The purpose of an HVAC degree and an HVAC certificate or diploma remains the same, to generate more HVAC technicians at par with the high demand. Technology’s evolution triggers this demand in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) industry.

What Is an HVAC/R Technician?

HVAC/R technicians install, maintain, and repair HVAC systems. Today, these systems are complicated, and therefore, HVAC has manifested itself into a professional course of study. With formal HVAC training, job opportunities are better.

Programs Offered To Kickstart Your HVAC Technician Career

An HVAC technician training can be pursued from a post-secondary institution. To apply for HVAC training, HVAC schools, or HVAC programs around you, one must have a High School Diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED).

Three optional programs can help you start a career as an HVAC technician: a certificate program, an Associate’s Degree, and a Bachelor’s degree. Although all these programs serve the same purpose, i.e., to provide HVAC training and help one to become a proficient HVAC technician, there are variations in its type and depth of the courses.

HVAC Certificate/Diploma

An HVAC certificate/ diploma is more like a crash course. Under this, most of the topics covered are an introduction to the basics of HVAC systems. One can obtain an HVAC certificate from a community college, technical school, trade school, and several career-oriented colleges. HVAC certificates can vary, and it does not follow a specific or unanimous program. There is a multitude of courses you can take up to get a certificate

Characteristics of HVAC Certificates/Diplomas

-Usually, HVAC certificate programs are compact with 8000 hours of on-hand training and 576 hours of classroom teaching and learning.

-Many who want a quick start to their HVAC technician career prefer the program’s short duration.

-HVAC certificate programs last up to six months to two years. It is also inexpensive as compared to the other programs.

-HVAC Certificates offered by Trade schools and community colleges specialize in different areas of the HVAC trade. Therefore, HVAC certificate programs are not always generalized but also area-focused.

Pros of an HVAC Certificate/Diploma

-An HVAC Certificate or Diploma program is comparatively cheaper than a formal education mode, i.e., an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree.

-At the end of an HVAC certificate program, one can start a career as a journeyman.

Cons of an HVAC Certificate/Diploma

-Some HVAC certificate programs can only be 8 hours long seminars. Although it provides a certificate, it is not credible because certificates are given without training or testing.

-Credit hours are reduced for elective courses like English, Maths, and History. It may lessen the soft skills of an individual.

HVAC Associate's Degree

An HVAC Associate’s Degree is where a student can obtain HVAC training on technology-driven HVAC systems. It builds a firm foundation for an individual for an HVAC Bachelor’s degree.

While studying for an HVAC Associate’s Degree, a student will have significant exposure to the real world. Most of the programs are a blend of theory and practical education. Thus, incorporating technical skills is crucial so that a student is ready to work professionally after graduation.

By completing one’s AA Degree, you will have already developed a broad sense of technical skills. You will be educated on topics like HVAC system design, commercial and residential air conditioning, heat load calculations, refrigeration cycle and electricity, and more.

Characteristics of an HVAC Associate's Degree

-The duration of an AA Degree Program is two years. You can avail this program from community colleges.

-What differs an AA degree from an HVAC certificate or degree is that it is as same as the college education one receives.

-Associate programs also offer specialized courses in commercial heating systems, blueprint reading, commercial and domestic refrigeration systems, etc.

Pros of an HVAC Associate’s Degree

-An HVAC Associate’s Degree provides additional electives like business education and liberal arts courses. It will probably make you a preferred candidate since you may be a better communicator or even business manager.

-AA degree is a strong base for someone who wants to advance their career to a higher position.

Cons of an HVAC Associate’s Degree

-Although it may take a more extended period to complete the degree than a diploma course, having an AA degree does not necessarily get you a higher-paying job.

-Some AA programs are too broad that if you wish to specialize in a specific area, the other may not be of much use to you.

HVAC Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s Degree Program in HVAC formulates to provide a well-rounded education on the design of HVAC systems.

Features of an HVAC Bachelor's Degree

-A Bachelor’s degree in HVAC is a four-year-long course.

-The degree is an in-depth program to educate students on courses like advanced refrigeration, energy efficiency evaluations, design principles and processes, the purpose of energy audits in our increasingly energy-dependent worlds, industrial HVAC, etc.

-Available programs are aligning courses with energy efficiency systems as the need of the hour. Thus, it develops credible expertise.

Pros of an HVAC Bachelor’s Degree

-It is the highest level of expertise in HVAC.

-An HVAC Bachelor’s Degree fully prepares you to work as an HVAC technician.

-It can potentially allow you to take supervisor’s and contractors’ roles and prep you for higher levels of examinations like The North American Technician Excellence (NATE).

Cons of an HVAC Bachelor’s Degree

-The only issue with an HVAC Bachelor’s degree is that it takes four years to complete the program, which is relatively longer than pursuing a certificate or AA Degree.

Main Differences Between an HVAC Certificate and an HVAC Degree

-Length and breadth of knowledge

An HVAC degree will provide one with a well-rounded education regarding general education as well as technical education. On the other hand, HVAC certifications can only cover the basics of HVAC. An individual will probably be stuck in an assistant position trying to grasp the HVAC trade firmly.

-Completion time duration

The most evident difference is the various duration. An HVAC certificate will last for six months to 12 months. While an HVAC associate degree will take two years of further study, a bachelor’s degree will take four years.

Which is Better? HVAC Degree vs. HVAC Certificate

Ultimately there is no “Who is better?” or “Who is earning more or less?” We must understand that each program is for anyone. Taking up any of these programs would not make one feel any lesser as all these programs serve the same purpose.

An HVAC certificate can be for people who feel like they are new to HVAC but want to be a technician as soon as possible. However, if one is interested in pursuing a wide range of studies, getting an HVAC degree will be perfect. It will provide you with hands-on training as well as theoretical studies.

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