Program Overview

HVAC student

Learn the basic theory and practices of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in the New England Tech hands-on laboratory setting. The heating-ventilation-air conditioning technology associate degree program at this technical college offers a curriculum combining two distinct but interconnected areas: refrigeration and air conditioning and heating, both in residential, commercial, and industrial structures.

In the Associate in Science degree in Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning (HVAC) program, you will have the opportunity to share classes and collaborate with your peers in architecture, construction management, welding engineering and other allied professional trades programs

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Full Description

Refrigeration/Air Conditioning: You will begin learning basic domestic refrigerator mechanics and will progress to the most complex commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Included in the Refrigeration/Air Conditioning program are courses with intensive instruction in the mechanical and electrical control devices used in cooling systems. You will receive comprehensive training in troubleshooting and service call procedures.

Heating: In the heating portion of the program (distributed over three terms), heating systems are examined such as steam, warm air, and forced hot water. Also presented are the burners used in conjunction with these systems and their associated control circuitry. Special consideration is given to electrical wiring, heat loss calculations, and system design as they relate to a residential and commercial application. Courses are offered in the installation of heating systems, gas technology, solar heating systems,

As a graduate of the program, you will be prepared for positions as technicians in the refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating fields. In addition, graduates of this program are eligible to continue for a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management.

Obtain the knowledge and training you need to become an entry-level technician in the refrigeration and air conditioning industries. Understand the mechanics of basic domestic refrigeration and more complex commercial refrigeration, cooling, and heating systems. Learn the fundamentals of geothermal technology and how it applies to refrigeration and air conditioning.


Job Availability In Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US. Still, the state employed up to 1,360 refrigeration and air conditioning contractors in 2021.

BLS predicts a nationwide growth in the requirement for HVAC professionals by 2030 at 5%. The projected growth in Rhode Island is 11%. Most of the demand will be from the construction and home services industry.

The NEIT Campus for HVAC training – RI

The NEIT campus that offers the HVAC associate degree is the Post Road Campus, located at 2500 Post Rd, Warwick, RI 02886.

HVAC License Requirements for Rhode Island

Rhode Island makes it mandatory for students interested in undergoing an HVAC program and getting a license from the Contractor’s Registration and Licensing Board (CRLB). Those who undertake basic HVAC equipment-related work do not require a license but need to register with the CRLB.

Technicians who work in advanced electrical systems such as refrigerators and air conditioners and those who work in sheet metal fabrication and pipefitting need a license from the CRLB. The requirement is for apprentice, journeyman, and master contractor levels.

The environmental protection agency (EPA) requires any service technician who maintains, repairs, services, or disposes of equipment that may release refrigerants into the atmosphere to get a Section 608 technician certification. However, apprentices don’t need this certification if they work under an experienced and licensed technician.

Salary Data for HVAC Engineers in Rhode Island

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the mean annual wage of air conditioning and refrigeration professionals in Rhode Island to be between $59,960 and $70,130. This is among the highest in the country. The income is hourly, and it increases as you gain more experience. Here is a list of hourly and overtime wages in RI –

  1. HVAC installers – Average ($25.21), overtime ($6,125 per year).
  2. HVAC technicians – Average ($28.52), overtime ($6,312 per year).
  3. HVAC mechanics – Average ($28.83), overtime ($7,438 per year).
  4. HVAC supervisors – Average base salary ($74,088 per year).

Potential Career Opportunities

Graduates of our HVACR-certified technician programs in Rhode Island can explore apprenticeship and job opportunities in the industry as an: 

HVAC Technician

HVACR Technician

Air Conditioning Installer

Refrigeration Technician


  • What can you do with an associate degree in HVAC?

    Individuals with an associate degree in HVAC can find work as maintenance technicians, supervisors, or coordinators. They can work for contracting companies, manufacturers, refrigeration appliance installation and repair businesses, and perform both residential and commercial HVAC services.

  • Do you need a degree for HVAC?

    Though it is possible to begin work in HVAC without a degree, getting an education will provide students with the skills needed to excel in the field. A degree title will also help individuals stand out to future employers working with commercial refrigeration systems. Those who need assistance can apply for financial aid programs available at NEIT.

  • How long does it take to get a degree in HVAC?

    An HVAC degree can typically be completed at a trade school or community college through an associate degree program. The program at NEIT typically takes around 18 months to complete.

