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North Carolina HVAC School Overviews with Degree Program Info

Jul 29, 2019

There are 36 schools in North Carolina that offer programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and refrigeration. Read an overview of 10 of the largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

Individuals in North Carolia have a wide range of schools from which they may choose to earn an award in heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and refrigeration. Programs offered lead to certificates, diplomas, and associate's degrees in the field. Programs are titled for the skill set they provide, such as strictly HVAC or including refrigeration. Some of the following programs are available on an alternative schedule, such as evening or weekend classes, but all focus on the development of hands-on skills with safety in mind.


Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

Students at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College have educational options in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology that lead to a diploma or a certificate. In the diploma program, students can choose from daytime or evening options. These students learn about HVAC controls, electrical drawings, residential building codes, soldering and brazing. Students also take a course in preparation for EPA certification examinations. The diploma program can be completed in two semesters of full-time study or six semesters of part-time study. In the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Basic Certificate program, students learn about refrigeration, electricity, HVAC maintenance and heating technology. They also prepare for the EPA certification exam.

For those who have finished the basic certificate, the school also offers an intermediate certificate in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology, which includes courses in HVAC controls, comfort cooling, heat pump technology and residential system design. Students prepare for and take EPA certification exams during the program.

Cape Fear Community College

Wilmington's Cape Fear Community College offers a diploma program and a certificate program in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology. The diploma program can be completed in three semesters and requires courses in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) controls; servicing; and duct systems. Students learn to design residential heating and cooling systems and work with refrigeration and heat pump technology. The certificate program, which is available in the evenings, requires completion of three courses - introduction to refrigeration, HVACR electricity and heat pump technology.

Central Piedmont Community College

Students at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte can choose from an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology, a diploma program and certificates in seven specializations. The A.A.S. program takes four semesters to complete and covers building code requirements, systems sizing and comfort systems. The diploma program can be finished in three semesters and includes courses in heating pumps, refrigeration systems and blueprint reading.

The certificate programs are designed for students who want to begin working in entry-level positions as soon as possible. Specialization options within the certificate program include heating, air conditioning, all weather systems and refrigeration service.

Fayetteville Technical Community College

At Fayetteville Technical Community College, which is found in Fayetteville, students can choose from a certificate, diploma or associate degree in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration. The certificate program can be completed in four semesters and includes one course each semester. Students learn about refrigeration, heating technology, heat pump technology and comfort cooling.

Courses in the diploma program are available on evenings and weekends. This program can be completed in six semesters, including two summers. Students in this 38-credit diploma program take courses in HVACR electricity, HVAC controls, heating technology and heat pump technology. Students also take a course to prepare for EPA refrigerant certification. The associate program includes the same HVAC courses that are found in the diploma program, in addition to general education courses and training in welding and HVACR building codes. Students in the associate program also may have the option for cooperative education experience.

Forsyth Technical Community College

Students at Winston Salem's Forsyth Technical Community College can choose from a certificate or diploma in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology. Students can complete the daytime diploma program in three semesters or the evening program in two semesters. Courses cover basic welding, residential building codes, HVACR electricity, comfort cooling and residential system design. Students also complete a cooperative education experience and prepare for EPA refrigerant certification exams. The certificate program only includes five courses totaling 16 credit hours, and it can be finished in two semesters.

Gaston College

The Division of Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology at Dallas-based Gaston College offers a diploma program in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology as well as three certificate options. Students in the diploma program complete a cooperative education experience and take courses in refrigeration, HVAC servicing, heat pump technology and refrigerant certification. The certificate program features specializations in heating, heat pump certification and cooling. Each certificate has specific requirements, but all options include an introductory course in electricity. The certificate programs require from 14-17 credits of coursework and can count towards the diploma program, should students elect to continue their education.

Guilford Technical Community College

Guilford Technical Community College's campus in Greensboro offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration and a diploma program in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration. The daytime associate program can be completed in two years, while the evening option typically takes three years to finish. Courses in the degree program include residential building codes, EPA refrigerant certification, comfort systems, residential or commercial building design and refrigeration design.

The 45-credit hour diploma program can be completed in five semesters and includes courses in heating technology, comfort cooling, motors/controls and refrigerant certification.

Pitt Community College

Students in Winterville can pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology at this college. The degree program covers blueprint reading, heating technology, refrigerant certification and HVAC duct systems. Students also take courses in customer relations, hydronic heating, welding and building codes. A diploma program is also available.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

Salisbury's Rowan-Cabarrus Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology; a Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology; and a variety of certificates. The associate program can be completed in two years, which includes two summer semesters. Courses include HVACR electricity, heat pump technology, refrigerant certification and small business management. The diploma requires 42 credit hours in courses like HVACR electricity, duct systems, comfort cooling, residential system design and commercial building codes. Both programs include a course in refrigerant certification. The certificate program features options in AHR Basic, comfort cooling, AHR Commercial and AHR Refrigeration. These programs can be completed in one semester and require between 13 and 16 credit hours, depending on the specialization.

Wake Technical Community College

At Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology; a Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology; or one of three certificates. The purpose of the associate degree program is to provide students with basic instruction in the maintenance, installation and repair of HVAC systems. Courses explore HVAC system design, customer relations, comfort controls and energy management. The 40-credit diploma program trains students to service a wide range of HVAC units and systems. The certificate programs feature options in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration; commercial systems; and designing residential systems.

Career Requirements

In North Carolina, the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors oversees licensure of heating professionals and issues two classes of licenses within three groups. Class I licenses cover systems in commercial and industrial buildings, while class II licenses cover single and detached residencies. Professionals must pass an exam and meet the experience requirements to qualify for licensure. Academic or technical training can sometimes count towards half of the experience requirements.

Below are short overviews of North Carolina's 10 largest schools offering HVAC programs, as well as a comparison table showing individual school offerings and tuition info at a glance.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting HVAC Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College 2-year public; small city Certificate in Basic Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Certificate in Intermediate Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$2,632 in-state; $8,776 out-of-state*
Cape Fear Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Certificate in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$2,748 in-state; $8,892 out-of-state*
Central Piedmont Community College 2-year, public; large city Certificate in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration with eight specializations,
Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration,
Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration
$2,792 in-district; $2,795 in-state; $8,936 out-of-state*
Fayetteville Technical Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Basic Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Certificate,
Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$2,544 in-state; $8,688 out-of-state*
Forsyth Technical Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Certificate in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$2,199 in-state; $7,215 out-of-state*
Gaston College 2-year, public; fringe rural Certificate in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology - Cooling,
Certificate in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology - Heat Pump Certification,
Certificate in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology - Heating,
Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$2,704 in-state; $8,848 out-of-state*
Guilford Technical Community College 2-year public; distant town Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$2,319 in-state; $7,695 out-of-state*
Pitt Community College 2-year, public; fringe rural Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$1,930 in-state; $6,538 out-of-state*
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College 2-year, public; fringe rural AHR Certificate in four specialties,
Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$2,626 in-state; $8,770 out-of-state*
Wake Technical Community College 2-year, public; fringe rural Commercial Certificate,
Design Certificate,
Certificate in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Diploma in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
$2,768 in-state; $8,912 out-of-state*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.

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