HVAC Engineering Courses and Degree Program Overviews
Read about training options in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineering. Learn about courses, programs, common career choices and voluntary professional credentials.
While degree programs in HVAC engineering are rare, HVAC engineering courses are offered through some mechanical engineering (ME) bachelor's degree programs as well as through continuing education and certificate programs. Degree training typically covers HVAC design with an emphasis on safety, efficiency and teamwork with project managers. Non-degree programs usually require completion of 4-5 courses that cover theory and principles of HVAC engineering. Optional certifications are available to HVAC professionals, as are graduate-level ME programs.
Admissions requirements to ME bachelor's degree programs commonly include a high school diploma and completion of specific college-prep courses. Admission to some non-degree programs is open to all applicants, while other programs require applicants to have already completed a bachelor's degree. Some HVAC courses require completion of prerequisite coursework in math, science and engineering.
ME bachelor's degree programs include broad academic coursework in addition to the core HVAC subjects they share in common with non-degree programs. Program curricula typically include the following subjects:
- Heating technologies
- Refrigeration cycles
- Psychrometric analysis
- Electrical load computation
- Energy calculations
- Air flow and balancing
- Air handling equipment
- Pumps and piping systems
Popular Career Options
Programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) have increased the emphasis on energy efficiency and occupant safety when designing buildings. HVAC engineers play key roles in designing systems that support this emphasis. Possible careers include the following:
- Mechanical engineer
- Environmental solutions engineer
- Test and balance engineer
- Design engineer
Continuing Education Information
Interested candidates may seek professional certification as a High-Performance Building Design Professional, offered by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Applicants for initial certification must pass an examination. Certification credentials need to be renewed every three years; this process requires applicants to prove that they have earned a certain number of continuing education credits.
Students may continue their formal education by pursuing an advanced degree, such as the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME).
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