  • Is an HVAC degree worth it?

    Earning an associate degree in HVAC is worth the effort. Graduates tend to enjoy higher starting salaries and better career prospects.

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Related Programs

Program Mission, Goals, and Outcomes

Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning Department

Program Mission

The mission of the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Technology program is to provide an associate degree program that will prepare students with entry-level skills in refrigeration and air conditioning. The study of thermodynamics, through theory lessons and applied labs, will prepare the student for advancement through apprenticeship programs and continued education to qualify for HVAC license tests at state and federal levels.

Program Goals

  1. To provide an appropriate learning environment to acquire theoretical knowledge, applicable hands-on skills, and the interpersonal attributes to function as an entry-level HVAC assistant.
  2. To prepare students to qualify for testing in HVAC competency exams and certifications.
  3. To encourage students to continue to gain additional educational knowledge and experience for a successful and rewarding career.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the HVAC program will have acquired the skills to:

  1. Take the pressure and temperature readings with a manifold gauge set and various temperature meters.
  2. Flare and braze copper tubing.
  3. Diagnose various problems in an HVAC system using an electrical schematic diagram and various test meters.
  4. Charge air conditioning and refrigeration systems with the proper refrigerants using the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Identify components of air conditioning and refrigeration systems and explain their function.
  6. Install and troubleshoot temperature, pressure, and digital controls, including wi-fi, to control residential and commercial air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Heating Department

Program Mission

The mission of the Heating Technology Program is to provide an integral component to the Associate Degree programs in Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning, Heating Technology and Plumbing Heating Technology. The Heating Technology program is focused on providing basic essential training to students in preparation for their entry into the fields of oil and gas heating and pipefitting. This training is designed for those students who have recently graduated from high school as well as adults who are seeking a different career path to follow. Through a combination of classroom theory and hands-on laboratory training, students are given the opportunity to acquire the skills required for entry-level employment in the heating industry.

Program Goals

The Heating Technology Program will provide the appropriate training for students to:

  1. Develop theoretical knowledge of systems, their components and function.
  2. Gain an understanding of tools and equipment used in the heating field and how to put them to proper use.
  3. Use the knowledge acquired in the classroom and display proficiency in the lab while working on equipment readily found in real-life installations.
  4. Qualify for the Rhode Island Oil Burner Journeyperson Technician’s license.
  5. Enter the workforce with the ability to interact appropriately with customers, vendors and fellow tradespersons.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the Heating Department program will be able to:

  1. Exhibit knowledge of combustion efficiency testing using instruments.
  2. Demonstrate a procedure for testing electrical circuits by using a Volt-OHM-Milliamp Meter.
  3. Calculate heat loss for a single family dwelling and small commercial buildings and properly design a multi-zone series loop system for that structure.
  4. Design a fuel delivery system with natural gas and propane for a residential and light commercial application and develop a complete parts list for the installation of that system in accordance with NFPA 54.
  5. Install and troubleshoot heating controls for the following parameters: temperature, humidity, pressure and ventilation to create an efficient system.
  6. Install furnaces and boilers with ductwork and piping.

Courses Offered

For the latest listing of courses offered, please review our University Catalog here.

