FAQs

Degree, general course and scheduling questions


What kind of degree do you offer?

I have experience in the HVAC/R industry and need a degree. Can I get credit for some of the classes?

When do the classes meet?

How much do the books and course materials cost?

Should the classes be taken in a certain order?

How long does it take to complete the Certificate/AAS diploma?

How do I find out if enough students registered for my class to “make” and not be canceled?

After starting the program, must I attend every semester?

Do you have adequate lab space for students? How big are the classes?

What tools are students expected to provide?

Instructor questions

Do the instructors have experience in the HVAC/R industry?

Graduation, employment questions

I’m ready to graduate. What do I need to do?

What are the job opportunities in this field?

What types of jobs can I expect to get, both before and after graduation?

Can I complete the AAS degree and start my own business immediately?

Do I need a license to work in the HVAC/R industry?

What if I have a criminal background history?

What is the difference between the State Contractors License and the E.P.A. Certification?

I’m an employer and have jobs for students. How do I let them know?



What kind of degree and certificate do you offer?

The student can earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS) or Certificate.
The certificate has 9 college credit courses while the degree has 18 college credit courses. The student will first enroll for the certificate, then the degree. Most of the advanced courses do have prerequisites.

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I have experience in the HVAC/R industry and need a degree. Can I get credit for some of the classes?
Students coming to Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology with college credit and experience may get waivers for certain classes. Another option for students with work experience to get credit for a class is by challenging a course (take a test and get at a score of least 80). However, all students seeking an Associates degree must have 60 college credit hours to graduate (that is a requirement of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board). Students with no prior college credits and experience may challenge a class to get credit for that class. For details, talk to the Department Chair.

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When do the classes meet?

Most classes meet twice a week, Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday during the day and/or evenings. Weekend (Saturday) College alternatives are also available. See the schedule for the desired semester. Note: Weekend college choices are listed by campus; HART is located at Riverside – RVS.
Understand the course schedule key

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How much do the books and course materials cost?

For a student completing the Certificate, the total course materials purchased from the bookstore is currently $200 (this amount is subject to change without notice).

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Should the classes be taken in a certain order?
Many of the advanced classes have prerequisites. The introductory classes are

It is VERY strongly recommended that students take HART 1403 Air Conditioning Control Principles AFTER COMPLETING HART 1401 Basic Electricity for HVAC as it assumes the student has all of the knowledge and skills from the HART 1401 Basic Electricity for HVAC class.

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How long does it take to complete the Certificate/AAS diploma?
The Certificate diploma requires 9 courses to be completed. If you complete 3 courses each semester and you attend the summer semester, you should be completed in one year. Note that we schedule classes fall, spring and summer.

The AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree requires 18 courses. Again, if you complete 3 courses each semester, you can be completed after 6 semesters. That’s 2 years, but each person will tailor their school schedule, and if you are employed, the number of courses you attend each semester may be reduced.

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How do I find out if enough students registered for my class to “make” and not be canceled?
Check the canceled classes section of the schedule after registration ends.

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After starting the program, must I attend every semester?

No. You do not have to register and attend every semester. But you must complete your chosen program within 5 years or complete the program under a new college catalog that is not over 5 years old.

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Do you have adequate lab space for students? How big are the classes?
Classes are usually limited to 12 students. This allows close attention to each student by the instructor and plenty of hand-on time working with the equipment.

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What tools are students expected to provide?
Students do not need to provide any tools except a high quality auto ranging digital voltometer. These are available in most air conditioning parts stores.

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Do the instructors have experience in the HVAC/R industry?
Yes! All of the instructions have worked or currently do work in the HVAC/R industry. Two instructors hold NATE certifications.

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I’m ready to graduate. What do I need to do?
Complete the Graduation Application. Apply to graduate (deadlines and other details)

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What are the job opportunities in this field?
Typical jobs include:

  • Heating and air conditioning service (residential)
  • Refrigeration service (residential and commercial)
  • Maintenance (apartment complexes, management companies, hotels, industrial plants, state and federal buildings, food chains, etc)
  • Installation (residential, commercial and industrial)
  • Duct design and fabrication
  • System sizing and design (residential and commercial)

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What type of jobs can I expect to get before and after graduation?
Before graduation
A student taking classes in HVAC may be hired as a helper.  With limited skills and knowledge, this employee would work with a lead employee to help install new systems. The (student) employee would not be able to complete service calls solo, and the starting pay would reflect the limited work skills.  With time, this employee should gain the hands-on knowledge and experience to eventually work alone in installations and residential service calls.

After completing the Certificate Program
Once the student has completed the Certificate Program he/she should be able to address almost any residential type service call (heating or cooling) with minimal assistance and minimal training.

After completing the Associate Degree***
The Associate Degree gives the student the ability/opportunity to work in either residential, commercial or industrial refrigeration or air conditioning. Commercial/Industrial tech positions usually pay more than a residential A/C tech.

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Can I complete the AAS degree and start my own business immediately?
Probably not. The State of Texas requires a State Contractors License to operate an air conditioning business. Some member of the company must have the license. Questions about the state license should be directed to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The number is at the end of this document. To be eligible to test for the license, the applicant must have at least three (3) years of wage earning experience in the HVAC field.

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Do I need a license to work in the HVAC/R industry in Texas?
Yes. See the Licensing page for details on the state license and EPA testing.

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What is the difference between the State Contractors License and the E.P.A. Certification?
In 1992, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed regulations requiring all HVAC technicians to become certified to handle refrigerants, associated parts and equipment. Several industry organizations provide seminars and administer examinations, which if successfully completed qualify the technician for certification.

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I’m an employer and have jobs for students. How do I let them know?
Use the Request Information form to email the information to HART. We will let students know.

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