The most popular HVAC degree option for students is currently the associate’s degree in HVAC. Associate’s degrees in HVAC are typically two-year programs that encompass the core aspects of an HVAC tech’s job duties along with a small amount of general education. These degree programs allow an HVAC tech graduate to qualify for entry-level employment, with greater potential to advance compared to techs with lower credentials.
HVAC Degree Program Curriculum
The course content for most associate’s-level HVAC degree programs focuses on how to install, repair, and maintain the various types of heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, as well as other industrial and residential systems. Classes generally cover the fundamentals of heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and electrical systems, with options to learn about other specialties as well. Programs normally also cover some general education topics, such as math and communications, to provide a solid foundation on which to build professional expertise.
Most programs include courses such as:
- Air Conditioning Maintenance
- Boiler Operation and Safety
- Electrical Systems
- Air Distribution
- Sewage and Water Treatment
- Temperature Theory and Control
- Mechanical Drawing
For example, the AS program in HVAC offered by Spartanburg Community College covers the basics of refrigeration, heating and air conditioning, HVAC electricity, heat pumps, codes and ordinances, as well as general education courses in algebra and communications. Courses vary from program to program, with most focusing on the core essentials of the occupation.
Choosing a Program
There are a few things to consider when deciding which HVAC degree program to enroll in. A significant factor is accreditation, which is the recognition of a degree program by a certifying organization. Accreditation indicates that the program meets basic industry standards, and is sometimes a requirement for certification.
There are three different organizations that accredit HVAC schools:
- HVAC Excellence
- National Center for Construction Education and Research
- Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation
Career services is another factor to consider when comparing degree programs. Some HVAC schools have job placement programs that put students in touch with prospective employers. Some also offer resume or job interview assistance for students and graduates. School representatives should be able to discuss a school’s career services with potential students.