Q&A and Technical Standards

Questions & Answers

  1. When do my classes meet?Day Classes: Technical classes normally meet for at least three hours a day for up to five days a week. Classes normally begin in the early morning (7:45 a.m.), late morning (usually 11:25 a.m.), or mid-afternoon. The time slot for your program may vary from quarter to quarter.Evening Classes: Technical classes meet on the average of three nights a week, although there may be times when they will meet four nights a week. Classes normally begin at 5:45 p.m.In addition, to achieve your associate degree, you will take a total of approximately eight liberal arts courses, which will be scheduled around your technical schedule over the course of your entire program. Each liberal arts course meets approximately four hours per week. Liberal arts courses are offered days, evenings, and Saturdays.At the beginning of each term you will receive a detailed schedule giving the exact time and location of all your classes. The College requires that all students be prepared to take classes and receive services at any of NEIT’s locations where the appropriate classes and services are offered.When a regularly scheduled class falls on a day which is an NEIT observed holiday (Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Memorial Day), an alternate class will be scheduled as a make up for that class. The make-up class may fall on a Friday. It is the student’s responsibility to take note of when and where classes are offered.
  2. How large will my classes be?The average size for a class is about 20 to 25 students; however, larger and smaller classes occur from time to time.
  3. How much time will I spend in lab?Almost half of your technical courses consist of laboratory work. In order for you to get the most out of your laboratory experiences, you will first receive a thorough explanation of the theory behind your lab work.
  4. Where do my classes meet?Students should be prepared to attend classes at any of NEIT’s classroom facilities: either at the Post Road, Access Road, or East Greenwich campus.
  5. I have not earned my high school diploma or GED: can I enroll in an Associate Degree Program?A candidate for admission to an associate degree program must have a high school diploma, have earned a recognized equivalency diploma (GED), or meet the federal home school requirements.
  6. How long should it take me to complete my program?To complete your degree requirements in the shortest possible time, you should take the courses outlined in the prescribed curriculum. This technology is a six-quarter curriculum, and a student may complete the requirements in as little as 18 months.To complete all your degree requirements in the shortest time, you should take at least one liberal arts course each quarter. Students who need more time to complete their curriculum may postpone some of the liberal arts courses until after the completion of the technical requirements. Students are provided up to two additional quarters of study to complete the liberal arts requirements without any additional tuition assessment fee. During these additional quarters of study, students are required to pay all applicable fees.Students may also elect to complete some of their liberal arts requirements during Intersession, a five-week term scheduled between Spring and Summer Terms. Students will not be assessed any additional tuition for liberal arts courses taken during the Intersession but may be assessed applicable fees.Students wishing to extend the number of quarters needed to complete the required technical courses in their curriculum will be assessed additional tuition and fees.
  7. Is NEIT accredited?NEIT is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Accreditation by NECHE is recognized by the federal government and entitles NEIT to participate in federal financial aid programs. Some academic departments have specialized professional accreditations in addition to accreditation by NECHE. For more information on accreditation, see NEIT’s catalog.
  8. Can I transfer the credits that I earn at NEIT to another college?The transferability of a course is always up to the institution to which the student is transferring. Students interested in the transferability of their credits should contact the Office of Teaching and Learning for further information.
  9. Can I transfer credits earned at another college to NEIT?Transfer credit for appropriate courses taken at an accredited institution will be considered upon receipt of an official transcript for any program, biology, science, and mathematics courses in which the student has earned a “C” or above within the past three years and for English or humanities courses in which the student has earned a “C” or above within the last ten years. An official transcript from the other institution must be received before the end of the first week of the quarter for transfer credit to be granted for courses to be taken during that quarter. Students will receive a tuition reduction for the approved technical courses based on the program rate and will be applied against the final technical quarter of the curriculum’s tuition amount. No tuition credit is provided for courses which are not a part of the technical curriculum.
  10. What is the “Feinstein Enriching America” Program?New England Institute of Technology is the proud recipient of a grant from the Feinstein Foundation. To satisfy the terms of the grant, the College has developed a one-credit community enrichment course which includes hands-on community enrichment projects. The course can be taken for a few hours per quarter, spread over several quarters. Students who are already engaged in community enrichment on their own may be able to count that service towards course credit.
  11. How many credits do I need to acquire my Financial Aid?In order to be eligible for the maximum financial aid award, you need to maintain at least 12 credits per academic quarter.
  12. What does my program cost?The cost of your program will be as outlined in your enrollment agreement, along with your cost for books and other course materials. Students who decide to take more quarters than the enrollment agreement describes to complete the technical courses in their curriculum will be subject to additional fees and possible additional tuition costs. Students who elect to take the technical portion of the degree requirements at a rate faster than the rate prescribed in the curriculum and the enrollment agreement will be assessed additional tuition.Students who require prerequisite courses will incur additional tuition and fees above those outlined in their enrollment agreement.If a student elects to take a course(s) outside of the prescribed curriculum, additional tuition and fees will be assessed.Remember, students who withdraw and re-enter, one time only, pay the tuition rate that was in effect for them at the time of their last day of attendance for up to one year from their last day of attendance. Second re-entrees and beyond pay the tuition rate in effect at the time they re-enter. The most economical way for you to complete your college degree is to begin your program now and continue your studies straight through for the six quarters necessary to complete your degree requirements.
  13. What kind of employment assistance does NEIT offer?The Career Services Office assists NEIT students and graduates in all aspects of the job search, including resume writing, interviewing skills, and developing a job search strategy. Upon completion of their program, graduates may submit a resume to the Career Services Office to be circulated to employers for employment opportunities in their fields. Employers regularly contact us about our graduates. In addition, our Career Services Office contacts employers to develop job leads. A strong relationship with employers exists as a result of our training students to meet the needs of industry for over fifty years. No school can, and NEIT does not, guarantee to its graduates’ employment or a specific starting salary.
  14. Where will job opportunities exist?Graduates have obtained employment in the local area. However, one of the most exciting aspects of this program is the ability to look nationally for employment opportunities.
  15. Is there any state or federal licensing required in my field?Because of the complex nature of state licensing requirements and because those requirements change periodically, NEIT cannot list all the requirements for the various types of licenses in the various states.Under current Rhode Island law, a student who obtains an associate degree in refrigeration/air conditioning and thereafter registers with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training as an apprentice for at least three (3) years and is employed as a registered apprentice by a duly licensed pipefitter or refrigeration/air conditioning or fire protection sprinkler systems master or sheet metal contractor in Rhode Island for a period of three (3) years, may sit for the test for a journeyperson’s license in Rhode Island. (R.I.G.L. Section 28-27-11).NEIT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY CHANGES IN LICENSING REQUIREMENTS THAT ANY STATE LEGISLATURE MAY IMPLEMENT AT ANY TIME, INCLUDING RHODE ISLAND.
  16. What kind of jobs will I be qualified to look for?Refrigeration/Air Conditioning Graduates are qualified to work as entry level refrigeration/air conditioning technician salesperson, estimator, installer, engineer’s assistant, counter person. In addition, jobs will exist in various aspects of oil and gas heating. Frequently, oil companies hire our graduates. Some jobs are also found with utility companies, plumbing/heating companies, or air conditioning/ refrigeration/ heating companies. Some of our past students have found excellent jobs as building maintenance supervisors in schools, hospitals, condominiums and office complexes. Your actual area of study and your individual strengths and interests will determine the job that is best suited for you.

