What Will I Learn in Heating and Air Conditioning Courses?

Students in heating and air conditioning courses learn about the systems and equipment involved in indoor climate control. They must become proficient in the key concepts involving the installation, repair and maintenance of the various technologies used in heating and air conditioning systems. Read on to learn more about what students learn in these courses. Schools offering Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Heating and Air Conditioning Courses

Many community colleges and vocational schools offer heating and air conditioning courses through certificate and associate's degree programs in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technology. Students in these programs study the distribution network and technologies used to heat, ventilate and cool buildings. Students learn about key concepts in safety, associated equipment and the different systems used to heat and cool homes and larger commercial or industrial buildings.

Important Facts About This Degree

Common Courses Electrical Theory, Intro to HVAC, Hydronic Systems, Commercial Refrigeration
Prerequisites Courses in algebra and science, preferably at an advanced level, as well as a faculty interview
Degree Field of Study Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning
Possible Careers Systems Installer, Service Technician, Lab Technician, Self-employed HVAC Contractor
Median Salary (May 2018) $47,610
Job Growth (2016-2026) 15% (Much faster than average)


Heating and air conditioning courses teach students about the technology behind climate control systems. Commonly used heating technologies that students may study include:

  • Boilers - oil and gas
  • Electric resistance heat - electric furnaces, space heaters, radiant heat, baseboard and wall heaters.
  • High-efficiency gas-fired unit
  • Heat pumps
  • Radiant heat - air, electric or hot water
  • Hydronic systems (hot-water or steam radiators)
  • Passive and adaptive solar equipment
  • Oil, gas and coal forced air furnaces

In addition, students study technologies to ventilate and cool buildings. Present day air conditioning technologies include:

  • Absorption cooling
  • High-efficiency gas units
  • Chillers or coolers
  • Dessicant dehumidification
  • Evaporative cooling
  • Air conditioners (small room and large central)


While students need to learn about the various technologies involved in the heating and cooling systems they may encounter in the field, a great deal of class time is devoted to learning about electricity. Working with electricity is a major part of the job and students may learn the follow key concepts concerning electricity:

  • Control circuits, electrical controls and meters
  • Schematic diagrams
  • Electrical testing
  • Circuits, symbols, parallel and series circuit rules, capacitance, inductance and Ohm's law
  • Wattage, resistance, current and voltage

Other Concepts

Students enrolled in heating and air conditioning courses learn other key concepts associated with the installation, repair and maintenance of units. These may include:

  • Types of fuels
  • Proper venting
  • Duct design
  • Furnace components
  • Mechanical codes - heating and gas piping installation
  • Piping and tubing flow capacities
  • Sheetmetal - geometrical structures and intersections
  • Chemical, gas and physical laws of refrigeration
  • Theory of gases and thermodynamics
  • Air flow measurement, rates of gas flow and gas pressures

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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