Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology

Refrigeration and air conditioning technology degree

Earn your degree in refrigeration/air conditioning technology

Career options  manufacturing construction icon


  • Commercial HVAC engineering
  • Residential service
  • Equipment installation and design
  • Sales and consulting

This comprehensive, 61-credit-hour degree program gives you the technical and industrial expertise needed to begin a successful career as a heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration installer and/or service technician.

Careers in the HVAC/R field are constantly in demand. Graduates of this program can explore multiple job options in the areas of service, installation/design, consulting, sales, and more. Harper’s accredited HVAC/R program has a strong reputation among employers, and many companies routinely recruit students and recent graduates for full-time jobs.

You’ll take a variety of courses in Harper’s state-of-the-art HVAC/R Open Lab, gaining hands-on experience in operation maintenance, service, and repairs of HVAC/R systems.

AAS Degree program requirements

The courses in this curriculum are theory- designed and service-oriented. Theory courses study heat laws, gas laws, pressures and thermodynamics for energy conservation. Service courses are designed around a strong hands-on philosophy. Emphasis is placed on operation maintenance, service and repairs of heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Graduates from this 61 credit-hour program may be employed as service technicians, technical consultants, equipment installers, facility operation engineers, property managers, project managers, insurance adjusters and sales personnel.

FIRST SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ELT 110 4 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces fundamentals of electricity and magnetism. Covers basic electrical laws and principles. Presents electrical quantities, units, symbols and notation. Examines foundational electronic materials and components. Presents elementary DC (direct current) and AC (alternating current) network analysis, key semiconductor devices, and simple analog and digital circuits. Also covers electrical safety considerations, laboratory instrumentation and test and measurement techniques.

HVA 101 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces vocabulary, concepts and scientific principles used in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. Studies theories on heat laws, pressures, matter, and energy; examines refrigerant chemistry and the refrigeration cycle. Covers proper refrigerant management techniques and safe practices. Emphasizes practical application, troubleshooting techniques, measuring and testing the operation of the basic refrigeration cycle; including working with ACR copper tubing, tools, and instruments. (formerly RAC 101)

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in ELT 110 (Introductory Electronics) and MTH 097 (Basic Technical Mathematics) with grades of C or better, or consent of coordinator.

HVA 103 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces vocabulary, concepts and scientific principles used in the heating industry. Studies heat laws, heat transfer, and examines fundamentals of the combustion process. Covers gas, oil, and electric forced-air systems for residential comfort heating. Emphasizes practical application for testing and adjusting system performance, troubleshooting electrical systems and control, working with gas pipe, preventative maintenance, service and repair. (formerly RAC 103)

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in ELT 110 (Introductory Electronics) with a grade of C or better, or consent of coordinator.

HVA 104 3 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on concepts learned in HVA 101, HVA 103 and HVA 105. Incorporates additional systems' accessories and controls used to improve indoor air quality (IAQ). Examines psychrometrics principles, air flow measurements and basic residential air distribution systems. Emphasizes installation of residential HVAC systems, accessories and controls; includes basic concepts of duct design, sheet metal fabrication and installation. (formerly RAC 104)

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HVA 103 (Heating Principles) with a grade of C or better, or consent of coordinator.

MTH 097 1 3 Mathematics

Description: Reviews arithmetic, introduces basic algebraic and right triangle trigonometric techniques. Includes arithmetic, elementary algebra, geometry, ratio and proportions, measurements, right triangle trigonometry and their application to solve a variety of career and technical problems. Draws practical problems the student’s career area, including emergency services, graphic communications, building trades, culinary arts and information technology. Intended for students pursuing Harper degrees and certificates in career program fields. This course: is not transferable, does not satisfy the prerequisite for any other mathematics course, and does not satisfy any general education requirements.

