Front Range Community College Blog

How to Get Trained to Work in HVAC

Do you like working with your hands? Do you like to fix things that are broken and work with tools and gauges? Have you ever considered starting your own business? If so, a degree in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) might be for you.

With training, you can get a great-paying job installing, servicing, repairing or selling residential or commercial HVAC equipment. HVAC/R technicians work on mechanical and electronic components such as motors, compressors, pumps, thermostats, and switches. They troubleshoot, diagnose, and fix problems in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems.

So, let’s start with some of the great news about the HVAC industry:

  • There’s big opportunity. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts excellent job prospects for HVAC/R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning/Refrigeration) mechanics and installers over the next eight years. Employment is expected to grow by 21 percent. In Colorado, the DOL predicts 261 job openings per year every year until 2023.
  • A recent U.S. News and World Report article reinforces the job prospects. HVAC is one of four degrees better earned at a community college.
  • If you’re in the Denver area, FRCC has an accredited HVAC program. FRCC’s HVAC/R Program has earned national accreditation from PAHRA, the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation—and FRCC has the only nationally accredited HVAC/R program in Colorado or Wyoming. PAHRA accreditation is recognized by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.

What education will help you get started?

An Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in HVAC can be accomplished in two years. Or, you can earn one of our certificates in a year:

  • Light Commercial Air Conditioning and Heating
  • Residential Air Conditioning and Heating
  • Commercial Refrigeration

Can you transfer to a four-year college?

Yes! If a bachelor’s degree is a goal for the future, you’re in luck.

Ferris State University in Michigan will accept FRCC’s A.A.S. in HVAC toward its four-year Bachelor of Science degree in HVACR Engineering Technology and Energy Management. Ferris State’s program is fully accredited. Graduates become applications engineers, project engineers, estimators, and design engineers.

Can you start while in high school?

You sure can. FRCC just started a HVAC/R High School Program. Students in this program can complete 15 college HVAC credits and apply them toward a certificate or the A.A.S. degree while still completing their high school requirements.

The HVAC industry is hungry for young talent, so this is an excellent opportunity. If you’re interested, talk with your guidance counselor about FRCC’s High School Program.

Get started

If you’re interested in checking out the HVAC program at FRCC, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brad Guthrie is director of the HVAC-R Program at Front Range Community College. He is North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certified. He worked in HVAC-R for Xcel Energy for 20 years, developing a program for Xcel to train entry-level employees to become HVAC-R service technicians.