HVAC/R, or heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is a fast-growing career. Engineers, mechanics, laborers, and other mechanically-minded individuals can seek certification in HVAC/R to work specifically on heating, air, or refrigeration. Most of these systems require at least a certification level due to the components that make up the whole machine. Air conditioners, for example, have antifreeze in them which can dry out and require other parts to be replaced. Knowing how to work with these parts and fluids is important for safety.
HVAC/R Degree Success Factors
A good start for any student interested in HVAC/R is to take high school shop, math, mechanical drawing, applied physics, and chemistry. It is helpful to have experience in electronics, blueprint reading, and computer applications. A good foundation in customer service also helps with success in this career path.
HVAC/R Degree Majors
To work in heating, air, and refrigeration or one specific industry, you have the opportunity to learn a variety of different applied sciences and math. A person trained in HVAC can also work with carbon monoxide safety regulations to be an associate, instructor, or professional. Service managers and supervisors are other majors to work towards.
HVAC/R Degree Curriculum
In vocational or trade school, students are required to solidify their high school education in shop, physics, and applied science. In the one to two year program, students will take more courses in math, mechanical drawing, chemistry, blueprint reading, computer applications, and installer courses. Temperature control, design, construction, electronics, maintenance and repair are also learned via the degree program.
HVAC/R degrees are often certifications and apprenticeships rather than associate, bachelor's, or master's degrees. It is possible to have on the job training outside a trade school at certain companies, though most corporations like to see formal training through a certificate program. An exam for licensing is required. Training is generally 2 to 6 years for school courses and another 2 to 5 years for an apprenticeship.
Job outlook for HVAC/R positions is above average. There is an expected increase of 9 percent in this industry from 2006 to 2016, which is still likely to happen given economic recovery.