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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in HVAC and Refrigeration

Majors Overview December 8, 2013

Those who are interested in the skills needed for work associated with ventilation, refrigeration, heating, and air-conditioning systems can earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in HVAC and refrigeration. Both practical instruction and classroom instruction will be included and will take two years to obtain a degree.

A.A. Programs in HVAC and Refrigeration

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program in HVAC and refrigeration is commonly taught about the operation, installation, repair, troubleshooting and maintenance of cooling, heating and refrigeration systems. The coursework imparted will train them to seek any requisite necessary certification or licensure as required by their state or by job givers in their area of specialty. Technical schools and community colleges are among those who offer HVAC and refrigeration associate’s degree programs. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Additional to basic knowledge of installation, upkeep and repair, concepts such as design of equipment and temperature regulation are also taught in coursework that may typical include topic areas such as:

•Electrical wiring
•Gas and electric heating
•Duct and hydronic systems
•Systems design
•EPA certification preparation
•Codes and ordinances
•Load estimates

Job and Wage Outlook

Job growth of 34% has been predicted for HVAC and refrigeration mechanics and installers during the period from 2010 to 2020 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)).

The high growth rate is expected to be fueled by expected continued need to replace older refrigeration, heating and cooling systems, as well as the persistent building of homes and buildings. The optimistic prediction is also based on the expectation of the need for regular maintenance of systems to keep them in proper working condition and replacement of systems with those that are not only newer but also more energy-efficient.

In May 2010, HVAC and refrigeration mechanics and installers earned an average annual wage of $42,530 (BLS). Some workers are members of unions, such as the United Association of Journeymen and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association.

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

HVAC and refrigeration professionals are required in some states to obtain licensure – this can be accomplished through the passage of an exam. Other requirements may be specified in each state or region. Every worker who handles refrigerants must obtain certification demonstrating that he/ she is adept at handling refrigerants properly. Organizations also offer additional voluntary certifications thereby indicating that an individual is proficient in a specialized equipment or service.

Students may seek continued education by earning a baccalaureate degree. Bachelor’s degree programs in refrigeration, air-conditioning, ventilation and heating are offered by a few schools; students enrolled in these programs can complete more advanced coursework and b imparted additional hands-on training. Management and business skills are also provided by these programs.

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