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  • Accredited
  • Self-Paced
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  • Low monthly payments

HVAC & Refrigeration Career Diploma

With an education from Penn Foster, you can begin your career as an HVAC technician in as little as five months. Our heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration courses online can help you pursue your HVAC/R Technician career diploma, teaching you to inspect, repair, and maintain heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems for homes and businesses. This program is designed to train you for HVAC/R certification and a rewarding career — all at a pace that’s right for you.

The demand for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) professionals is expected to increase 21% through 2022, faster than average for all occupations.¹ Penn Foster graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Marriott, Texas State Aquarium, Memorial Health Care System, and the City of Philadelphia.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students for an entry-level career as an HVACR technician in the residential and light construction field.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Comprehend mathematical processes and use of formulas necessary for design, evaluation, and installation of HVACR systems
  • Understand composition and usage of HVACR materials, equipment, and tools required for installation and diagnostic tasks
  • Recognize safety procedures and established regulations related to workplace and job requirements
  • Understand the refrigeration cycle, gas laws, and properties of refrigerants required for diagnostic and systems design
  • Comprehend drawings, technical diagrams, and specification charts required for installation and repair of HVACR systems
  • Understand theories and processes for evaluating and installing electrical systems and controls
  • Comprehend procedures for installing, inspecting, testing, repairing, and maintaining HVACR systems
  • Recognize procedures for following government regulations regarding the conservation, recovery, and recycling of refrigerants
  • Know procedures for following government regulations regarding the conservation, recovery, and recycling of refrigerants

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Introduction to Comfort Control


  • Learn about the uses, components, and types of indoor comfort-control systems.
  • Explore the types of jobs and the pay scales for comfort-control employees.

Unit 2

Math for the Trades


  • Reinforce what you already know about math, and apply your math skills to solve real-world trades-related problems.
  • Measure lengths and angles.
  • Work with fractions.
  • Use formulas to solve problems.
Nature of Electricity


  • Describe the importance of electricity.
  • Understand fundamental concepts relating to electricity.

Unit 3

Fundamentals of HVACR


  • Understand the need for a broad range of technical skills to work with heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems.
  • Develop the ability to recognize and correctly employ the tools, equipment, and common materials used by HVACR technicians.
Additional Unit Materials

Textbook: Fundamentals of HVAC/R

Learning Aid: Troubleshooting Guide for Compressors

Unit 4

Refrigeration Systems


  • Learn system operations and the basic practices for maintenance and troubleshooting of air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.
  • Know the law for handling refrigerants.

Unit 5

Electrical Systems


  • Understand electrical power and the operating characteristics of equipment, circuits, motors, and control devices.
  • Use schematics to determine the expected operation of an electrical system.
  • Connect circuit components.
  • Evaluate systems to identify problems.
  • Determine a process you can follow to solve the problems you identify.

Unit 6

Residential and Light Commercial HVACR Systems


  • Describe how air-conditioning and heating systems are installed and serviced in residential and smaller commercial applications.
  • Receive practical tips and instructions.

Unit 7

HVACR System Design and Installation


  • Describe building and duct design and HVACR system placement.
  • Explore the skills required to properly install an air distribution system.
  • Learn about commercial-scale hydronic heating systems and the boilers that serve as their heat source, and identify common problems with these systems.

Unit 8

Commercial Refrigeration and HVACR Maintenance


  • Identify components used in commercial refrigeration systems.
  • Understand the three categories of “everyday tasks” you’ll encounter while working in the field: installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
Lithium Bromide Absorption Systems


  • Understand what absorption refrigeration is and how lithium bromide acts as the absorbent.
  • Know the recommended operation and maintenance of a lithium bromide absorption unit.

Graduation Gift

When you graduate...

When you graduate, you'll receive

(Sent to you when all program requirements and financial obligations have been met.)

  • EPA Certification Test Voucher
  • EPA Certification Preparatory Manual and Exam Registration
  • Troubleshooting HVAC/R Equipment Reference Text

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 7 or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, Microsoft® Office 2013, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a HVACR Technician sample lesson, click here.

EPA Certification and State Requirements

Our accredited online HVAC and Refrigeration technician program provides everything you need to prepare for your future, including an EPA certification exam voucher, prep materials, and registration.

Please review state board requirements that are applicable to your field of study. State boards may impose a variety of different requirements, which vary from state to state.

Snap-on Student Excellence Program

Students enrolled in the HVAC technician program are eligible to participate in the Snap-on Student Excellence Program. This program allows students in trades and technology education programs to purchase high-quality Snap-on tools at a preferred student discount. Some restrictions may apply for total purchase and quantities of certain items. Click here to see the new Snap-on Catalog.


HVAC Training Certification Program

Here are a few qualities that HVACR Technicians have in common:

  • Patient: Repairing or building air-conditioning and refrigeration units is a step-by-step process that can take time.
  • Problem solver: Finding the missing piece can be challenging and fun.
  • Persistent: You will work hard until you can successfully solve the problem at hand.
  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Cautious: Being cautious helps prevent accidents or injury.

I would like to say that enrolling with Penn Foster Career School was the best choice that I ever made. I would recommend Penn Foster. I just have to say 'Thank You' to Penn Foster for achieving my goal.

- Francisco C., HVACR Technician Graduate

Because of the program I took, many companies have offered me a position. After looking over all of the courses I took, they were very impressed. Penn Foster helped me to achieve the goals I wanted to achieve in a career that’s very demanding. Thanks Penn Foster and all of my instructors.

- Daryl J., HVACR Technician Graduate

I graduated from the Carpenter, Home Inspector, Electrician, HVAC Technician, Plumber, and Professional Landscaper Programs. They are all excellent programs! Penn Foster programs are great!

- Alfred P., HVACR Technician Graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids included, along with EPA Certification exam prep materials, exam voucher, and registration
  • Snap-on Student Excellence Program offering up to a 50% discount on Snap-on products
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the HVACR academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Which certifications can be obtained upon completing the HVACR Technician Career Diploma Program? What are the benefits?

Students are eligible for EPA certification, which is a requirement for all persons handling refrigerants.

Is there a final exam in the HVACR Training program?

There is no final exam for the HVACR Training program. Your overall grade is based on the average of your lesson exam scores.

More FAQs >

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers, on the Internet here.

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