Students enrolled in Associate of Applied Science in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R), whether through a technical school or a community college, learn how to maintain a variety of units ranging from basic consumer refrigerators to commercial freezers, icemakers and even dishwashers. Many courses in a 2-year HVAC-R degree program are taught in actual shop conditions where students can learn first-hand how heating and refrigeration systems operate. Graduates are prepared for work as refrigeration and air conditioning technicians.
Associate's Degree in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Most community colleges, junior colleges and trade schools offering an associate's degree program in refrigeration technology require that applicants have earned a high school diploma. High school courses in shop and technology are also helpful prerequisites for students interested in such a program. Much of the coursework included in a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technology program is hands-on and practical in nature. Some examples include:
- Commercial and residential refrigeration
- Electricity principles
- Gas and electric heating
- Refrigeration maintenance and safety
- Motor circuits
- Advanced air conditioning controls
Salary Info and Employment Outlook
In 2015, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians held about 275,000 jobs in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted the employment of these workers will grow by 14% between 2014 and 2024. The median hourly wage of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians in 2015 was about $21.69.
Associate's degree programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration are available through technical schools and community colleges. Students learn the basics of how to install, maintain and repair heating and refrigeration units.