Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology Bachelor's Degree
The field of heating, air-conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration technology is commonly referred to as HVAC-R. As a trained specialist in HVAC-R technology, you're responsible for the installation and maintenance of the various environmental control systems in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Read on to learn about earning a degree in HVAC-R technology. Schools offering Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
How Can I Earn a Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Bachelor's Degree?
Entire bachelor's degree programs in HVAC-R technology are extremely rare. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some HVAC-R technicians learn by way of on-the-job training (www.bls.gov). However, the BLS mentions that employers generally prefer to hire individuals who have completed either an apprenticeship program or a formal technical education program.
There are post-secondary schools that offer HVAC-R programs that lead to an associate's degree. Some of these institutions have articulation agreements with 4-year schools. If you earn an associate's degree, you may be able to enroll in what is essentially a bachelor's degree-completion program in an area such as engineering technology.
You can use the online database maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to help you locate a post-secondary school offering suitable degree programs. In addition, HVAC Excellence is a non-profit, professional organization that maintains a directory of schools that offer accredited HVAC-R programs.
What Can I Expect in a Program?
It usually takes two years to finish an associate's degree program that consists of about 60-67 credits. Completion can lead to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in HVAC-R Technology. Degree-completion programs can take an additional two years to finish and may lead to a Bachelor of Science.
Since these are degree-granting programs, you'll be required to complete a certain number of general education courses. Typical HVAC-R courses you may encounter include heating and cooling theory and controls, duct design and construction, electricity and electronics, refrigeration, blueprint reading and computer applications.
What Sort of Online Programs Are Available?
Because of the necessity of hands-on training, online programs can be hard to find. Once you earn an associate's degree on campus, you may have the opportunity to complete your bachelor's degree requirements either fully online or by way of a blended or hybrid program. Blended or hybrid programs contain some in-person requirements in addition to online courses. You may have the option of full- or part-time participation in the online programs.
What Are Some Employment and Wage Projections?
The BLS projected that employment opportunities in HVAC-R technology would increase 28% from 2008-2018, which was much faster than the national average for all occupations. This may be due to a number of factors. There may be a planned obsolescence for some equipment, which paves the way for the development of new technology and systems. The need for upgrading and maintaining systems calls for more qualified technologists.
Though you may qualify as an HVAC-R technician with an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree might enhance your advancement possibilities. In addition, you may be required to obtain a license from your state to practice as an HVAC-R mechanic or installer. If you deal with refrigerants, you'll need to obtain certification. Your state's licensing board or employment commission can provide you with the information you'll need.
In 2010, the BLS determined the wages for all HVAC-R mechanics and installers. The tenth percentile earned $22,490, while the 90th percentile earned $66,930. The median salary was determined to be $42,530.
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