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HVAC Certificate vs Degree Programs

Students will take many similar courses during a certificate or associate’s degree HVAC program. Graduates of certificate training programs will be prepared for entry-level jobs in the HVAC industry, while graduates of associate degree programs may qualify for jobs with a little more responsibility. In this article we’ll break down some of the similarities and differences between HVAC certification and associate’s degree programs.

HVAC Technician Certificate Programs

HVAC technician certificate training and diploma programs offer a quick way of learning HVAC fundamentals. These programs can be from 30 to 45 credit hours and normally take from 4 to 10 months to complete. HVAC certificate training and diploma programs will place an emphasis on practical HVAC-related courses like HVAC theory, basic electrical, motors, and applied heating.

HVAC Certificate Program Example Courses

A very complete 40+ credit hour HVAC certification program may include courses like:

  • Safety
  • Introduction to Refrigeration and A/C
  • Introduction to Building Construction
  • Applied Math for HVAC Technicians
  • Basic Electricity and Electronics (DC-AC)
  • Motors and Controls
  • Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Theory
  • Heat Pumps and Related Systems
  • HVAC System Design
  • Residential Equipment
  • Commercial Equipment
  • Digital Electronics
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Laws and Regulations

Partner trade schools and colleges offering certificate or diploma programs include:

HVAC Technology Associate Degree Programs

Associate degrees in HVAC technology normally cover all of the above plus more. They are generally at least 60 credit hours in length and take from 14 months to 2 years to complete. An associate degree program will include general education courses and maybe even some business-related courses too. Training for NATE certification is also part of some HVAC technology associate’s degree programs.

HVAC Associate Degree Program Example Courses

A HVAC technology associate degree program may include core courses and general education courses like:

Common Core Courses

  • Theory & Applications of Air Conditioning
  • Theory & Applications of Refrigeration
  • Theory & Applications of Electricity
  • Advanced Electricity
  • Advanced Air Conditioning
  • Advanced Refrigeration
  • Air Distribution Systems

Common General Education Courses

  • Composition and Reading
  • College Algebra
  • Introduction to Natural Sciences
  • Ethics
  • Introduction to Business

Partner trade schools and colleges offering HVAC technology associate degree programs include:

Whether you decide on taking a certificate program or an associate’s degree program, your training should prepare you to sit for the EPA 608 Certification Exam and possibly the OSHA Safety Certification Exam too. Whatever program you choose to complete, it will prepare you for an entry level job as an HVAC technician.

If you’re interested in connecting with a school and learning more about their HVAC training, find an HVAC school near you.

Reference and more reading:

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