Air Conditioning Certification and Certificate Program Information
Air conditioning certificate programs are more commonly known as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) certificate programs. Take a look at some courses, certification requirements and continuing education options. Information is also available on potential salary and job growth.
Certificate programs in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration train students on how climate control and air distribution systems work, as well as how to diagnose and repair common maintenance issues. Students can also gain strong communication and organizational skills, both of which can be useful when working with businesses and individual customers.
While normally voluntary, certification is required for HVACR workers who handle refrigerants. Programs are typically available at technical schools and community colleges, as well as some 4-year institutions. Applicants usually must have a high school diploma or GED.
Students enrolled in HVACR certificate programs typically complete both professional and technical courses, including how to safely operate air-conditioning systems and how to utilize energy-efficient systems. Courses may include:
- Electricity for HVACR
- Residential air conditioning
- Commercial air conditioning
- Ductwork and piping systems
- Gas heating
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
HVACR certificate holders primarily work as entry-level installation or repair technicians in residential, institutional or commercial environments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), predicted that job growth in the field of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration maintenance would increase 28% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). In May 2010, the BLS noted the annual median salary for those in this field was $42,530.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Certificate holders can seek immediate entry-level employment in the field, or they can pursue additional education with an associate's degree in HVACR or a related field. Most programs allow students to transfer certificate course credit into an associate's degree program. A 2-year program may include a capstone where students apply their knowledge to real-life situations.
Some states require HVACR mechanics and installers to be licensed, which typically requires that applicants pass an exam. In all cases, individuals that work with refrigerants must be certified to handle them properly. HVACR professionals can become certified to work with small refrigeration appliances, as well as low- and high-pressure refrigerants, and can earn this certification by taking an exam through an Environmental Protection Agency-approved site, such as a trade school.
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