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Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling Major

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Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling

632 Associates's Degrees Annually
10 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
#67 in Popularity (Associate's)
$50,160 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration engineering technology/technician graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Undergraduate Certificate 2,927
Basic Certificate 2,893
Associate’s Degree 632
Bachelor’s Degree 10

What Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to HVAC and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for HVAC Majors

HVAC majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skills for HVAC Majors

A major in HVAC prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Abilities for HVAC Majors

A major in HVAC will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with HVAC:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Electromechanical Engineering Technologists 5.2% $63,200
Electronics Engineering Technologists 5.2% $63,200
Heating and Air Conditioning Mechanics and Installers 14.7% $47,610
Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers 14.7% $47,610

Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling?

632 Associate's Degrees Annually
2% Percent Women
53% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 98% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of HVAC majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of HVAC Students with Associate's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 34
Black or African American 61
Hispanic or Latino 219
White 269
International Students 7
Other Races/Ethnicities 42

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in HVAC, too. About 1.1% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $50,160 to $65,720 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to HVAC. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling Major  ( 50160 to 65720 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with HVAC require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to HVAC have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 3.8%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 5.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 41.2%
Some College Courses 8.7%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 23.8%
Bachelor’s Degree 17.0%

Online Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 162 schools offered some type of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration engineering technology/technician program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 77 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 99 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 85 0
Bachelor’s Degree 0 0
Post-Baccalaureate 77 0
Master’s Degree 0 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Heating, Ventilation, Air & Cooling Worth It?

The median salary for a HVAC grad is $50,160 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 26% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $205,200 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to HVAC.

Major Number of Grads
Water Quality & Wastewater Treatment Management & Recycling Technology/Technician 1,594
Energy Management & Systems Technology/Technician 912
Environmental Engineering Technology/Environmental Technology 392
Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician 180
Solar Energy Technology/Technician 178
Other Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians 105

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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