Online Air Conditioning Schools: How to Choose
Air conditioning education programs are available for those who wish to become technicians who install or repair these systems or as engineers who design them. While fully online degrees and certificate programs may be offered by a few institutions, air conditioning programs are more commonly found as hybrid or traditional on-campus programs.
How to Choose an Online School for Air Conditioning
Career Direction and Program Level
Air conditioning courses are most commonly found within HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) programs. Normally, HVAC programs are available at the undergraduate levels, with the two primary program types being certificates and bachelor's degrees; associate's degree programs in this field are not commonly available online. HVAC technician is the most common online certificate program. It is an entry-level program that prepares students to install and repair heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Bachelor's degree programs are typically designed for prospective HVAC engineers and teach students how to design and retrofit entire HVAC systems, including controls and environmental performance factors. Prospective online air conditioning students typically choose the program that is more in line with their overall career goals.
Program Type and Format
While fully online HVAC education programs are not common, some options do exist for individuals looking to learn over the Internet. Hybrid programs are also available, which allow students to complete some classes online, but also require some hands-on training either on-campus or at a designated location. Both online and hybrid programs may use a mix of streamed video for lectures, voice or video conferencing, forums and message boards, e-mail, online testing and grading and textbooks.
Prospective students may wish to consider choosing a school based off of the in-person time requirements, whether that means a flexible online course that requires only forum communication or a combination program that requires students to attend some on-campus courses. HVAC certificate programs are typically available as fully online programs while the degree programs often have in-person requirements.
Online Program Options for Air Conditioning
Online HVAC Technician Certificate
Online HVAC certificate programs are offered by a number of community colleges and trade schools. They provide students with the knowledge and experience they need to pass national certification examinations, such as the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) examinations. Online students learn through viewing lectures and watching demonstration videos, as well as completing necessary textbook work and assignments. Common courses include digital controls, duct loads, air circulation, control methods and equipment selection.
Online Bachelor of Science in HVACR Engineering Technology
An online bachelor's degree in HVAC is most commonly available as a hybrid program with flexible internship options. Online students take the majority of their classes over the Internet, but may need to attend campus for laboratory sessions; some schools space these out throughout the year, other schools lump together as one 5-day summer session. Commonly offered courses in this online bachelor's degree program include control theory and application, secondary system design, load calculations and energy code, energy audits and commercial HVAC system design.
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