Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration

Maintaining a comfortable temperature in homes, businesses and other gathering places is an essential quality-of-life service. In fact, in cases of extreme cold or extreme heat, it can even save lives. Ensuring proper ventilation can make a life-changing difference as well.

Having the skill to install and repair heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems (HVACR) is invaluable and can lead to consistent employment.

Oakton Community College's Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology program helps you develop the skills and knowledge to work in this important field. You will learn to evaluate the performance of air conditioning and refrigeration systems, to assess energy consumption, to apply principles and methods of energy conservation and more.

We offer an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology, as well as several specialized certificates if you're only looking to develop the technical skills to work in this field.

When you graduate from this program, you'll be able to work as a heating and cooling system mechanic, installing and repairing refrigeration and heating equipment. Your duties in this job will include diagnosing problems, setting up components such as motors and pumps, connecting parts such as air ducts and fuel pumps, and hooking up equipment to power sources.

Degrees and Certificates

We offer multiple curriculum paths if you are interested in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology. You can choose to pursue your Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology A.A.S. degree, or if you are not interested in the general education courses, you can focus your studies on just the HVACR courses that interest you and get one of these certificates

You will learn key HVACR skills while also taking a series of important and useful general education courses.

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Each of these certificates prepares you to evaluate performance and perform any required HVACR services, as well as complete energy analysis for residential heating and air conditioning equipment. Upon completion, you can seek employment with HVACR contractors or in the maintenance department of a larger facility.

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This certificate prepares you to install HVACR systems, as well as evaluate performance and perform any required services. Upon completion, you can seek employment with HVACR contractors or in the maintenance department of a larger facility.

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You will learn how low-pressure and high-pressure steam boilers work and the procedures for proper boiler operation. You will also learn feed water and water treatment. The skills you develop while earning this certificate will help you as you continue your studies toward a Stationary Engineer’s License.

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Job Outlook

Employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 38,500 openings for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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The median annual wage for heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers was $50,590 in May 2020.

Meet Your Faculty and Experts

Oakton's Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology faculty will help you develop the skills you need to succeed. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology program curriculum is overseen by an expert advisory committee made up of educators and leaders in the field.

Larry Penar, Chair
Professor of Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology
MBA Lake Forest Graduate School of Management
BSE Chicago Technical College
lpenar@oakton.edu
847.635.1955
Room 1847, Des Plaines

Meet our part time faculty

James Coates
Lecturer
A.A.S. Triton College
Certificate in Stationary Engineering
jcoates@oakton.edu
847.635.1910
Room B206, Skokie

John F. Devaney
Lecturer
A.A.S. Oakton Community College
Residential Comfort Control Certificate
Proper Refrigerant Usage Certificate
Certificate in Aquatic Facilities Operations
jdevaney@oakton.edu
847.635.1910
Room B206, Skokie

Dave Arvans
Chief Facilities Engineer
Elgin Hospital

Robert Axelrod, PE
President
Cooling Equipment Service

Jim Coates
Director of Training
International Union of Operating Engineers

Mike Kaplan
Service Manager
Kaplan’s Heating and Cooling

Jack O’Rourke
V.P. Engineering Manager
Able Engineering

Allen Schwartz, PE
Director of Engineering
Ferguson Heating and Cooling Supply

John Smith
President
Effective Air

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

FAQ

Licensure Requirements: Each state and territory has different licensure and certification requirements.  Oakton has researched and/or contacted state licensing authorities to confirm that the program meets the educational requirements leading to professional licensure or certification.  

Licensure information is reviewed and updated on this site in June of each year. As of July 1, 2020, we have determined that individuals that sit for and earn their Stationary Engineer’s License  exams after successful completion of Oakton’s Stationary Engineer License Preparation Certificate program curriculum:

Meets the education requirements leading to licensure/certification in these states and U.S. Territories: Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Does NOT meet the education requirements For licensure/certification in these states and U.S. Territories: 

We have not made a determination if the program curriculum meets the requirements for licensure/certification in these states and US Territories: 

If you intend to practice in any state other than Illinois, you should contact the appropriate licensing agency to independently verify whether Oakton’s program satisfies the educational requirements for licensure in a particular state before beginning Oakton’s program. Be aware that state licensure requirements may change from time to time and that states may have conditions for licensure in addition to educational requirements. 

This information is provided to meet the Disclosure Requirements for Academic Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification.

Licensure Requirements: Each state and territory has different licensure and certification requirements.  Oakton has researched and/or contacted state licensing authorities to confirm that the program meets the educational requirements leading to professional licensure or certification.  

Licensure information is reviewed and updated on this site in June of each year. As of July 1, 2020, we have determined that individuals that after successful completion of the EPA Section 608 Certification course curriculum:

Meets the education requirements leading to licensure/certification in these states and U.S. Territories: Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Does NOT meet the education requirements For licensure/certification in these states and U.S. Territories: 

We have not made a determination if the program curriculum meets the requirements for licensure/certification in these states and US Territories: 

If you intend to practice in any state other than Illinois, you should contact the appropriate licensing agency to independently verify whether Oakton’s program satisfies the educational requirements for licensure in a particular state before beginning Oakton’s program. Be aware that state licensure requirements may change from time to time and that states may have conditions for licensure in addition to educational requirements.

This information is provided to meet the Disclosure Requirements for Academic Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification.

Contact Us

Larry Penar
Department Chair
847.635.1955
lpenar@oakton.edu