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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology

Majors Overview December 4, 2013

Discover the career prospects, continuing education opportunities, and course requirements, to help your future education decisions, for an associate’s degree in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technology.

A.A.S. Programs in Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology

Students enrolled in an Associate of Applied Science in Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Technology degree programs are typically mechanically-inclined people with an interest in implementing, maintaining and using these systems. Students are taught via technical and instructional coursework and imparted knowledge and skills relevant to the safe and effective performance of work related to a refrigeration, heating and air conditioning technician. Graduates of an associate degree program can seek entry- to mid-level jobs in the field.

Program coursework is devised to teach participants about working with systems in commercial and residential applications. Graduates can expect to become adept at repairing and maintaining systems through the use of the proper equipment and tools and in designing and installing new systems. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework in an associate program in heating, air conditioning and refrigeration usually combines classroom lectures and hands-on training. Students are required to have demonstrable knowledge of the foundational concepts apart from the ability to apply the skills developed during the program. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Heating systems technology
•Residential and commercial building codes
•System design
•Air distribution theories
•Heat pumps
•Refrigeration fundamentals
•Air conditioning systems technology
•Electricity applications
•Blue print reading

Career Choices

Those who successfully complete an associate degree in the field can seek entry level careers in construction, service, design, distribution and sales. Graduates can augment the two-year associate’s degree with Work experience to demonstrate their proficiency in the field; (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). With 6-24 months of work experience, graduates would have the skills and knowledge to seek upper-level jobs. They can aim for various job titles such as:

•Maintenance technician
•System designer
•Installation specialist
•Repair specialist

Continuing Education Choices

Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians are required to obtain licensure in some states (BLS). Typically, licensure norms include passage of an exam that tests their abilities, knowledge and skills in the field.
Professionals working with refrigerants must seek certification in all areas of their field. Institutions that carry the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offer such certification at three work levels, relating to low pressure systems, high pressure systems and small appliances. Professionals in the field commonly seek additional certification in certain areas of work situations or skill (BLS).

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