HVAC Technician: Online Diploma
Research online HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) technician diploma programs. This article covers the coursework and program requirements for an online diploma program in HVAC technology. Get information on requirements, courses, career prospects, salary and certification to make an informed decision about your education.
Online HVAC technician programs are offered at the undergraduate level. Because of the hands-on nature of HVAC technology, however, remote programs can be hard to find. The most common types of programs award students with a diploma or certificate. Online diploma programs in HVAC technology cover a variety of concepts, including HVAC tools and controls, electrical theories, refrigerants, HVAC safety, heat pumps and residential systems.
Certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required of any HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants. Many programs include training and study materials that can help students prepare for these requirements.
Related Program Options
In addition to online HVAC technician diploma programs, students can enroll in other HVAC technology programs, which build on the skills developed in the diploma program. These related options include:
- Certificate in HVAC Technology
- Associate of Science in HVAC Technology
- Associate of Applied Science in HVAC Technology
HVAC Technician Online Diploma Program Overview
Online HVAC technician diploma programs prepare students to work on appliances and residential and commercial heating and cooling systems. As these systems increase in complexity, mechanics will need more specialized skills to conform to codes and regulations.
Because of the hands-on training with tools and equipment that is often required to earn an HVAC technician diploma, online programs are rare. Students also may wish to pursue an HVAC-R technician diploma, which includes courses on refrigeration.
Program Information and Requirements
Students can typically complete an HVAC technician diploma program in a year or less. Online programs allow students to take courses at their own pace and on their own time. Many schools with on-campus programs offer added training for those wishing to earn the EPA or other certifications that are required to work in the field. These programs may also include training materials and exam registration expenses in the cost of tuition.
List of Common HVAC Courses
Online HVAC technician diploma programs offer courses in basic electricity, power, circuits, tools and fasteners, pipes, gas/oil and electrical heating and air conditioning systems, refrigerants and controls. Additionally, students learn residential and commercial maintenance techniques.
Introduction to HVAC Maintenance
Students learn basic concepts related to servicing HVAC systems, including pipe and tubing configurations and connections. An opportunity is also available to learn about calibration instruments and basic mathematics in maintenance situations.
An HVAC controls course teaches students how to use tools that measure things like indoor air quality, voltage and resistance. They learn troubleshooting techniques using automated controls.
In this fundamental course, students learn about residential servicing, including installing and troubleshooting gas/oil and electrical heating and air conditioning systems. Students learn about different components and how to control indoor air comfort and distribution.
Career Information for Graduates
Those who complete an online HVAC technician diploma program can service appliances, residential and commercial air conditioners and heat pumps, refrigerators and chillers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that HVAC mechanics and installers are expected to see a 34% growth in employment opportunities from 2010-2020, which is much faster than the growth of all occupations (www.bls.gov). Also according to the BLS, as of May 2011, the average annual salary for HVAC mechanics and installers was $45,540.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Students who wish to further their education can earn a certificate or associate's degree in HVAC technology. Online programs for these degrees do exist, but they are rare.
Under section 608, the EPA requires HVAC technicians to be certified to handle refrigerants. The four certifications, each requiring students to pass an exam, are Type I (small appliances), Type II (high-pressure systems), Type III (low-pressure systems) and Universal (all systems). Training is available from some HVAC diploma and degree programs, and online training materials are widely available.
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