Understanding HVAC: Will I Need to Earn a Degree to Find Work?

If you’re wondering how to pronounce the acronym HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), you’re not alone. HVAC professional Matt Nelson says, “Most insiders would agree that it is more commonly pronounced H-V-A-C and not H-Vac.”

There’s more to understanding HVAC than how to say it (although pronouncing it correctly is a great place to start). The first need-to-know is, you’re going to need education and training.

The reality of finding a job in the HVAC industry without a degree is slim. The probability of getting ahead and earning more as an HVAC professional without a degree and training is practically nonexistent.

On-the-Job Training

There’s a lot to be said for on-the-job training if it also offers classroom education. But on-the-job training as an apprentice can take from 3 to 5 years to complete. An Associate Degree in HVAC Technology can take as little as 21 months.

At the Service Management level, you could learn additional skills like communication, customer service, employee relations, inventory management, and more. These are skills that make you more valuable to a business at every level of business operations.

What’s HVAC All About?

HVAC professionals use tools and equipment to install, maintain, and repair air conditioning and heating systems of every size and technology. Throughout your career, industry-related certifications may be required and because technology continually evolves, continuing education is important.

What’s A Day-in-The-Life Like for an HVAC Professional?

Every day is different in the HVAC industry, especially for trained technicians. Today your job may be a brand-new installation for a new home under construction.

Tomorrow, you may be facing a 20-year-old central air conditioning system on its last legs. (The owner says, “Let’s see if we can get one more year out of it,” and you aren’t sure it has one more minute.)

You may work at the same construction site or location for months. You could travel from one area to another every day. You might get a phone call in the middle of the night and find yourself on an emergency repair call.

Some HVAC equipment is located in hot, dusty attics; others may be found in small indoor spaces. There are outdoor units in clean and well-trimmed yards. There are days when you will have to work outdoors and indoors, even in harsh weather conditions.

Safety First

Your primary focus is on safety. You want your customers and clients to live and work in a safe environment. You will want to take all precautions to prevent accidents or injury to yourself or co-workers.


Today, good IAC (indoor air quality) has become a focal point for homeowners. With the increase in allergies and airborne illnesses, keeping their HVAC systems clean is a priority for many. And for people with severe asthma or breathing problems, it’s vital to quality for life.

Energy Awareness

Energy conservation is foremost for everyone these days. Some people supplement their HVAC systems with solar energy. Most people want to lower their energy bills. HVAC maintenance to maximize energy efficiency is becoming a fact of life for many property owners. It lowers bills and helps save the planet.

Do You Want to Work in the HVAC Field with a Degree?

Is a career as an HVAC professional right for you? If you like working indoors and outdoors, challenging opportunities, and enjoy solving problems for others, it is. An Associate in Occupational Science (AOS) Degree, HVAC Technology with Service Management gets you the training you need and the education that should best serve you in this dynamic occupation. For more information, connect with our friendly admissions team today.

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