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Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology

Program Requirements: 

Self-motivated individuals who enjoy facing new challenges and working in complex situations will find a career in Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration fulfilling and Gateway Technical College can help you obtain that rewarding career. HVAC/R technicians, mechanics and installers perform basic repairs to systems, install HVAC/R systems, connect fuel and water supply lines to systems and test individual components of the HVAC/R system to determine necessary repairs. Gateway Technical College’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology (HVAC/R) associate degree program prepares students for a variety of career options including residential and commercial technician and installer. The degree program focuses on the installation and maintenance of equipment in new construction sites as well as the retrofit market. Students practice on modern and advanced equipment, incorporating microprocessor controls and building automation technology. Topics covered in class and during lab hours include complete heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems, how components interact and total system performance.

What does an HVAC technician do?

Gateway’s HVAC/R associate degree program prepares graduates for high-demand positions including installer, service technician, lab technician, job estimator, business owner and union apprentice. As HVAC/R equipment incorporates more computer logic to control efficiency, safety and reliability, the need for technically competent mechanics and installers will push the demand for qualified technicians.

Learning by doing

The HVAC/R program is focused on hands-on training in labs. The newly renovated HVAC/R lab features a two students per piece of equipment ratio which gives students the opportunity to receive proper practice on all lab equipment. The labs feature 40 working furnaces, 8 rooftop units, 9 boilers and more. Units come from various manufacturers so students can gain a thorough understanding of many of the brands that they will be working with in the field. The latest test instruments and hand tools are also available to students so that they can learn the necessary troubleshooting skills.

Students gain real world experience building the related HVAC systems of two small homes during the program. Systems include radiant heat for floors, ductwork systems, and high velocity systems.

Numerous site visits with active HVAC/R equipment are incorporated throughout the two year program to enhance student learning. Students also attend several local conferences that feature industry experts so they can stay on top of industry trends.

Students are encouraged to participate in industry trade organizations including ASHRAE, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association. These industry trade organizations help students network and provide them with professional development opportunities.

Job and salary outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is expected to grow 34 through 2020. The median annual salary of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers was $44,630 in 2014.



Charles Herman

Lawrence Hobbs

Thomas Niesen

Mike Renzoni

Allen Smith, Jr.

Program Administration

Ray Koukari, Interim Dean