Technical Standards

These technical standards set forth by the Refrigeration/ Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing Departments, establish the essential qualities considered necessary for students admitted to these programs to achieve the knowledge, skills and competencies to enter these fields. The successful student must possess the following skills and abilities or be able to demonstrate that they can complete the requirements of the program with or without reasonable accommodation, using some other combination of skills and abilities.

Cognitive Ability

  • Ability to deal with materials and problems such as organizing or reorganizing information.
  • Ability to use abstractions in specific concrete situations.
  • Ability to break information into its component parts.
  • Ability to understand spatial relationships.
  • Possession of basic math skills through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers and fractions using both the U.S. and Metric systems of measurement.
  • Ability to demonstrate and use the knowledge acquired during the classroom training process and in the lab setting.

Communications Skills

  • Ability to communicate effectively with others including faculty and students.

Adaptive Ability

  • Ability to respond in an appropriate manner to stressful situations.
  • Ability to maintain emotional stability and the maturity necessary to interact with other members of the faculty and students in a responsible manner.

Physical Ability

  • Ability to perform tasks requiring bending, stooping, squatting, kneeling, lying, climbing and walking.
  • Ability to lift, lower, push, and pull using both arms and legs.
  • Ability to grasp, lift and carry tools and equipment weighing fifty (50) pounds 50 – 500 feet from truck to work area.
  • Ability to climb stairs and ladders to 25 feet.
  • Agility and strength sufficient to allow bodily maneuvering in small spaces.
  • Sufficient strength and agility to grasp and maintain tension for long periods of time.
  • Ability to wear and tolerate ear plugs, safety glasses and other protective equipment.
  • Ability to perform learned skills, independently, with accuracy and completeness within reasonable time frames in accordance with procedures. 

Manual Ability

  • Sufficient manual dexterity and fine motor coordination to manipulate small objects within a limited space.
  • Sufficient manual dexterity and motor coordination to coordinate hands, eyes and fingers in the operation of tools and other equipment.

Sensory Ability

  • Visual
    • Acute enough to distinguish colors, read blueprints, inspect equipment for proper installation and work in dimly lit areas such as basements and boiler rooms.
    • Acute enough to read small print.
    • Acute enough to read small numbers on precision measuring instruments.
  • Auditory
    • Auditory ability, acute enough to detect sounds, changes in sounds, or lack of sounds emitted by heating and air-conditioning equipment.