SECOND SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ENG 101 3 Communications

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

HVA 102 3 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on concepts learned in HVA 101. Introduces specialized system controls and accessories found in commercial refrigeration systems. Covers pressure and temperature controls, water cooled condensers, commercial defrosting, and piping practices. Emphasizes practical application to develop diagnostic and troubleshooting techniques, interpret wiring diagrams, service, and repair; including working with zero ODP refrigerants used in commercial systems application. (formerly RAC 102)

Prerequisite: HVA 101 with a grade of C or better.

HVA 105 3 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces electrical principles and concepts, electrical safety, electrical controls and electrical wiring diagrams utilized in residential and light commercial HVAC systems. Covers electrical symbols, Ohms' Law, series and parallel circuits, power distribution, magnetism, transformers, switches, relays, contactors, AC motors, motor starters and capacitors. Emphasizes the practical application for electrical system diagnosing; measuring volts, ohms and amps; troubleshooting, testing and adjusting electrical controls; interpreting wiring schematics, and wiring electrical circuits. (formerly RAC 105)

Prerequisite: ELT 110 (Introductory Electronics) and MTH 097 (Basic Technical Mathematics) with grades of C or better.

HVA 108 3 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on concepts learned in HVA 101 and HVA 105. Introduces the application of the refrigeration cycle in respect to small appliances. Covers refrigerators, air conditioning and fundamentals of heat pump operations. Reviews work-safe practices, electrical system diagnostics, proper refrigerant handling and charging techniques, brazing and soldering copper tubing. Emphasizes practical application, operation, installation, maintenance, service and repairs.(formerly RAC 108)

Prerequisite: HVA 101 with a grade of C or better, and prior or concurrent enrollment in HVA 105 with a grade of C or better.

Natural Science2 3 Natural Science

THIRD SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ELT 144 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces students to fractional horsepower motors for residential and commercial applications. A safety review followed by terminology, principles, and test and measurement equipment use associated with motors and motor controls are examined. Emphasis is placed on the practical application, operation, installation and maintenance of direct current (DC) motors and controls, and single three-phase alternating current (AC) motors and controls.

ENG 103 3 Communications

Description: Introduces the various types of writing and communication used in business and technology. Includes instructions, procedures, abstracts, proposals, visuals and reports.

Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor or department chair.

HVA 106 3 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on concepts learned in HVA 105. Introduces pneumatic system controls and accessories found in commercial heating and air- conditioning systems, and variable/constant air volume air handling units. Covers pneumatic relays, dampers, valve actuators, controller receivers, temperature and humidity controls, and air compressors. Emphasizes practical application to develop diagnostic and troubleshooting techniques, focusing on interpreting pneumatic diagrams, testing and measuring system components, service, repair and installation; and introduces commercial heating and cooling systems. (formerly RAC 106)

Prerequisite: HVA 105 with a grade of C or better.

HVA 107 3 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on concepts learned in HVA 101, HVA 105 and HVA 106. Focuses on air conditioning systems used in commercial buildings and their applications. Studies direct expansion systems, packaged units, and chilled-water systems. Covers rooftop units, variable refrigerant flow systems, air handling units, chillers and cooling towers. Emphasizes practical application, to develop troubleshooting techniques, perform system diagnostic/installation/preventative maintenance service and repairs. Includes fundamentals of air conditioning absorbers.

Prerequisite: HVA 101, 105 and 108 with grades of C or better, and prior or concurrent enrollment in HVA 106 with a grade of C or better.

HVA 109 3 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on concepts learned in HVA 103, HVA 105 and HVA 106. Introduces low pressure steam and hot water boilers used in commercial heating. Studies heat laws, heat transfer theories, and examines the combustion process of gas, oil and coal. Covers boiler construction, boiler safe operating practices, pressure controls, and steam systems' accessories. Includes hydronic piping systems, circulating pumps and water treatment. Emphasizes practical application for boiler operation, preventive maintenance and service.

Prerequisite: HVA 103, HVA 105 and HVA 106 with grades of C or better.

