HVAC Program Overview
The best HVAC programs work hard to provide you with the skills you need to install and maintain climate control systems in a variety of environments. Many programs provide the HVAC training that you need to provide services to commercial establishments as well as residential structures like homes and apartment buildings.
Depending on the program, your curriculum may also feature courses in general education subjects like mathematics, English composition, social sciences like psychology and more. In the next section, we lay out some details of two different levels of HVAC programs to help you decide which type of training might be right for you.
Earning an HVAC certificate online
How long does an HVAC certificate program online take?
The total length of programs for a HVAC certification online can vary from school to school, with some shorter programs taking as little as five months of full-time study to complete and others lasting up to a year. Longer programs typically include more comprehensive training.
What are the requirements to start an HVAC certificate program online?
Admissions requirements can vary from one institution to another. Most HVAC programs at community colleges require that you submit a high school diploma or equivalent before you can enroll, for example, while those offered at HVAC trade schools may waive this requirement for qualified applicants.
Why earn an HVAC certificate online?
Completing your HVAC training online can allow you to prepare for a new career while still holding down your existing job. Courses can often be taken according to your own schedule, and professors and advisors may be available during unconventional hours to help you with course materials and program planning.
HVAC Certificate Program Timeline
The first set of HVAC classes you can take in a certificate program typically consists of an orientation course, essential math skills for HVAC work, a primer on technical terminology and terminology, and instruction in basic, foundational concepts that are put to use in the field. Certificate programs that include general education sections often include them here.
Once you've had an education in the fundamentals, HVAC certificate programs tend to move on to specific systems and techniques. The latter stages of your program usually feature courses dedicated to specific HVAC environments, such as residential or light commercial and heavy commercial buildings.
- Fundamentals of HVAC
- Math for the electrical trades
- Electrical systems
- Residential HVAC systems
- Commercial HVAC systems
- HVAC system design and installation
2. Common Careers:
- HVAC installer
- HVAC repairer
- HVAC assistant
- HVAC salesperson
Earning an associate HVAC degree online
How long does an associate HVAC degree program online take?
HVAC programs that lead to an associate degree typically take around two years of full-time study to complete. Students may be able to take larger course loads per semester and shorten the total time spent in school, or may choose to attend their program on a part-time basis and stretch it over a longer period.
What are the requirements to start an associate HVAC degree program online?
It's a general rule that associate degree programs at accredited institutions require one or more of the following before you can enroll:
- A high school diploma or equivalent (GED, TASC, etc.)
- English language proficiency
- Transcripts of any previously completed college courses
Check with your advisor to learn about the specific requirements at your chosen school.
Why earn an associate HVAC degree online?
Fully online HVAC associate degrees are rare, but students may be able to take certain courses online to help balance their schedules. Completing your HVAC training partially online can bring the best of both worlds to the right student, allowing for the familiar environment of a brick-and-mortar classroom as well as the convenience of online instruction.
Associate HVAC Degree Program Timeline
The first year of an associate degree program serves to lay a solid foundation of understanding for HVAC students. Many of the subjects studied in first-year courses, such as heating, ventilation and refrigeration, are revisited from a more advanced perspective once you've moved on to the second year of your program.
This level is typically where different types of HVAC associate degree programs diverge from one another. If your program focuses on either commercial or residential HVAC, your second year is likely to focus your education on the specific demands and solutions of your chosen avenue within the profession.
- Heating principles
- Ventilation principles
- Refrigeration principles
- Air conditioning control principles
- Basic electricity
- Business communication
2. Common Careers:
- HVAC technician
- HVAC installer
- HVAC repairer
- HVAC team manager
HVAC Concentrations and Specialties
HVAC students may be able to specialize in a particular type of system or an individual aspect of the profession, depending on the program. Here are some potential specialties that you may be able to prepare for during your training:
- Installation. Techs that specialize in HVAC installation focus on setting up new systems as quickly and accurately as possible.
- Service. A service specialty allows you to become an expert in the repair and maintenance of HVAC systems and their essential components, including heat pumps, air distribution, refrigeration, efficiency and more.
- Residential HVAC. Specializing in residential HVAC can give you the skills you need to install and service the type of HVAC systems installed in homes and apartment buildings.
- Commercial HVAC. Commercial structures often require a different HVAC approach than the one used in home-based systems, and this specialty trains you to meet the specific needs of public buildings.
- Commercial refrigeration. Some refrigeration applications, such as freezer units in restaurant kitchens and industrial cooling systems, require specialized knowledge that may not be taught in generalized HVAC/R programs.
Your specialization may also feature dedicated HVAC certification exams that can demonstrate your expertise to employers and clients.