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Associate in Hvac

Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems are installed indoors for maintaining good air quality through adequate ventilation with filtration and provide thermal comfort. Professionals who work on these complex systems are called HVAC technicians.

Due to the complexity of their job, most employers require that these professionals have adequate postsecondary education, or work experience obtained through apprenticeships. Some states or counties may require these technicians to be licensed as well.

HVAC Associates Degree

While an associate degree may not always be required to become a HVAC technician, as mentioned earlier, employers may prefer those with postsecondary education in HVAC. An associate degree in HVAC, therefore, is a good option for those who are interested in becoming HVAC technicians.

An associate degree in HVAC is offered mostly in technical and community colleges. Degree requirements will differ from school to school. Some schools may allow their students to complete the degree in 7 semesters. Courses may be offered in the evenings and weekends. Students may further have the option of full-time or part-time enrollment.

For admission purposes, students may be asked to take placements tests. This requirement may be waived, given that a student has a strong academic background. Entering students may however need to be qualified for introduction to English literature, beginning mathematics, etc. Students may further be asked to at least pass Algebra I, and Developmental Writing or its equivalent. Students who do not meet these requirements, may still be admitted but on provisional or conditional basis only.

Some of the courses offered to HVAC students may be titled as:

  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems
  • Standard Freshman Composition
  • Freshman Seminar
  • Technical Physics I
  • Heating Systems
  • HVAC System Design
  • HVAC Commercial Systems
  • HVAC Diagnostic and Servicing
  • HVAC Internship

An associate degree in HVAC enables students to acquire in-depth knowledge of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems theory and practical applications necessary for complex systems operation. HVAC industry is ever-changing and growing, requiring HVAC technicians to be skilled to adapt.

Certified HVAC technicians have a number of options they can consider with regards to possible employment. There are a number of organizations offering certifying exams in HVAC. The North American Technician Excellence offers the Industry Competency Exam. The HVAC Excellence offers a Heat Plus Exam, a Secondary Heat Exam, and a Secondary Employment Ready Exam.

Certified HVAC technicians may be preferred by employers because of their proven competencies. In addition to certifications, those with the following personal traits are more likely to succeed as HVAC technicians:

  • Troubleshooting skills
  • Time-management skills
  • Physical strength
  • Mechanical skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Customer-service skills

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a positive job growth in the industry from 2012-2022. A majority of HVAC technicians work for heating, plumbing and air-conditioning contractors, while a small minority works independently. HVAC technicians are likely to work in factories, office buildings, hospitals, stores, schools, and residential homes.


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