The Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC and R) industry designs, builds, maintains and repairs essential indoor comfort and cooling systems including heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Refrigeration equipment for supermarkets used for food processing and cold storage facilities and sports facilities such as hockey and curling rinks are also a vital part of the industry. As a result of the expanding markets for refrigeration and air conditioning and changing technology, a dramatic need exists for qualified personnel both at home and abroad. A refrigeration mechanic fabricates, installs, alters, repairs/services any system used for cooling and/or heating (i.e. heat pumps) in closed systems that contain a refrigerant or a brine and thermoelectric cooling. This includes piping, controls and electrical work. These workers also connect rooftop units to gas and test and balance systems.
The HVAC and R Technician program provides a foundation in basic heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration system design, installation and service with an on-the-job experience component to support BCIT instruction. The course is two years in duration combining classroom and shop instruction with cooperative education experience in industry. The first year is devoted to direct refrigeration systems. The second year includes a broad range of topics focused on HVAC systems design, operation and controls. Emphasis will be placed on diagnosis, service requirements and procedures.
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The Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technician program will produce competent entry-level tradespersons who are knowledgeable in all aspects of the HVAC and R industry. Graduates of this program will be prepared to enter and complete the existing Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic Apprenticeship program with employers such as commercial/industrial refrigeration contractors, air conditioning commercial contractors, HVAC and R controls, or they may find positions in building maintenance. Refrigeration is a compulsory certification trade. Workers in this trade must be apprentices or journeypersons. Graduates of this program who enter the trade within one year of graduation can expect to receive credit for all four levels of technical training for the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic apprenticeship.
Job opportunities in this field are broad and far reaching. The largest employer classifications are wholesaler and contracting firms. Other employers could be government agencies and large hotel and resort chains. Opportunities for employment come as a result of an expanding market, as well as a turnover of skilled technicians who may be retiring or moving up to supervisory positions.
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