HVAC professionals looking to work in the realm of refrigeration technologies will need to pursue education and training which provides knowledge on the design, maintenance and repair of refrigerators and freezers. HVAC professionals who are interested in pursuing this career path will first need to obtain a high diploma or GED prior to obtaining further education or training within the field. Following the completion of higher education and training most applicants will be required to pass some form of a required exam then obtain licensure prior to work.
HVAC Refrigeration Education and Training Programs
Once potential workers have obtained either their high school diploma or GED they will be required to acquire some form of higher education as well as training. It is often most preferred that those entering the field obtain at least an associate’s degree or graduate from either a technical or vocational trade school. Refrigeration technologists generally complete either a 2 to 5 year long apprenticeship program or instead complete their education in the form of an associate’s degree or certificate program.
Refrigeration technology educational programs tend to be fairly short term programs for those entering the HVAC field and take around 6 months to 2 years complete. Programs are available in person as well as in a hybrid platform with most of the program being offered online and the other portion being hands-on either in the classroom or within an apprenticeship. Introductory courses taken by most students of any type of program include those that cover the fundamentals of electricity and refrigeration. Other courses may include residential and commercial comfort systems, refrigeration systems and troubleshooting.
Some aspiring HVAC refrigeration technologists choose to enroll in 4 year bachelor degree programs. Programs with this time frame generally allow students to have more time towards hands on research and projects as well as provide a more in depth experience towards the student’s concentration. Although this type of program is longer than a typical HVAC program or associate’s degree it leads to a much higher earning potential and allows students to stand out during the interview process. Students with four year degrees also tend to advance more quickly within their careers due to the experience they’ve already received and their vast knowledge of subject matter.
Those who are seeking apprenticeship programs for HVAC refrigeration technology should look to unions such as the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States (UA) or the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART). Unions such as these and others that are similar generally offer programs which involve classroom training in conjunction with on-the-job training. Apprenticeship programs generally require up to 600 hours within the classroom and provide thorough preparation for major certifications including EPA Section 608, OSHA, First Aid/CPR, and United Association STAR Certification.