What Does HVAC-R Stand For?

HVAC-R stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. If you're interested in becoming qualified to install heating and cooling systems and you want to know more about the HVAC-R industry, read on for professional definitions and training options. Schools offering Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

HVAC-R Defined

HVAC-R generally refers to the mechanical systems used in the heating, cooling and ventilation of indoor environments. The people who service them are called HVAC-R technicians. The trade involves installing, maintaining and repairing climate-control devices such as air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators and freezer units.

Important Facts About HVAC-R Professionals

Median Salary (May 2018) $47,610 per year
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (much faster than average)
Key Skills Customer service, attention to detail, troubleshooting and diagnosing problems, time management, dismantling and reassembling mechanical systems
Similar Occupations Electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers, boilermakers

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics


Industrial and commercial HVAC-R systems include such components as air ducts, piping, vents and thermostats. Technicians are responsible for installing and maintaining these systems and ensuring that each part is functioning correctly. Refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners operate with liquid refrigerants to expel heat from indoor areas. Similarly, heating systems use oil, gas and electric components to generate heat, which is then distributed through air ducts and vents.

Technician Training

If you're considering a career as an HVAC-R technician, you can seek an apprenticeship with an experienced, licensed technician. In this situation, you would gradually learn the trade while working under supervision, eventually taking on more responsibilities as your knowledge and skills increase. You could also seek out formal postsecondary training programs and professional development courses, which might be found through junior colleges, trade schools, community colleges and professional HVAC-R associations. Training programs may include technical courses in commercial refrigeration, heating systems, air conditioning and basic electricity.

Standards and Organizations

The industry has established guidelines to standardize the installation of products and repair methodology. HVAC-R standards are set by such organizations as the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Some organizations such as AHRI, ACCA, and the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) offer professional certifications that can attest to your skills and help advance your career.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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