Top 10 HVAC Bachelor’s Degree Programs (2020)

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Getting a great career off the ground means building a strong foundation in the field you want to pursue. With HVAC careers, it is no different, but there is a range of paths that you can follow toward that critical first job—and eventually to a sustainable and rewarding career.

Many HVAC professionals get their start with a two-year degree or a certificate. This can be an excellent way to get one foot in the door with some basic HVAC knowledge. However, for those ambitious individuals who want to go further in the field and perhaps even own their own HVAC business one day, a bachelor’s degree can represent a major competitive advantage. According to CareerOneStop (2020), an employment site sponsored by the US Department of Labor, just 5 percent of HVAC technicians have a bachelor’s degree, making it an impressive indicator on any resume.

Following, you will find ten highly rated schools that offer a bachelor’s program in HVAC technology (or closely related degrees and fields, such as facilities management or operations management). Earning this type of degree demonstrates not only a willingness to learn but also a capacity to lead.

Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI offers a bachelor's degree program in technology management. All coursework is presented online and is designed to prepare graduates for management and leadership positions. While this program is not exclusive to HVAC students, those who have an associate degree in HVAC (as well as other fields) are eligible to apply.

Students must complete specified general education courses, including a writing seminar, before graduation. Courses specific to the major include management of technology change, information technology management and organizations, managing for process improvement, technology project management, principles of microeconomics, and principles of macroeconomics.

Aside from these requirements, the major is generally open-ended and appropriate for anyone with a technology-based associate degree who wishes to pursue further studies. This type of degree is ideal for someone who wants a management role at an HVAC company.

Ferris State University

Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI offers a bachelor's degree program for HVAC students. All applicants must have completed an associate of applied sciences (AAS) degree from Ferris State University or another approved college to be eligible for the bachelor's program.

The program focuses on skills such as HVAC systems and controls design; retrofitting, testing, adjusting, and balancing systems; and evaluating system efficiency. To graduate, students must maintain a 2.0 grade point average and fulfill all general education requirements, in addition to the HVAC-specific course load.

Lewis-Clark State College

Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, ID offers a bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree in HVAC/R technology. Depending on their prior experience and education, students may begin with the college’s HVAC apprenticeship program, progress to an advanced technical certificate, then earn an associate degree before entering the bachelor’s degree program.

The associate degree in HVAC/R technology is a prerequisite for the bachelor’s degree program. In addition to HVAC courses such as system design and installation, mechanical codes, and hydronic systems, students must take general education courses in English, social sciences, and natural science. To obtain the BAS degree, students at LCSC must complete a total of 120 credit-hours.

Minnesota State University at Moorhead

The Minnesota State University campus at Moorhead has articulation agreements with local community colleges, including Hennepin Technical College. This means that HVAC students who obtain an associate of applied science degree at any of these schools are able to transfer to MSU to complete a bachelor's degree in operations management. This program also has online learning options, for the ultimate in flexibility.

The college also offers bachelor’s degrees in project management and construction management. As the curriculum in the three programs overlaps, students in the operations management programs can declare either of the other two as minors. All three programs are based on technical, managerial, and business coursework.

New England Institute of Technology

At the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI, students can pursue a two-year associate degree in refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating technology—an alternative to a full bachelor's degree.

Graduates of this program will have a fundamental understanding of HVAC technologies in addition to a background in the technologies that are driving global business overall. NEIT graduates can go on to pursue a career in HVAC repair, or start their own business with the knowledge they have gained.

This private, non-technical school has been accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education. It was founded in 1940 and has more than 50 associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs.

New York City College of Technology

The Department of Environmental Control and Facilities Management at New York City College of Technology (also known as City Tech) in Brooklyn, NY offers two HVAC programs.

The first is an associate of applied science (AAS) in environmental control technology track that takes two years of study. The program is the “study of the science, equipment and systems that are essential to creating and maintaining a comfortable indoor environment.” Those choosing to continue can earn a bachelor of technology degree in facilities management at City Tech. Both programs prepare students to explore an HVAC career in New York City or elsewhere after graduation. Graduates of the bachelor's program have gone on to manage large facilities, including hospitals, office buildings, and universities.

North Central University

The HVAC program at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN is unique when compared to the other bachelor's degree programs on this list. Students at NCU who complete the program will receive both a bachelor of applied sciences (BAS) degree from NCU and an associate of applied sciences (AAS) degree. This means the NCU program is ideal for those students who know they want to pursue a bachelor's degree and do not want to have to apply again after completing their two-year degree.

Graduates have the skills to troubleshoot and diagnose problems, make repairs, and maintain HVAC systems and equipment.

Pennsylvania College of Technology

The Pennsylvania College of Technology, located in Williamsport, PA, offers an associate degree in heating, ventilation & air conditioning technology that focuses on technical know-how, as well as a bachelor’s degree in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning design technology that pairs practical skills with design, engineering, and business courses for even more career opportunities. Whether you opt for an associate or a bachelor’s degree, your coursework and hands-on lab training will cover residential and commercial installations, repairs, and routine maintenance procedures.

Ranken Technical College

The Ranken Technical College St. Louis campus in Perryville, MO, offers an HVAC certificate program, as well as associate of applied science (AAS) HVAC degree. Students who complete this track can apply their credits earned toward a bachelor of science (BS) degree in applied management.

In this way, Ranken students can learn the technical ins and outs of HVAC installation and maintenance as well as the management skills required to take on a supervisory role. The certificate program classes are available during the day and evening. The associate degree program is available during the day time only. The bachelor’s degree program is available exclusively online.

Siena Heights University

Siena Heights University

With campuses throughout Michigan, including a main campus in Adrian, Siena Heights University is an ideal choice for those seeking an HVAC bachelor's degree in Michigan or the Midwest.

The bachelor of applied science (BAS) degree allows students in a variety of trade disciplines, including climate control technology, to earn a bachelor's degree. The program is “career-oriented” and students design much of their coursework around studies they’ve already completed. Interested applicants must already have an associate of applied science (AAS) degree from an accredited institution. An apprenticeship or other hands-on training is required for completion of the degree.

Methodology: Top Bachelor’s Degree Programs in HVAC

Although there are many different HVAC programs throughout the U.S., not very many are designed with a bachelor's degree as the end goal. The following are the criteria we used to choose the programs that appear on this list:

  1. Flexibility - Whether someone is a recent high school graduate or is looking to change careers, it is hard to commit to a four-year program without a background in the field. Many of the programs on this list offer both an associate degree and bachelor's degree track. This gives students the opportunity to start their career after two years or to carry on with their education in hopes of landing a more senior role.

  2. Accreditation & Endorsement - Accreditation is an important part of any institution of higher learning—and HVAC programs are no exception. The schools on this list are accredited by nationally recognized groups, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA). Some are endorsed by agencies such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). These bodies evaluate the degree programs to make sure they meet certain programmatic standards so that all graduates are well prepared for a career in the HVAC industry.

  3. Career Prospects - Four years is a long time to study anything, so it is important that graduates are prepared for real jobs. The programs on this list make it a point to train students in both the technical aspects of HVAC maintenance and installation, as well as the management and communication components of actually working in the field.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.

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