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Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Technology


Programs in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology prepare people to service and repair heating and cooling systems.

Programs in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology prepare people to work on heating and cooling systems. Students learn to diagnose and test systems. They learn to install, service, and repair them. Some programs teach people to help engineers to design, develop, and use heating and cooling systems.

Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology (HVAC) programs include topics such as:


Many heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology programs include paid apprenticeships. As an apprentice, students learn skills of the trade while working with experienced workers.


Many community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology (HVAC). A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program at a community college usually takes two years of full-time study to complete.

Very few colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

See schools that offer this program.

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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

Proprietary schools, colleges, and universities all offer this program. If you want to study at a proprietary school, you can prepare for this program of study by completing your high school diploma or getting a GED. If you want to study at a college or university, you can prepare for this program by taking the following courses: four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Apprenticeship requirements vary by area and local committee. Most committees require you to be at least 18. Some will take younger apprentices who have permission from their parents or high school principal.

Some training programs require you to pass tests of aptitude and physical strength. They often require you to have directly related work experience.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

An HVAC (Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning) certification program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

In an apprenticeship, you learn the above subjects in a combination of classes and work experiences. In an associate degree program, you also typically learn all of the above subjects, plus the following:

As an apprentice, you do about 2,000 hours of work per year as part of your supervised, on-the-job training.

Things to Know

Most programs require that students purchase their own tools, safety equipment, and work clothes.

For information about apprenticeships and other training opportunities in your area, call or visit local contractors, union offices, apprenticeship agencies, or your nearest employment service office. Upon completion of an apprenticeship program, students can get trade certification or licensing. You need a license to work as an HVAC technician in most states. Training may also be available in the armed forces.

As HVAC technology continues to advance, you will need to keep your skills up-to-date. Expect to take classes throughout your career. Your employer may pay for this training.


East Side Area

Walla Walla Community College

Wenatchee Valley College

King-Snohomish Area

Construction Industry Training Council (CITC)

HVAC Training School

Renton Technical College

Seattle Area Pipe Trades Education Center

Western Washington Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee

Kitsap Area

West Sound Pipe Trades Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee

Spokane Area

Inland Empire Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry Apprenticeship Training Committee

NE WA-N ID Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Training Program

Northwest HVAC/R Association and Training Center

Spokane Community College

Tacoma Area

Bates Technical College

Clover Park Technical College

Tri-Cities Area

Charter College

Vancouver Area

Charter College--Vancouver

West Side Area

Bellingham Technical College

Northwest Washington Pipe Trades Apprenticeship Committee

Yakima Area

Charter College--Yakima

Perry Technical Institute

Yakima Valley College