who want to earn a level III certificate must complete 37.5 credits. A 34-35-credit sheet metal certificate is also offered and features HVAC training.
The HVAC-R associate degree is 67.5 credits, and students take courses in air conditioning and refrigeration, basic heating, commercial air conditioning, heating hydronics and commercial refrigeration. Graduates of the program are prepared to take the ARI/GAMA National Light Commercial or Commercial Competency Exam.
Harper College is located in Palatine and offers HVAC professional certifications, certificates and an associate degree. Professional certifications are available in high- and low-pressure refrigerant handling, servicing small appliances and universal certification. Students at the college can earn HVAC certificates in domestic refrigeration and heating, heating services, refrigeration service, refrigeration and air conditioning service and residential comfort systems.
The HVAC technology associate degree can be completed in four semesters. Courses in the program cover topics in refrigeration fundamentals and systems, air conditioning and heating principles, refrigeration systems design, heating and cooling controls and residential comfort systems.
Illinois Central College
Illinois Central College is based in East Peoria and has HVAC certificate and an associate's degree programs. The certificate programs include Commercial Refrigeration Technician, HVAC Residential Installer, HVAC Technician and Solar Thermal Heating Certificate. Students in the associate degree are required to complete 67 credits. The program consists of general education requirements, technical courses and two internships.
Joliet Junior College
Joliet Junior College is located in Joliet, and students at the school can pursue a certificate of achievement or associate degree in HVAC. The certificate is 36 credits, and the associate degree is 64 credits. Both programs feature courses in blueprint reading, wiring and circuit design, electrical controls, air conditioning principles, heat loss/gain calculations and refrigeration service principles.
Moraine Valley Community College
Based in Palos Hills, Moraine Valley Community College offers a 33-credit heating and air conditioning certificate. The program can be completed in two semesters and includes coursework in air conditioning theory, basic service procedures, installation and service and heating. Students are also required to participate in an internship.
Oakton Community College
Oakton Community College is based in Des Plaines and offers an air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology associate degree. The program is 60 credits and includes courses in air conditioning, commercial refrigeration systems, energy management, applied physics and automatic controls. Students are also required to complete an EPA Certification course. Four certificate programs are also available.
Southwestern Illinois College
Located in Belleville, students at Southwestern Illinois College can pursue a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration certificate or associate degree. Courses in both programs cover topics in heating fundamentals, commercial refrigeration, load calculations, advanced electrical controls and commercial cooking equipment.
Triton College is based in River Grove and offers HVAC training within the facilities engineering technology certificate and associate degree. The certificate is 33 credits and can be completed in two semesters. Students in the facilities engineering technology associate degree must complete 66 credits. These programs ensure students have an understanding of indoor air quality, commercial heating and cooling, commercial heating and cooling systems and energy conservation.
The state of Illinois does not require that HVAC professionals earn licensure; however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that HVAC professionals obtain certification to work with refrigerants.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||HVAC Programs||Tuition Fees (2018-2019)|
|College of DuPage||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate in Energy Audit and Analysis,
Service Technician Certificate,
Stationary Operator Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in HVACR- Service Technician,
Associate of Applied Science in HVACR - Contractor,
Associate of Applied Science in HVAC - Facility Maintenance Mechanic
| $4,080 in-district,
|College of Lake County||2-year, public; large suburb|| Seven HVAC/R-related Certificates,
Associate of Applied Science in HVAC/R Engineering Technology in
| $3,948 in-district,
|Elgin Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| HVAC-R Certificate - Level I, II, III and Sheet Metal Mechanics,
Associate of Applied Science in HVAC-R
| $3,179 in-district,
|Harper College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Five Certificates in HVAC-related areas,
Associate of Applied Science in HVAC Technology
| $3,684 in-district,
|Illinois Central College||2-year, public; large suburb|| HVAC Certificates,
Associate of Applied Science in HVAC-R Technology
| $4,500 in-district,
|Joliet Junior College||2-year, public; large suburb|| HVAC Certificate of Achievement,
Associate of Applied Science in HVAC
| $4,380 in-district,
|Moraine Valley Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Heating and Air Conditioning Certificate|| $4,356 in-district,
|Oakton Community College||2-year, public; small city|| Four Certificates in HVAC-related Areas,
Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
| $3,985 in-district,
|Southwest Illinois College||2-year, public; large suburb|| HVAC-R Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in HVAC-R
| $3,660 in-district,
|Triton College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Facilities Engineering Technology Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Facilities Engineering Technology
| $4,170 in-district,
Sources: *NCES College Navigator.