HVA 110 2 Program Requirement

Description: Provides an introduction to architectural blueprints and mechanical drawings specific to HVAC systems. Examines types of construction, construction materials and working drawings. Emphasizes reading and interpreting architectural prints and mechanical drawings used in residential and commercial building. Covers mechanical, air distribution, electrical and plumbing systems. Includes an introduction to load calculations.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HVA 107 and HVA 109 with grades of C or better.

FOURTH SEMESTER:

Number Course Title Credits Category
ELT 145 2 Program Requirement

Description: Introduces students to variable frequency drives (VFDs) as they pertain to residential and commercial motor control applications. A safety review followed by terminology, principles, test and measurement equipment use associated with VFDs and typical applications are examined. Emphasis is placed on the practical application, operation, installation and maintenance of VFDs.

HVA 200 2 Program Requirement

Description: Examines HVAC systems code requirements for residential and light commercial buildings. Includes application of energy conservation standards, principles of building inspection, and proper equipment installation practices to discern code violations. Emphasizes practical application of safe practices, equipment layout, minimum installation requirements and legal ramifications for code violations.

Prerequisite: HVA 110 with a grade of C or better.

HVA 201 2 Program Requirement

Description: Builds on concepts learned in HVA 101, HVA 102 and HVA 108. Examines the thermodynamic properties of refrigerants and their application for refrigeration system design. Covers factors in the selection of systems components including compressors, evaporators, condensers, metering devices and accessories used in commercial refrigeration systems. Studies the application of refrigerant line sizing selection (formerly RAC 201).

Prerequisite: HVA 102 and HVA 108 with grades of C or better.

HVA 203 2 Program Requirement

Description: Studies methods used to calculate heat loss and heat gain for residential and light commercial structures to use to determine heating and cooling loads. Examines outdoor design temperature conditions, location, infiltration loads, composite material U-values and R-values. Emphasizes practical application for calculating building loads for equipment selection by performing load calculation using charts and data analysis from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual J, abridged edition. (formerly RAC 203)

Prerequisite: HVA 110 with a grade of C or better.

HVA 204 2 Program Requirement

Description: Studies priorities of air flow for residential and light commercial structures to design HVAC duct systems for efficient air distribution. Covers duct sizing principles, air distribution systems, duct materials, system performance, blower performance, and grill selection. Emphasizes practical application for residential duct sizing by using charts and data analysis from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual D. Includes performing duct testing and air balancing procedures. (formerly RAC 204)

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HVA 203 with a grade of C or better.

HVA 205 1 Program Requirement

Description: Examines strategies to improve communication skills to make a positive first impression, and to provide customer service excellence with urgency and empathy in every customer interaction. Focuses on the importance of displaying good manners, maintaining a positive attitude and professional appearance. Emphasizes the development of strong communication skills to address customer inquiries by listening, answering questions and providing explanations in non-technical terms.

Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science

1 - Students may take MTH 080, MTH 097, MTH 101, or MTH 103 or higher.

2 - See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

+ - The Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science course must meet the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

HVAC LabProgram learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • Use tools of the trade to properly cut, bend, form, flare, solder and braze refrigeration copper tubing.
  • Utilize several techniques for locating refrigerant leaks and make repairs on a refrigeration system.
  • Operate a recovery machine to properly recover refrigerant from a refrigeration system to a recovery cylinder.
  • Properly charge refrigeration and air-conditioning system.
  • Troubleshoot refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
  • Read, interpret and draw electrical schematic diagrams of HVAC equipment.
  • Electrically test and determine the conditions of controls and components of HVAC equipment with a multi-meter.
  • Take pressure temperature readings, graph linear measurements and perform mathematical calculations.
  • Gather data and information on HVAC equipment, components and controls.
  • Recognize tool / instruments of the HVAC trade and know how to properly use them with HVAC equipment.

Related programs

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Resources

Next steps

For more information about the HVAC degree program, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.