Accredited HVAC Programs in Minnesota
In addition to apprenticeships, aspiring HVAC professionals in Minnesota can pursue a degree or training program. When choosing a school, it is essential to determine if it is accredited, and if so, what agency accredited it. Accreditation is a process by which an independent agency evaluates the quality of the curriculum and the instructors. Certain standards must be met before accreditation is granted.
Two organizations evaluate and award accreditation to HVAC programs:
- HVAC Excellence
- Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA)
There are no PAHRA-accredited programs in MN, although there are three schools that have received accreditation from HVAC Excellence.
Hennepin Technical College
Aspiring HVAC workers interested in formal education with a shorter timeframe may consider the program offered through Hennepin Technical College in either Brooklyn Park or Eden Prairie. Hennepin offers three tracks for HVAC students: commercial HVAC-R diploma, HVAC-R associate in applied science (AAS), and residential HVAC diploma.
The residential HVAC diploma is made up of 35 credits. It includes courses such as electrical circuits, sheet metal, basic refrigeration, refrigerant transition and recovery, refrigeration certification exam, gas heat systems, electrical diagrams, residential heat pumps, and hydronic heat systems, among others.
The commercial HVAC/R diploma consists of 36 credits. It delves into courses such as packaged heating and cooling equipment, commercial HVAC/R safety and servicing procedures, commercial heat pump systems, pneumatic controls, commercial ice-making machines, refrigerated coolers and cases, low-pressure steam & water boilers, and water chiller machines, among others.
The AAS degree in HVAC/R comprises 72 credits, including courses such as electrical circuits, basic refrigeration, psychrometrics, central air conditioners, low-pressure steam & water boilers, math for the trades, interpersonal communication, introductory physics, and oil heat systems, among others.
Graduates of these programs will have the opportunity to work in sales, management, service, maintenance, and installation of refrigeration and HVAC equipment. Positions they might take up include quality control technician, installer, manufacturer’s representative, service technician, layout person, designer, and sales consultant. In addition, the AAS degree will also help them qualify for senior-level positions in the installation, service, and sales of HVAC equipment.
- Location: Eden Prairie Campus and Brooklyn Park Campus, MN
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; HVAC Excellence
- Expected Time to Completion: Diploma (two semesters each); AAS degree (four semesters)
- Estimated Tuition: $172.04 per credit
Dakota County Technical College
Dakota County Technical College offers an AAS degree and a diploma in HVAC and refrigeration technology. These programs provide students with beginner-level skills and knowledge required for safely installing, maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing today’s advanced HVAC/R systems. Involving lectures, group discussions, and practical laboratory experience with real-world HVAC/R equipment, the program helps students to succeed in the field. Students will also receive preparation to pass the refrigerant handling certification exam (EPA Section 608).
Comprising 39 credits, the diploma program includes courses such as refrigeration principles and applications, alternative heating and cooling methods, tool usage, brazing and soldering techniques, introduction to basic electricity, hydronic heating systems, ventilating systems and HVAC installation, and commercial refrigeration, among others.
The AAS degree is made up of 60 credits including all courses from the diploma with additional coursework in boiler operations & power distributions, welding basics, print reading, commercial HVAC, technical writing, and an internship.
Upon completion, students can take up roles such as residential or commercial HVAC/R service technician, sheet metal fabrication and installation, residential or commercial HVAC/R installer, and HVAC/R equipment and parts salesperson.
- Location: Rosemount, MN
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
- Expected Time to Completion: Diploma (two semesters); AAS (24 months)
- Estimated Tuition: $185.49 per credit
Dunwoody College of Technology
Dunwoody College of Technology offers the following two associate of applied science degrees:
- HVAC Installation and Residential Service (HEAT) – This hands-on program teaches students to conduct load calculations and read blueprints. They also learn about designing warm air systems, performing proper installation, and fuel and mechanical codes. Learning from seasoned professionals, students in this program also receive internship offers from HVAC companies after their first year in the program.
- HVAC/R Systems Servicing (SERV) – Students in this program will learn how to maintain the latest HVAC/R systems and will also learn about troubleshooting, diagnosing, and correctly repairing stand-alone cooling systems. Students in this program will also conduct lab experiments using state-of-the-art equipment and use computer simulations for understanding topics like cooling systems, heating systems, HVAC control and systems operations, and commercial and industrial refrigeration service. After completing the program, students will be closely familiar with the functioning of boilers, furnaces, refrigerators, and chillers.
Consisting of 72 credits each, the common courses in both programs include HVAC electrical I and II, heating systems I, II, and III, cooling systems I, II, and III, HVAC design, and basic motor technology.
The HVAC installation and residential service program include additional courses such as HVAC ducts and fittings, transitional fittings, HVAC trunk-line construction, fundamentals of pattern development, advanced pattern development, welding fundamentals, residential HVAC installation, and commercial blueprint reading.
The HVAC/R systems servicing program includes additional courses such as domestic refrigeration, commercial refrigeration I and II, HVAC piping and state mechanical code, metal fabrication, HVAC commercial controls I and II, steam and hydronic heating, and commercial air conditioning.
Students will be prepared to take EPA Section 608 Certification by Esco Institute. Upon completion, graduates can take up roles such as HVAC/R service technician, pipefitter, building engineer, refrigeration mechanic, building controls technician, residential systems designer, and sheet metal fabricator.
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
- Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission; HVAC Excellence
- Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
- Estimated Tuition: HEAT ($46,317); SERV ($46,437)
Minneapolis Community & Technical College
Minneapolis Community & Technical College offers a 42-credit HVAC/R diploma, a 72-credit HVAC/R AAS degree, and an 18-credit generalist certificate in HVAC/R. The faculty of the program includes knowledgeable instructors who prepare students for a high-paying career in HVAC/R and provide the necessary training they need in this industry.
The HVAC/R generalist certificate includes courses such as basic electricity, refrigeration fundamentals, HVAC sheet metal, trade tools and test equipment, refrigeration management, and copper fabrication among others.
The HVAC/R diploma includes coursework that emphasizes residential HVAC systems. Students learn about troubleshooting and diagnosing problems and about installing, servicing, and repairing systems. This program builds on the certificate involving additional coursework in heat pumps, indoor air quality, gas-fired furnaces, oil-fired furnaces, central air conditioners, and residential boilers.
The AAS program adds training in commercial refrigeration, supermarket refrigeration, commercial air conditioners, and commercial ice machines. Among other courses, students also learn about advanced electrical controls, air-cleaning devices, air measurement and testing equipment and tools, and thermal solar energy.
Graduates can take up roles such as indoor air quality specialist, HVAC service technician, HVAC/R building maintenance specialist, and commercial refrigeration service technician.
- Location: Minneapolis, MN
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, HVAC Excellence
- Expected Time to Completion: Diploma (18 months); degree (24 months)
- Estimated Tuition: $196.05 per credit