Online Building Maintenance Degree Program Information

An associate's degree in building maintenance is typically the highest level of education needed to work in this field; however, these degree programs are not typically offered online due to the hands-on education process and supervised training requirements. Students interested in an online building maintenance education may enroll in a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) certificate program that includes many of the same topics as a building maintenance associate's degree program.

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Essential Information

Online certificate programs are available in HVAC maintenance; these programs offer many of the same courses available in an associate's degree program in building maintenance. The hands-on nature of building maintenance means that such programs are rarely offered in an online format. However, those who complete an online HVAC program may be able to transfer the credits from this program to an on-campus associate's degree program in building maintenance.

General maintenance and repair workers may not need any formal training beyond a high school diploma, since these workers often learn their skills on the job. Employers of HVAC technicians generally prefer applicants who have some formal postsecondary training or who have completed a formalized apprenticeship. Some maintenance workers are required to licensed; licensing requirements vary by city and other local jurisdictions.


Online HVAC Certificate Program Overview

An online HVAC certificate program includes many of the courses included in associate's degree program in building maintenance. The HVAC program does not include courses on tiling, carpentry, welding and plumbing. Instead, the certificate program teaches students how to repair both commercial and private heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; some programs also cover refrigeration.

Those with HVAC certificate can enter the workforce as maintenance workers, as well as HVAC technicians and installers. To apply to an online HVAC program, students typically need to have a high school diploma or GED.

Program Information and Requirements

The program generally takes about one year to complete. Students may take coursework online through learning modules that include reading selections, lists of important HVAC terminologies, quizzes, interactive diagrams and videos. Students are often expected to provide their own basic tools and practice on their own so they can apply the program's concepts to real-life scenarios.

Common HVAC Certificate Courses

HVAC certificate courses revolve around four main topics - heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. Students first learn about these subjects conceptually first online readings and lectures and then apply them to real-life situations that they might encounter in the workplace.

Basic Heating Course

Students learn about combustion basics in this introductory online course. They then apply this knowledge to the repair of gas heated devices found in residential buildings.

Refrigeration Course

The class begins by illustrating the basic concepts of cooling, compression, and condensation. Distance learning students then apply this knowledge to both commercial and residential refrigeration devices.

HVAC Workplace Safety Course

This course shows students how to safely execute the tasks of an HVAC technician. This includes learning about electrical precautions, fire safety, properly using ladders and dealing with hazardous materials.


Associate's Degree in Building Maintenance Program Overview

A building maintenance associate's degree program teaches a wide variety of maintenance skills, including basic repairs, plumbing, carpentry, tiling, air conditioning, heating, refrigeration and welding. Students can earn either an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science degree, depending on the school. Upon graduating, students may immediately apply for jobs as maintenance workers and technicians in both residential and commercial settings.

Students should generally hold a high school diploma or GED to apply. Some associate's degree programs require students to already demonstrate knowledge in repair work before beginning the program.

Program Information and Requirements

The building maintenance degree program is not offered online because much of the program requires students to practice in the field under teacher supervision. There is a safety component to this residency requirement as well; while on-site, students learn to properly handle potentially dangerous electrical and mechanical devices under the direction of a superior.

The associate's degree program typically takes students two years to complete. Some degree programs require students to supply their own tools.

Common Building Maintenance Courses

Courses in building maintenance associate's degree programs challenge students to learn many trades in a short span of time. Building maintenance workers must handle a variety of troubleshooting scenarios, since they could find work at a warehouse, factory, school or home.

Basic Mechanics and Machinery Course

Students enrolled in this course learn proper safety and application of various machineries, such as grinders, mills and gauge blocks. The course also emphasizes the correct use of mechanical tools, conveyers and other automated systems used in building construction and maintenance.

Basic Heating Course

Students learn the mechanical processes involved in various heating systems, including heaters and boilers. The class uses applied mathematics to give students a detailed explanation of how to diagnosis and repair furnaces.

Electrical Systems Course

The course begins by giving students a basic overview of how to use electricity safely. Students also learn to measure electrical consumption in residential and commercial areas and maintain basic electrical systems and circuits.

Plumbing Course

A building maintenance plumbing class shows students how work with waste and drainage systems. Students also learn repair and replace parts on existing plumbing systems.

Building Maintenance Career Information

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), maintenance and repair workers earned an average annual salary of $37,190 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). Maintenance worker positions are expected to grow at a rate of 9%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2012-2022. The BLS predicts favorable job prospects for future maintenance workers because they will be needed to fill a large gap from retirees expected to leave the workforce in the coming decade.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

Certification with the International Maintenance Institute (IMI) can give building maintenance workers an advantage in their career. Building maintenance associate's degree graduates can become Certified Maintenance Technicians with the IMI once they gain two years of general maintenance experience and pass a written exam.

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