Online Associate's Degree in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Associate's degree programs in air conditioning and refrigeration are not commonly offered online because of the on-campus courses where extensive hands-on lab experiences are required. Individuals interested in entering this field by receiving online training can, however, begin by enrolling in an online certificate program in air conditioning and refrigeration.
Overview of an Online Certificate Program in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
An online certificate program in air conditioning and refrigeration introduces students to key technical components of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) systems. Students learn how to design, install, service and troubleshoot these systems. Topics covered include safety procedures, fossil fuel combustion systems and electrical components. This type of program is designed to prepare students for work as entry-level technicians in the HVACR industry.
Online air conditioning and refrigeration certificate programs typically require approximately 320 hours of study. Course modules focus on specific HVACR concepts and incorporate industry terminology, video clips, printable handouts, reading assignments and applied exercises. Most programs expect students to work directly with a local contractor or technician to gain hands-on experience and demonstrate the skills learned during each module.
Common Online Coursework for an Online Certificate in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Online coursework for this type of certificate usually presents content that addresses a variety of learning objectives that have been identified as essential key knowledge by HVACR industry groups, such as the Air Conditioning Refrigeration Institute (ARI), North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and Refrigeration Service Engineer Society (RSES).
In this class, basic electrical theory is covered ,including circuit characteristics, electrical controls, types of electrical motors and the electrical application of HVACR systems. Other topics of study include transformers, magnetism, power wiring and diagnosing electrical motors.
Students are introduced to the mechanical compression refrigeration cycle and its operation components in this class. Areas of study include condensers, evaporation, capacity control methods, refrigerants and metering devices.
HVCAR Controls Course
This online course focuses on the building and HVAC systems. Topics discussed include air circulation, control systems, air quality and system components.
Career and Licensure Information
Air conditioning and refrigeration technicians are required to obtain licensure in some states. Although licensure requirements vary widely, passing of a licensing exam is usually required. Exam requirements may vary, but common test topics include electrical codes and HVACR-specific knowledge. In addition to licensure, all technicians who plan to work with and purchase refrigerants must be certified in the proper handling of these chemicals. Refrigerant exams are administered by a variety of organizations approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment within the heating, air conditioning and refrigeration industry was projected to grow by 28% between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2009, the BLS reported that the annual median salary for heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technicians and installers was $41,100.
Overview of On-Campus Associate's Degree Programs in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
On-campus associate's degree programs in air conditioning and refrigeration prepare students to perform technical work in a variety of heating, cooling and refrigeration fields. Students receive training in air conditioning, air circulation, ventilation, commercial refrigeration and piping practices. Students learn how to install and repair system components. Hands-on instruction includes how to use tools, materials and equipment commonly used in the field.
An on-campus associate's degree usually requires two years of study and includes general education courses in addition to core requirements for the air conditioning and refrigeration major. On-campus programs emphasize the importance of hands-on learning experiences through courses that provide a combination of classroom lectures, lab theory and practice. In the lab environment, students are able to gain valuable experience and build their skills in installation, service, repair and troubleshooting of heating, cooling and refrigeration systems used in today's residential and commercial buildings.
Common Coursework for an On-Campus Associate's Degree in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Coursework for this type of programs provides training to build the technical and practical skills needed to succeed in HVACR system design and layout, installation, service and maintenance. The program aims to provide a strong foundation in mathematics, electricity, thermodynamics and drafting.
Students become familiar with basic refrigeration systems and their components, including compressors, evaporators, testing equipment and condensers. Students study safety procedures, the proper use of tools, proper refrigerant handling and methods of assembling refrigeration systems.
Air Conditioning Systems
Lessons in this class provide students with the entry-level skills needed to install, troubleshoot and service both residential and light commercial kinds of air conditioning systems. Systems covered include package air conditioning, split-system air conditioning and water-cooled air conditioning.
HVACR Electricity Course
In this course, students examine AC and DC circuits, electrical distribution systems, installation of electrical equipment and reading of electrical diagrams. This course usually includes hands-on assignments completed during a lab portion of the course.
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